JK Rowling attends the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them premiere in 2016 (Getty/Jim Spellman)
A mother has wrestled with whether to let her youngest read Harry Potter after her trans son asked her to boycott author JK Rowling.
Writing to Slate‘s Dear Prudence column, a mum-of-three explained that her oldest son came out as trans in the first grade. Now 15, he has asked his mum not to read Rowling’s books to his youngest siblings.
Reading Harry Potter has long been a tradition in their household, she said, “but my oldest has asked me not to read the books to his younger brother and not to buy Harry Potter merchandise for Christmas because it would feel to him that I was supporting JK Rowling’s horrible anti-trans comments“.
The dilemma came up after the youngest son was read his “first Harry Potter book” by his third-grade teacher.
Mum of trans son wonders whether buying Harry Potter gifts would mean ‘supporting JK Rowling’.
“I do not agree with Rowling at all and don’t want to invalidate my older son’s feelings, but is it possible to separate art from artist here?” she questioned.
The mother added that she and her son have sought to compromise, explaining to her eight-year-old son why Rowling’s comments were offensive.
“But my son said that still meant I was supporting Rowling by letting his brother read her work anyway.”
“This seems fairly straightforward and comparatively low-stakes,” Lavery replied, reiterating that the mother has a “trans kid who’s made a specific request” about not supporting Rowling financially by buying Harry Potter memorabilia.
“I think you should honour it,” he continued, telling her that her eight-year-old “is old enough” to understand the issues at hand, “especially since he has a trans brother and it’s likely to come up again in the future”.
“You don’t have to make your youngest feel guilty about having enjoyed the book, or that he should only read authors with unimpeachable characters, but that as the parent of a trans kid, you want to draw the line [by not buying the merchandise].”
Lavery proposed to her that she considers buying alternative festive gifts for the youngest and ask friends for suggestions.
JK Rowling has increasingly spoken out on trans rights. Her fans aren’t sure how to handle it.
JK Rowling has issued a tirade of explosive comments on trans lives this year, drawing intense criticism.
She has outlined her views on trans rights extensively across various Twitter threads and blog posts, wrongly linking gender identity to mental illness and plunging her LGBT+ fans into unease.
Her comments have prompted the holy trinity of the series’ film adaptations – Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – to come out swinging for trans rights.