JK Rowling actually wrote a scene in Harry Potter where a character is ridiculed for their gender expression

Patrick Kelleher June 9, 2020
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Severus Snape JK Rowling dress trans

Severus Snape wearing a dress in Harry Potter (YouTube)

JK Rowling left LGBT+ Harry Potter fans heartbroken with a string of anti-trans tweets – but the signs were there all along.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Severus Snape, a cisgender male character, is depicted wearing a dress.

The moment, which occurs in both the 1999 book and its corresponding 2004 film, is played entirely for laughs – and perhaps gives an insight into Rowling’s views on gender expression.

In Azkaban, Snape is depicted wearing a dress when professor Lupin gives third years a class on how to deal with a boggart.

In JK Rowling’s wizarding world, a boggart is a shapeshifter that hides in dark spaces and, when seen by a person, will take on the form of their greatest fear.

Neville Longbottom is relentlessly bullied by Snape, so the potions master is his biggest fear.

Professor Lupin instructs Neville to chant the spell “Riddikulus” when greeted by the boggart taking Snape’s form, and tells him that, if all goes well, the boggart should find itself wearing a dress and carrying a big red handbag.

When professor Lupin tells Neville his plan there is “a great shout of laughter” from the other pupils. The spell successfully puts the boggart posing as Snape in a dress, and once again, there is a “roar of laughter”.

JK Rowling under fire for her anti-trans views.

In the film, the scene plays out mostly the same, but instead Lupin whispers his directions to Neville, so the depiction of Snape in a dress is a surprise to the audience.

The chapter in the book, and its corresponding scene in the film, make sense when considered within the context of JK Rowling’s anti-trans ideology.

The author left the LGBT+ community and Harry Potter fans across the world heartbroken when she sent an anti-trans tweet taking aim at inclusive language around periods.

“‘People who menstruate’,” she wrote. “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

She followed up with: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

Her words and their timing were met with swift backlash from queer fans and celebrities, with stars of the Harry Potter film series joining the discourse.

More: anti-trans, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, severus snape

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