We can celebrate the Boy Who Lived while still advocating for transgender rights.
Today, July 31, 2020, is Harry Potter's 40th birthday.
Harry Potter might be one of the most successful franchises of all time, but Harry's birthday this year comes coded with some recent statements made by J.K. Rowling. The author's xenophobic tweets have made her, arguably, one of the most powerful TERFs—or trans-exclusionary radical feminists—in pop culture today.
Rowling has been known to make some unusual remarks before—remember that time she said Dumbledore was gay, despite having never depicted his sexuality in the books?—but her TERF shenanigans are by far her most infuriating. Last December, Rowling received a wave of backlash after tweeting in support of Maya Forstater, an English woman who lost her job after posting a series of tweets questioning government plans to let people declare their own gender.
Happy birthday to the world's biggest genre
On this day in 1973, Clive Campbell, the Jamaican-American "selector" known as DJ Kool Herc, hosted a "back to school jam" at 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the Boogie Down Bronx of New York City.
Armed with a booming sound system and reggae beats, Herc– a shortened nickname for "Hercules"– commanded insatiable audiences across the South Bronx with his unique looping technique called the "Merry-Go Round." "[I knew that] they were waiting for this particular break," Herc later said, "and I got a couple of records that got the same break up in it. I wonder how it would be if I put them all together."
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Maybe normalization needs to look less like glitter bombs and blasting "Born This Way," and more like simple acceptance, encouragement, and space to question.
In the wealthy Virginia community where I grew up, being gay wasn't seen as evil by most people.
Instead, it was seen as a subtler kind of wrong. It was disapproved of in the way that privileged liberal people tend to disapprove of things: passively and even compassionately. My parents believed that people were sometimes born gay and that while they wouldn't "wish that harder life" on their children, gay people were a fact of life and we owed them kindness.