From One Magical Trans To Another
I was sharing a room with a friend. My body was sinking from an adrenaline crash, having spent a week fighting with myself; convinced the plane that would bring us here would burst into flames, taking the last of me with it. Grief has done something different to the way I feel fear. It use to be fun, being scared; exciting. Now, when I fear, I am consumed in a deafening doom. It’s exhausting, it’s painful.
So we’re both trying to drift off, but I can’t sleep. They tell me a trick they use to help them sleep. I’ve known this friend long enough to know that their insomnia has consumed them for as many years as fear consumes me. I welcome their advice.
They told me that they’d imagine they were at home, packing their suitcase for Hogwarts. Folding their clothes, deciding what they want to take, going real slow. Then they’d imagine which animal they have with them, they’d imagine going to Platform 9 3/4, getting on the train… The trick is to see how close you can get to Hogwarts before drifting off. I fell asleep as soon as I got on the train. I’ve used this technique often, since then. The furthest I’ve ever got is to the gates at Hogwarts. Where my eyes would land on a Thestral (a rare breed of winged horse that is only visible to people who have witnessed death in it’s fullest). I’d look at all the students, envious of their blindness yet knowing it was remarkable that only a few of us, amongst all of these people, have the privilege of witnessing this vision.
The Thestral that stood at Hogwarts gates is the only thing to have been gained from my mothers death.
My mum use to radiate in my love for Harry Potter. These novels were my first true taste at what it felt to be alive. What it felt to stand for something. You could see that on me, I was one child of thousands who’d excitably take up all the space in the room, now that they had access to a world of magic, a world muggles could not even fathom.
As I was scrolling through the comment thread on J.K Rowlings tweet
“Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
I fell back into my 9 year old body. As I ran around the house, my wand; a toilet brush. Casting spells and spraying waste over the walls. My mother simultaneously screaming and laughing. I read the first four books repeatedly, waiting for what may have been years before Order of the Phoenix came out. I never lost interest; Hogwarts was part of me. This is who I was now. Mum preordered the book for me. She picked me up from school that day so I wouldn’t lose any time reading it; I wanted to finish it before anyone else in school. I’d created a race that didn’t exist. I have never been chill.
I remember how excited she was for me to have Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. I’d waited so long for this. From a 9 year old with a toilet brush to a teenager with a pink fringe, I always had that same energy when I was about to go back to the world of witchcraft and wizardry; she always had that same warmth when I was this excited, as if she were charging it.
I didn’t outgrow this feeling. It’s followed me up until this day. Over the past year I’ve heard mentions of J.K Rowling’s support for transphobes. Now Rowling can no longer claim that her ignorance came from a a middle-aged moment. (As she did in 2018, after liking a transphobic tweet).
Rowling has put into the world that she believes that to be transgender is about the clothes that we wear, the names that we give ourselves, the people who’ll have us. As if we are a hand-me-down not worthy of physical intimacy. J.K Rowlings words shocked me into looking at myself, and my place at Hogwarts. I am invisible. I’m trapped in a world of magic. A rare species of beast only visible to a few. Much like the Thestral. Although the Thestral’s existence is never doubted, even to those who cannot witness it’s beauty.
How can a human who created an entire world of magic, a world where anything is possible — where the goodhearted triumph against the bad despite the odds being against them — how can this same human now be targeting transgender people? How can a human with such a huge platform be using it to further marginalise those who are already vulnerable? A human who created a world where we challenged the patriarchy. A world also subject to propaganda. J.K Rowling continuously explored the power of the media in this world, the power that the Ministry of Magic had over the civilians. Our hearts ached for Sirius Black as we watched powerful people manipulate the public into believing a human we knew to be warm hearted, into a murderous villain. And now she uses this same language against me and my trans siblings.
“Dress however you please”. Thank you Rowling for telling your 14.6million followers that to be transgender is as simple as the garments we place upon ourselves. “Call yourself what you like”. Thank you Rowling for telling your 14.6million followers that to be transgender is a choice. You sound much like those who once used their platforms to spread homophobia. Now I think about it, it’s interesting that you announced Dumbledore to be gay, only after the release of the final book in your series. “Sleep with any consenting adult that’ll have you” Thank you Rowling, for shaming us. For suggesting our sexual worth is a currency that few are willing to spend.
“Live your best life in peace and security” Thank you Rowling, hand us three blows to the stomach and then grant us permission to breathe.
“But Force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real” Thank you Rowling, for manipulating your 14.6million followers into believing that Maya Forstator is the victim, in a world where trans hate crimes were reported to have risen by 81% over the past year. Maya has continuously used transphobic language, and consistently refers to trans women as men; to claim she was forced out of her job for just stating a view on biology, is not even an understatement, it’s an outright lie.
I am not here to debate the lives of my trans siblings. I am here to reach out to those who can see a Thestral at Hogwarts gates. To those who cradle their childhood trauma in their adult bodies as they lay in bed imagining packing their suitcase for Hogwarts. To those who remember how it was to be the child that took up all the space in the room. To those who cried when Dumbledore died. To those who never stopped waiting for their letter from Hogwarts to come through the door, I see you. This world is still ours. I see you.