Wednesday 1 July 2020

July 1, 2020

The Harry Potter fandom has been going strong for more than 20 years, and we are so proud to have been there alongside so many, celebrating, learning, and growing together.

As this fandom enters its third decade, J.K. Rowling has chosen this time to loudly pronounce harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person. In addition to the distaste we feel for her choice to publish these statements during Pride Month — as well as during a global reckoning on racial injustice — we find the use of her influence and privilege to target marginalized people to be out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books and celebrated by the Harry Potter community.

Although it is difficult to speak out against someone whose work we have so long admired, it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused. Our stance is firm: Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary. We stand with Harry Potter fans in these communities, and while we don’t condone the mistreatment JKR has received for airing her opinions about transgender people, we must reject her beliefs.

We have seen countless people use the Potter books and fan fiction to explore their own identities while spreading love and acceptance. We know that this is still possible, and we know that we want to continue to be part of that movement. We are committed to doing better work in our community to uplift and center the people who have been marginalized and create positive change from within our fandom platforms. 

To start, in order to make sure that FictionAlley and its related sites and projects may be safely enjoyed by those who have been targeted, we have unfollowed her Twitter account, and will not RT any content created by her. While we are not removing ads or links through which people can purchase the books, films and merchandise as purchases of secondhand items do not provide a revenue stream to her, we will not be creating new links or promotions for any works that do provide a revenue stream to her as an individual.

This marks the beginning of a renewed commitment to supporting the Harry Potter community with conscientiousness and understanding. We will update this page as we develop efforts to elevate and fund-raise in support of fandomers, because fandom is our fandom.

Thank you for continuing to visit our site, participate in the fandom that has long belonged to all of us, and help us work to realize the vision of this truly inclusive fandom. If you have input or ideas on how to achieve this, we’d love to hear from you; just comment on this post this month; to mitigate spam issues, we will close the post to comments in early August.

If you are a trans person seeking support, we urge you to do so by calling Trans Lifeline's peer support hotline.

Fandom Trans Pride

Monday 8 June 2020

Catching Up (Which We Should Have Done More Of in the Last Few Weeks)

Things are pretty quiet at FictionAlley these days, since we moved in with Archive of Our Own about two years ago. Speaking personally as Heidi for a moment, I've had a very long and complicated 18 months of family losses, and I know many of you have, too.

But in these past two weeks, we should have at least made a few things clear and prominent on the front page, so please accept my personal apologies for not having done so beforehand.

Regarding Black Lives Matter and the murder of George Floyd, as well as the attacks on protesters and the murders of Black men and women including Ahmed Arbury and Brionna Taylor, we recommend the resources shared by Healing Fictions, founded by one of FictionAlley's founding mods, Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania.

And here's a reading list curated by our friends at Sirens, and from the NY Times, of books regarding anti-racism, and by women, nonbinary, and trans folks writing SFF works about Black people and Black communities. Black Lives Matter.

Other resources shared by Ebony include: 

No Reader is Too Young to Start Antiracist Books

Black Lives Matter Instructional Library

17 Books About Racial Inequality for Young Readers

List Curated By Librarians Sujei Lugo Vázquez & Alia Jones

You can also follow The HP Alliance and BlackGirlsCreate for good conversations, insights and resources.

Regarding the tweets this past weekend by A Certain Writer, we categorically disagree with her statements, and stand with Arthur Levine, US publisher of the Harry Potter series, as well as Daniel Radcliffe, Noma Dumezweni and many others. If you haven't read what Daniel published via The Trevor Project, we strongly recommend that you do (follow the link above or read the screenshots below). Daniel speaks for us.
To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.
As author Robin Stevens said, "When we write for children we become part of their lives, in positions of authority. For a children’s author to turn around and publicly deny the humanity of some of the children they write for is not merely cruel, it is a dereliction of duty. It is unprofessional."

Many of us who came to Harry Potter as tweens, as teens or as 20somethings (as well as those who first read the books at older ages) have lived the impact of those stores for years, decades, even 20 years as it is for me, marking 20 years in the fandom this very month. The fandom is here for all of us, if we want to remain a part of it. We are not obligated to pay any attention to her, but we cannot be silent about the hurt that she has caused, or the ignorance that she has disseminated. Stay safe, Happy Pride, and remember that we love you.

For more Harry Potter "Things That Have Nothing To Do With" Joanne, here's a great list of links which we found via our friend Jackson Bird, whose memoir, Sorted, we enthusiastically recommend.

We hope to see you soon.

Heidi et al