Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-08-05
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MOMBIAN Harry Potter and the LGBTQ family
by Dana Rudolph
2017-07-19

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


June 26 is an auspicious date. Not only did the U.S. Supreme Court issue its marriage-equality decision on that day in 2015, but 20 years ago, on June 26, 1997, the world first learned of a boy named Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione. I've read J. K. Rowling's series three times to myself and once out loud to my son ( who then re-read it on his own a few years later ), and wanted to mark the combined anniversary with a few lessons from Harry Potter for LGBTQ families.

Our secrets can become our strengths. Harry famously doesn't learn he is a wizard until he turns 11. He knows he is different, however—a sentiment to which many LGBTQ people can relate. Once he is able to become the wizard he is inside, he is both happier in himself and able to use his skills to help others.

Families come in all types. Harry was raised by his aunt and uncle after his parents' deaths. His classmate Neville was raised by his grandmother after his parents were killed by Voldemort's followers. Their friend Luna Lovegood lost her mother to an accident at age nine and was subsequently raised by her father alone. Ron is one of seven children of a pure-blood wizarding family; Hermione is the sole child of a Muggle ( non-magic ) couple. Tom Riddle, who became Voldemort, was raised in an orphanage ( which would seem another piece of evidence in favor of finding foster homes for children who need them ).

Chosen family matters. Harry's aunt and uncle treat him terribly. His friend Ron Weasley's family, however, brings him into their already full fold and treats him as one of their own. After the disastrous third task of the Triwizard Tournament, Molly Weasley, Ron's mother, puts her arms around him and Harry reflects, "He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother." And Sirius Black, chosen by Harry's parents to be his godfather, comes to play an important and supportive role in his life.

The world isn't always black and white. Sometimes evil is definitive, and must be fought—as Voldemort shows—but in these books, the classic good-versus-evil theme also has shades of gray. Potions Master Severus Snape, for example, is cruel and petty, but went from being one of Voldemort's supporters to becoming a double agent against him and a key part of Dumbledore's plan to save the wizarding world. Likeable? Hardly. But his ultimate self-sacrifice indicates he has some sense of right and wrong. Likewise, the Hogwarts bully, Draco Malfoy, finds himself unable to kill Dumbledore as ordered by Voldemort, showing a hint of possible redemption. Conversely, Dumbledore admits that he, too, was tempted by dreams of power over death. "Was I better, ultimately, than Voldemort?" he asks Harry. Harry answers that he was, since he never killed if he could avoid it. Still, the grayness is there. Harry himself carried a piece of Voldemort's soul inside him as the result of a failed curse. While it pained him, it also gave him the insight needed to defeat the Dark Lord. These are all useful lessons for us today in a country more divided than ever. If we can recognize a bit of the other in ourselves, and vice versa, we have a starting point for understanding.

The path to equity and justice isn't always clear. Hermione's campaign to free the house elves from enslavement is met by skepticism. George Weasley insists they are happy in their work, and indeed, most of the elves themselves are highly dubious about freedom ( evoking, perhaps, the Biblical stories that show the ancient Israelites complaining about the burdens of their newly free life out of Egypt ). Freedom takes time and practice, one message here seems to be, especially if one is too enmeshed in an oppressive system to see the oppression. At the same time, another message is that only the group in question can define freedom for itself. Allies, no matter how well-meaning, may not always give help in the way it is needed—an important lesson as we act as allies to others.

Community is key to success. Harry is the Chosen One, but he does not save the world alone. The adult wizards of the Order of the Phoenix and the students who form Dumbledore's Army are both critical to defeating Voldemort. On a smaller scale, each of the Hogwarts houses offers community and a sense of belonging to students of similar temperament. And despite the separate interests of each house, they came together to defeat Voldemort—even some of the often nasty Slytherins, under the leadership of their Head of House, Horace Slughorn. That's a lesson to bear in mind no matter which letters of LGBTQ+ hold our identity. There are times we must unite for our collective good.

Like many, though, I wish there had been more overt LGBTQ representation in the series. Rowling's 2007 announcement that Dumbledore was gay felt like an afterthought. I wanted Quidditch teammates Katie Bell and Alicia Spinnet to go to the Yule Ball together.

At the same time, Rowling laid out an ethos of inclusion and justice that resonates with many LGBTQ people I know, myself included. Her more recent tweets and public statements show she is a fervent supporter of LGBTQ equality. As Pride Month draws to a close, then, let us lift a mug of Butterbeer in her honor for giving us Harry and his world—and making ours just a little more magical.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( mombian.com ), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents. She is a proud Ravenclaw.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Coming-out letter 2020-07-28 - Mom, Starting this letter is by far one of the toughest things I have done in a long time, and trust me, I've ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Uncle Charley 2020-07-22 - I was 17 when I finally figured out that my Uncle Charley was queer. We didn't have the word "gay" in 1953—it just ...


Gay News

Stand up and be counted 2020-07-10 - As the LGBTQ+ navigator of Chinese Mutual Aid Association, I want to encourage everyone, both LGBTQ+ individuals and cisgender/straight allies, to get counted ...


Gay News

LETTER Standing up against racism 2020-06-27 - Dear community: June is Pride Month. Over 50 years ago, on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN Supporting LGBTQ families requires that Black Lives Matter 2020-06-24 - Black lives matter. Black LGBTQ lives matter. And we will never have a just world for LGBTQ families until we have racial justice. ...


Gay News

Remembering a leader: Larry Kramer 2020-06-02 - We lost a great leader this week with the death of Larry Kramer. Larry was an accomplished man and activist who earned ...


Gay News

Planning your legacy: VA benefits for LGBTQ veterans and servicemembers 2020-05-27 - Dear community: The Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA ) stands strong in supporting our LGBTQ servicemembers and veterans. As members of ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL Is there a doctor... 2020-05-27 - It's that time again. I need to find a healthcare provider. I live in a rural community where there is a large turnover ...


Gay News

VIEWS LGBTQ discrimination is a disgrace 2020-05-18 - Re the New York Times article, "Aimee Stephens, 59, Plaintiff in Transgender Rights Case" ( obituary, May 14 ): Our world has long ...


Gay News

LETTER Handling the pandemic 2020-05-13 - Dear community: How is our community responding to the coronavirus pandemic? The key seems to be a social-distance approach that many of ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.