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Facing the 'Boggart' JK Rowling Has Become as a Queer Autistic

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Harry Potter has always been a source of light in my life. I adore the books and they have gotten me through incredibly difficult times. But, now I have a quandary to face. Earlier this week, JK Rowling published an essay about her reasons for speaking out on sex and gender issues. I had been following the story of her transphobic tweets. I was already feeling uneasy about Rowling and then this essay was published.

As a queer autistic, it broke my heart to read her essay. I personally don’t question my gender identity, but one of my very best friends does. They were assigned male at birth and are currently questioning whether or not they want to fully transition into a woman. Currently, they identify as non-binary. I am one of the only people they are out to and so have been their main support through this journey. As an autistic, I know what it is like to want a different brain in your body and I think this is one of the reasons I am able to support them in the way I do. To hear my favorite author doubt their ability to truly be the beautiful, strong woman they could see themselves as in the future is not right.

Her comment about autistic women also rubbed me the wrong way. People not thinking I’m competent is one of my biggest day-to-day struggles. To hear her imply that we can be “brainwashed” more easily is another strike against her.

My quandary is this; can I separate the art from the artist? I can’t even begin to count the number of times the Harry Potter series has influenced and inspired me. I think what bothers me most is that the voice who wrote something that kept me alive during some dark moments is also a voice that makes my best friend feel depressed and suicidal.

My friend is valid. JK Rowling’s views are not.

Getty image by Maltaguy1.

Originally published: June 15, 2020
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