Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, Home of Nasty Antisemitism as well as Transphobia

Bigots will be bigots and prejudice against one group is often accompanied with prejudice against another. Lately it seems like trans-folks and Jews are the chosen targets of many who profess to be enlightened and progressive.

J.K. Rowling’s incessant spewing of vicious hatred towards trans-folks has long been noted. She single-handedly managed to destroy a YA series that had been as popular with many as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings/Hobbit series had been with an earlier generation.

It was a case of someone who is both rich beyond most people’s wildest dreams and powerful in the way that only media darlings can hope to be. Being rich and powerful with guaranteed access to major media outlets automatically turned her attacks on trans-folks into a matter of bullying and punching down.

Of course her abuse of trans-folks and their willingness to fight back caused her to cry the typical bully’s tears of Niobe. “Oh it is so unfair these people I was bullying decided to smack me back on social media.

As I said, those who are bigoted towards trans-folks are often bigoted towards other groups. Over recent years I have noticed structural similarities between the bigotry aimed at trans-folks and antisemitic attacks upon the Jewish people.

So a piece in today’s LGBTQ Nation didn’t really surprise me all that much. Jon Stewart tears into JK Rowling’s antisemitic goblin bankers

<Quote> The former Daily Show host was speaking on his podcast The Problem with Jon Stewart when he brought up the Gringotts Wizarding Bank from the Harry Potter universe and compared the goblins who run the bank to a caricature found in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a piece of literature published in the early 20th century that helped popularize the conspiracy theory that an international cabal of Jews was running the world.

“Hitler used the Protocols as a manual in his war to exterminate the Jews,” Holocaust historian Nora Levin once wrote. The book was described by Rutgers University Professor Stephen Eric Bronner as “probably the most influential work of antisemitism ever written.”

“I just want to show you a caricature,” Stewart, who is Jewish, told his co-hosts. He pointed to a copy of Protocols, saying that people he shows it to often mistake it for the goblin bankers in Harry Potter.

“J.K. Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’” Stewart quipped.

“It’s a wizarding world! It’s a world where like, the train station has a half a thing and no one can see it, and we can ride dragons and you’ve got a pet owl…. Who should run the bank? Jews.”

“It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like ‘Holy shit,’” Stewart continued. “She did not in a wizarding world just throw Jews in there to run the fucking underground bank.”

The goblin bankers have big, hooked noses, are secretive, have a special relationship with wealth, and are characterized as persecuted by society. <End Quote>

Also from today’s news: a headline from the Jewish News Service: Emma Watson draws controversy over solidarity with ‘Free Palestine’ movement on social media which only show how progressive allies of trans-folks can also take positions that are latently if not overtly antisemitic. The trap being one of supporting a cause/group that regularly mistreats the LGBT members of that group. Emma should exercise greater care of her social media and avoid allowing questionable organization the ability to post to her accounts.

April Ashley, Transsexual Pioneer, Dies at 86

Last month April Ashley died. Her New York Times Obituary can be found by clicking Here.

In 1962 she saved my life just by existing. Back then I was a lonely trans-kid living in small rural towns in the Adirondacks and further north in St. Lawrence county New York. I was 15 and had been getting busted dressing up by my parents for a couple of years.

I had heard the names of women who had changed sex before. Christine Jorgensen, Roberta Cowell and others. But their stories were usually limited to a photo caption or a short paragraph or two. The summer of 1962 a tabloid ran a series of articles about April Ashley and her friend and co-worker Bambi (Marie-Pierre Pruvot). It gave her a biography, a history and showed how it was possible for someone like me to do the same.

I clipped those articles and a few others and cherished them because they gave me hope and sustained me in my loneliness.

In the fall of 1962 we faced the Cuban Missile Crisis. We lived about 75 miles or so from the city of Plattsburgh, NY which was home to a major air force base and was surrounded by numerous missile silos. We had been raised with the awareness that a nuclear war would mean probable annihilation which we should face with courage.

I was a teenage trans-kid, my parents knew the path I would walk. I knew the path I would walk. But words had a way of remaining unspoken as though not saying those words meant there was the possibility of a different future.

It had been a school day. My father and mother were there when I got home from school, clippings in hand, an air about them that told me I was in serious trouble, that I might be thrown out.

“Is this what you are?” “Is this what you want to be?”

Thanks to those clipping, that tabloid biography of April Ashley I knew, not thought I might be but knew. I answered, “That is what I am, isn’t it?” There it was the words had been spoken. I wasn’t thrown out, the world didn’t go to war.

I had a role model, I had a dream. I had a vague sort of road map. I would go on to graduate from High School and unhappily go on to college. Over the next four years or so John Rechy’s book “City of Night” would add details of the world and Dr Harry Benjamin’s book would give me the technical knowledge I needed.

In 1967 I made my way to San Francisco and by early 1969 I had hooked up with the Center For Special Problems and was on hormones. I was a patient of Dr. Benjamin. By now one no longer had to seek out surgeons in Casablanca, Denmark or Tijuana. There was Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto and a program with support groups. We had our own words, our own way of thinking about what we were doing.

We became our own role models. Later people would decide to erase the words we used and replace them with euphemisms aimed at obscuring differences between those of us who actually got sex reassignment surgery and those who didn’t.

But still, 60 years later I remember, remember how much comfort it gave me reading April Ashley’s story and knowing I wasn’t alone and how it was possible. I’ve said before the first few made SRS seem like manned space travel. By the 1960s it was like transoceanic passenger flights by 1970 and since like hopping on a commuter flight.

But always I will remember April Ashley.

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