Trans women are women

… and why the Slytherins didn’t get to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts

By Maria R. Rathje

I see JK Rowling spewing hate and I cannot stay silent. She somehow believes that including transgender women in feminism will put cis women at risk. This is wrong – because feminism includes and benefits all genders. No two experiences of womanhood are the same, and all humans deserve to be respected and safe.

Fear can swallow hope and compassion.

But now I can suddenly see why not one single Slytherin stayed behind to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts.
That is because the author of the book believes in the divisive lines drawn by the enemy. “Divide and conquer” is the oldest trick in the book and yet, somehow, Rowling still thinks that segregation perpetuated by the oppressor is important to her own well-being.

I don’t like cancel culture. Anyone can be redeemed; even those with a Dark Mark. And no, I don’t mean Snape, whose selfish actions just happened to play into the hands of the “good side.” I mean Draco Malfoy, for whom the Harry Potter fandom has long ago crafted a redemption arc where he struggles, learns, repents, apologizes, and overcomes.

But we cannot wait for Rowling to realize she is wrong.

Segregation leads only to two things: genocide or revolution. Genocide is already happening. People are dying every day because they are believed to be “other.” I choose revolution, and I will work for it with anyone who is willing to ensure that all humans are respected, safe, and happy.

I used to dream of Hogwarts. But feverish childhood fantasies aside, I know that, the way Rowling wrote it, it is not a place for me. As a queer woman, I could only live in her books as a straight-passing version of myself. Ironically, I would have to stay in the closet to fit into a world revolving about a boy escaping his cupboard to become a hero.

Thankfully, the Harry Potter fandom has meant that the world has evolved past its creator to become a place where so many of us can feel safe and welcome.

I am so, so disappointed in the author of books that I love and that have given me so many experiences and friends. But if I can use my Gryffindor courage for one thing, it will be this: to stand up to people I believed to be right, when they are doing wrong.

I will continue to do my best to do the right thing, working with whoever else does the right thing with me.

About the case

In June, JK Rowling was called out for posting a tweet which indicated that only women menstruate. She later published a blog post on her website, which expressed her concern for cisgender women’s safety if transgender women are included in “single-sex spaces”, ignoring the fact that transgender women are particularly vulnerable to violence and their inclusion is a matter of safety as well as basic rights.

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