JK Rowling’s 20 greatest LGBT moments to celebrate 20 years of Harry Potter
Today, June 26, marks Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary. So, as a thank you to JK Rowling – supporter of equal rights and Twitter boss – we’ve rummaged around and selected the Potter author’s 20 greatest LGBT moments.
Thanks for your support, JK…
1. That time she revealed that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay
Way back in 2007, after the publication of the final Harry Potter book, JK revealed that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay. Hurray!
At the time, she said: “It has certainly never been news to me that a brave and brilliant man could love other men.
“He is my character. He is what he is and I have the right to say what I say about him.”
2. That time she celebrated that Dumbledore could marry Gandalf in Ireland
JK, who is no stranger to defending equal rights (see all of the below), spoke out in support of the LGBT community after Ireland voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
She shared her “awe” at the nation’s support of equal marriage and stated: “Ireland set an example for the world.”
JK then went on to endorse a relationship between two of the nation’s favourite wizards – her own creation, gay Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, and Gandalf, played by legendary out actor Ian McKellan – suggesting the two could even marry in Ireland now that it was legal for them to do so.
3. That time she brilliantly put down a vile homophobic church
JK Rowling has become known for her excellent responses on social media, and her Twitter reply to the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) definitely makes the grade.
After the author endorsed the aforementioned marriage of Dumbledore and Gandalf, the adamantly homophobic WBC threatening to picket the imaginary big wizard wedding.
Responding to the WBC’s tweet, JK wrote: “Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls.”
4. That time she responded amazingly to fan who questioned why Dumbledore is gay
Some people were a bit confused when JK outed Albus Dumbledore, but JK was more than happy to answer their questions. And shut their shut down.
Responding to one fan of Harry Potter who was seemingly having trouble “seeing him in that way”, Rowling simply wrote: “Maybe because gay people just look like… people?”
That we do, JK.
5. That time she hit back at a Harry Potter fan who was still upset about Dumbledore being gay
Yep, another one – and, understandably, JK seemed a bit miffed when this Harry Potter fan expressed their disappointment about Dumbledore’s sexuality.
Twitter user Frank Fraticelli tweeted of the book series: “once u revealed Dumbledore was homosexual I stopped being a fan. Nice how u blindsided us with that one. Enjoy your billion $.”
Referring to Stagecoach boss Sir Brian Souter – who funded a campaign to keep the Section 28 ban on the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools, JK replied:
“I advise you to start following Brian Souter at once. He’s much more your kind of person.”
6. That time she gloriously burned a homophobic Trump fan
JK, who has long opposed Donald Trump, sent a tweet criticising the US president for shoving a fellow NATO leader out of the way during a meeting – but it was a misogynistic Twitter user who felt JK’s wrath when they replied to her online…
“JK Rowlings thinks shes tough. Stupid dyke [sic],” wrote the Twitter user.
JK replied: “#FactCheck. 1. I don’t think I’m that tough. 2. I definitely do stupid things sometimes. 3. I’d be so gay if you were the alternative.”
7. That time she slammed Trump’s homophobic VP Mike Pence
In the wake of Trump’s decision to withdraw the US for the Paris Agreement on climate change, Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News that “for some reason or another, this issue of climate change has emerged as a paramount issue for the left”.
Rowling shared the clip online, accompanied by a summary of what Pence probably meant – and alluded to Pence’s long homophobic record.
She wrote: “Damn those lefties and their so-called science. What are they REALLY up to, that’s the question. Bet you $10 it’s something gay.”
8. That time she gave her blessing to a Harry Potter comic tribute for Orlando victims
A powerful artwork featuring Harry Potter characters appeared in a comic book to raise funds for Orlando Pulse victims after JK gave her blessing.
The artwork was created by celebrated comic book artist Jim Lee, and was featured in the ‘Love is Love’ anthology comic book. It went on to raise rather a lot of cash…
9. That time the Harry Potter comic tribute raised $165k for Orlando victims
Yep, DC Comics and IDW Publishing’s special comic book raised more than $165,000 for victims of the Orlando Massacre.
It contained 100 short comics penned by 100 writers and artists, to benefit the fund for Orlando survivors maintained by LGBT charity Equality Florida.
10. That time she sent flowers to the funeral of an Orlando shooting victim
Following the Orlando Pulse gay club mass shooting, JK Rowling sent flowers to the funeral of Luis Vielma, as well as a message for his loved ones.
Vielma, who had worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios, was one of 49 killed during a mass shooting at the Pulse gay club in Orlando, Florida.
“Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old,” JK wrote at the time. “I can’t stop crying.”
11. That time she schooled the Daily Mail on its criticism of a gay judge
Good old JK previously mocked The Mail Online for running a headline that cast outrage on the judges who ruled that Article 50 must have parliamentary approval before being triggered.
The Daily Mail was furious over the ruling and attacked the “openly gay” judge who delivered the decision.
The “openly gay ex-Olympic fencer” refers to Sir Terence Etherton, the country’s second-most senior judge, who has more than four decades of legal experience.
“If the worst they can say about you is you’re an OPENLY GAY EX-OLYMPIC FENCER TOP JUDGE, you’ve basically won life,” Rowling hit back.
12. That time she revealed Remus Lupin’s werewolf condition metaphor for HIV
In an attempt to raise awareness, the Harry Potter author revealed last year that Remus Lupin’s werewolf condition is a metaphor for illnesses that carry a stigma.
Lupin — who Rowling calls “one of her favourite characters in the entire Potter series” — was plagued by his condition and often faced rejection from the wizarding world.
“Lupin’s condition of lycanthropy was a metaphor for those illnesses that carry a stigma, like HIV and AIDS,” Rowling explained.
“All kinds of superstitions seem to surround blood-borne conditions, probably due to taboos surrounding blood itself.”
13. That time she shut down homophobic Tom Daley trolls following his Olympic exit
JK used her Twitter (naturally) to defend Tom Daley against trolls who blamed his sexual orientation for his early exit from the Rio Olympics. Yeah, go figure.
Prayer and lobby group Christian voice posted an anti-gay message after Tom failed to qualify for the 10-meter platform final at Rio 2016, writing:
“Turning gay doesn’t seem to have done Tom Daley any favours at #Rio2016.”
“Can’t decide which is more offensive in this tweet, the stupidity or the spite,” Rowling hit back.
14. That time she responded to ‘death to gays’ pastor who thinks Harry Potter is Satanic
Understandably, JK Rowling responded when US-based hardline evangelicals claimed that her Harry Potter books wanted to convert children to Satanism.
One pastor, Kevin Swanson, claimed that children should be drowned rather than allowed to read the ‘Satanic’ books.
Swanson – who has also called for gay people to be put to death – urged people to “repent of Harry Potter”, adding: “For tens of millions of parents it would be better that a millstone be hung around their neck and they be drowned at the bottom of the sea.”
Referencing the criticism, JK said: “My critics are at liberty to claim that I am trying to convert children to Satanism… and I’m free to explain that I’m exploring human nature and morality.
“Or to say ‘You’re an idiot,’ depending on which side of the bed I go out on that day.”
Take that, pastor.
15. That time a study found kids who read Harry Potter are more LGBT friendly
Thanks to JK, young Harry Potter fans show greater acceptance of LGBT people.
Yep, it’s true. Researchers from four universities joined forces to examine the attitudes of primary school, secondary school and college students, in correlation with their knowledge of the Potter books.
The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice, published in the Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, shows that the secondary school students who had read more of the novels and identified with the eponymous hero Harry displayed more tolerance towards gay people.
What a beautiful and unexpected outcome.
16. That time she shared her amusement at a real gay erotica book about post-Brexit Britain
Back in 2016, JK tweeted about Chuck Tingle’s erotic novel ‘Pounded by the Pound’ – and in addition to the hilarity of the existence of the book, she also confirmed that a pretty spot-on review is also a real thing.
“The book’s real, the review’s real and I’ve finally found something to laugh about in this whole terrible mess,” Rowling tweeted.
17. That time she had gender fluid ideas for forming characters
While writing some new material last year, JK Rowling admitted she couldn’t settle on the gender of some of her characters.
Revealing her gender fluid idea of forming characters, she wrote: “All I’ve done so far this week is change three characters’ genders and I still don’t know whether their current genitalia are permanent.”
18. That time she backed a campaign to ‘save Soho’ after the closure of a number of venues
After a number of London venues – many of them gay bars – closed their doors, JK tweeted her support to ‘save Soho’, along with a nod to her detective character Cormoran Strike, whose fictional office is based in Soho.
She wrote: “I sincerely hope we can #SaveSoho or Strike’s and Robin’s office will be demolished.”
19. That time she said Hogwarts is a ‘safe place’ for LGBT people
JK confirmed all of our suspicions when she said that fictional wizarding school Hogwarts welcomes LGBT people.
“Do you think there are a lot of LGBT students in modern age Hogwarts? It’s safe to assume that Hogwarts had a variety of people and I like to think it’s a safe place for LGBT students,” one reader asked the author.
20. That time she said: ‘Homophobia is a fear of people loving’
Way back in 2008, JK opened up about her decision to out Dumbledore.
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Speaking to Edinburgh University’s Student newspaper, she said: “Homophobia is a fear of people loving, more than it is of the sexual act.
“There seems to be an innate distaste for the love involved, which I find absolutely extraordinary.
“The issue is love. It’s not about sex. So that’s what I knew about Dumbledore.
“And it’s relevant only in so much as he fell in love and was made an utter fool of by love.
“He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love and I think subsequently became very mistrusting of his own judgment in those matters so became quite asexual.
“He led a celibate and bookish life.”