It’s always fun (read: not) to come across new information about an author that really clues you into some awful behavior or beliefs on their end. I’ve begun to look at things such as this with a sort of reluctant acceptance after a while. You see, no one wants the authors of their favorite books to be bad people. No one wants to realize there are incredibly problematic facets to the writers behind the franchises that we’ve fallen in love with.
And yet, here we are.
I happened across this article today. It basically details a rather impressive (read: unfortunate) account of evidence proving that J. K. Rowling, in fact, supports and believes transphobic ideas. I don’t know how much of a “scandal” this is to the world as unfortunately, trans issues have, at least in my understanding, been degraded and ignored for an immensely long time. For that, I’d like to say that I am incredibly sorry that this is something trans folk are forced to deal with.
So, what can we do about it?
Well, that’s always been an incredibly hard question for me to answer. When it comes to politics, I lose hope pretty frequently. My level of feeling discouraged and feeling hopeful is probably the most bipolar thing about me when it comes to the world (though admittedly, sadly enough I do feel discouraged a lot more than I feel hopeful). But the fact of the matter is that when an author is problematic, supporting them is unquestionably wrong. And that might hurt. I can tell you that it killed me inside when I found out all the ways Cassandra Clare was an awful human being who deserves very little good in her life.
And it took me several years before I finally decided that it was unacceptable to me that I was still reading her books. I was appalled with myself that, even after I’d been made aware of the information, I continued to support her indirectly because I had once enjoyed what she had written (to this effect, a part of me still hopes the majority of it is plagiarized). And it was only in recent months that I actually put a stop to even the smallest amount of support I’d been giving her. As much as I’ve loved her books in the past, I don’t read Cassandra Clare anymore. Plain and simple.
Depressingly enough, the same can almost be said for James Dashner. I was devastated when his name was included among those who had used their high author positions to take advantage in one way or another of women in the industry. I appreciated his apology later, of course. But the fact is that I had loved The Maze Runner. And suddenly I was torn between throwing out beloved books of mine that I’d had for years or keeping them. And I don’t know if that’s an extreme reaction or not. I still have Clare’s books at the moment, sitting on my shelf. I intend to get rid of them at some point, but the fact remains.
So where does that leave us with J. K. Rowling?
Do we throw out her books? Should we leave the Potter world behind? Is it time that we denounce her as an author? For me, it’s a tough one. And the fact is that I personally don’t want to get rid of my Potter books. But at the same time, that’s what I’m doing for Cassandra Clare. And it’s definitely for different reasons, but I can’t determine the equality of those reasons at the moment.
What I do know is that I did a lot more reading on Cassandra Clare before I ever made the decision to give away her books, before I made the decision to stop reading her new works. And I do feel as though I need to read a lot more on this subject as well, though the evidence is incredibly damning thus far. But to start with, I do think it’s worth considering stopping any current support for Rowling until the matter is cleared up more and a further decision can be made. The truth is that what’s been said needs to be considered. And I intend to read as much as I can on the matter before I make a decision.
Transphobia is not okay. Plain and simple. And if that is something Rowling is partaking in, it’s going to be incredibly hard for me to support her. The Harry Potter books are all already finished, so keeping those isn’t really supporting her further at the moment. And I’m not entirely sure if, at this current moment in time, enough people are going to delete the Hogwarts Mystery app, stop using Pottermore, unfollow Rowling, and never go to one of the Potter worlds in response to what has been brought to light. But, I’ll step back and hold off if need be.
It’s devastating. It hurts. And it’s a bummer because I’ve always really wanted to visit one of the Potter worlds at Universal Studios and haven’t had the chance yet. But when the question becomes a matter of supporting what’s right or supporting something abhorrently wrong because I don’t want to lose my entertainment, well…the decision’s not really hard for me there.
The wellbeing of people and their rights as humans are far more important than my own personal entertainment. And that’s my two cents (or 910 words) on the matter.