Sex Ed

Now, I’m saying this as a parent: fuck you, J.K. Rowling. And for those gentle readers who disagree: fuck you, too. Assuming they read that far, before disappearing into the wilds of the comments section to lecture me on what qualifies someone to be a woman. I’m not a TERF, and this is a TERF-free zone. Being allowed to decide, for yourself, who you are is the absolute fundament of self-determination. You cannot respect someone as an equal, if you insist on crowning yourself as some sort of authority over whether they “deserve” a label.

Considering that when I had cancer, more than one friend dumped me because I was getting too much attention, I absolutely understand “all lives matter.” ALM or, as I like to say, “bootlickers unite,” is really just the flip side of the same coin. Some people just have to be the center of attention. I was a teenager when my father died; after reconnecting with a classmate some almost twenty years later, she informed me that she still hadn’t forgiven me for being so “selfish” during that term at school, and not even asking about her term paper. People might or might not be racists, or TERF’s, in the true sense, but they’re definitely self-absorbed.

J.K. Rowling, for example, is too self-absorbed to care that she’s hurting people. To her, this is about one thing and one thing only: what it means to her, J.K. Rowling, to be a woman. The idea that even other cis women might disagree with her about what it means to be a woman has never, ever crossed her mind. Other people’s opinions, generally, aren’t relevant! We might as well, the rest of the world’s population, be illustrations on a page. Which is how she’s gotten to this point without realizing that the fan base she has is nothing like the fan base she wants.

I never liked her books. The idea of a trust fund jock who struggles with too much popularity didn’t resonate much with me, as a child. I can sum my first eighteen years of life in five words: on the outside, looking in. I recognized that feeling of being laughed at. For everyone else, different cultures and societies of misfits speaking different languages, she somehow conveyed something else entirely. They discovered Hogwarts, along with Harry, and at last they felt seen.

That Harry himself had more in common with Danny Zuko than Dr. Watson was largely obscured by the simple wonder of his new world. A world that, to many, was home. To be kicked out of the only place you ever felt wanted…to lose that security, that sense of belonging. I can’t even imagine. Ms. Umbridge always did seem like the most honest, fully realized (and, therefore, best written) character in the series. I suppose she’s finally explained why.

As a parent, though, I rage. Suicide is an epidemic among our queer youth. Shame, SHAME on anyone who uses a platform of any size to attack children, especially our most vulnerable children. You might know this already but her alter ego, Robert Galbraith, is also the name of a famous anti-gay crusader. Only evil, stupid people believe that gay–or trans–needs to be “cured.” The rest of us know that children, all children, are a gift from God (or Carl Sagan, or whoever). If you’re not ready to parent a trans kid, or a gay kid, then simple: don’t become a parent. That J.K. Rowling is a parent makes me hate her more.

Thanks for reading, and please remember to fight the power.

Check out more of Sophie LaBelle’s work here.