PotterCast: ‘Sorting it Out’ With Jackson Bird

Dec 21, 2019

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Audio, News, PotterCast

In a special episode of PotterCast, Melissa Anelli sits down with Jackson Bird, longtime friend of the podcast and of Leaky, as well as author, trans activist and educator, (and expert Waffler), to discuss comments made by J.K. Rowling this week. If you haven’t caught up with the situation, first read our piece summarising the tweet, the situation and reactions from the fandom.

Rowling’s comment on Twitter supporting a woman whose employment contract was not renewed due to her refusal to accept the legally protected rights of trans people. As PotterCast summarises:

“In coming back from a months-long Twitter hiatus, J.K. Rowling mischaracterized the facts of the case in support of a dangerous and unscientific movement that invalidates the trans experience, and in doing so flies in the face of medical consensus worldwide.

Her comments also confused a lot of fans who are not fully familiar with the issues at stake, or cannot understand how someone whose book series is so vehemently about tolerance can express support for a woman whose views invalidate so many people’s existences. That’s why in this episode, we are going over it all.”

Jackson and Melissa discuss:

  • What actually happened
  • What J.K. Rowling said versus what happened to the woman in question, Maya Forstater
  • Why many fans saw this coming
  • What to do now that the creator of the series we love so dearly has taken this stance
  • How to support trans and non-binary communities
  • How we as fans are feeling about all of this
  • What to do now, especially since we still love this community

Listen to the episode here.

Jackson also wrote a brilliant op-ed piece for The New York Times, and it’s a brilliant read, summarising the situation perfectly:

The show notes are incredibly important to this episode, and we hope you’ll listen and read these resources in order to be better informed on this issue, and previous issues that may have been overlooked, so we can better equip ourselves as fans in educating ourselves and looking to improve discourse and treatment of other fans. The episode is being transcribed, so keep an eye on the feeds at PotterCast.com!

In Jackson’s New York Times opinion piece, he writes about the magic of community, and shows the need for this to be a continued conversation and lesson in inclusivity:

“The real magic for me is what people have created around the books and the community we have built together.

I think of evenings spent in dark music venues in Brooklyn, screaming along with hundreds of other sweaty Harry Potter fans to songs inspired by the books. Taking inspiration from the series, bands with names like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys and Tonks and the Aurors rage against supremacy and corrupt governments, and they preach the power of love above all else.

I think of a community that gave me a new home, my own kind of Hogwarts, after I came out as transgender — a community that continues to foster that same safe space for every queer or trans person who needs it, and which commits itself intentionally toward growth and learning in its inclusion.

J.K. Rowling’s latest opinions, as much as they might sting, can’t take that magic away from me. I can only hope she takes this opportunity to practice some of the same values she taught us and listens to trans fans of her books. Let us tell you about our lives, how we got here, and even how the world you created saved many of us. We’re ready to have a conversation if you are. Send us an owl.”

As always, PotterCast and Leaky stand with our trans and non-binary friends and colleagues.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.