Why didn’t more of us see Rowling’s bigotry coming?

Rori Porter
11 min readFeb 13, 2023
If there is one thing this child is concerned with right now, I bet it’s the lack of intersectional feminism in a children’s book published in 1998 — Photo credit: Envato — Description: a young child dressed as Harry Potter points a toy wand toward the camera.

I recently had a commenter on one of my JK Rowling-related essays ask me:

“[…] didn’t you fans ever notice no queer characters? None. In — what? — seven books? And people are ambushed by her being transphobic? I’d have been astonished if she weren’t.”

There’s kind of a lot to unpack here, but let’s start with a really important context to understand before I continue:

Dude… I was eleven years old when I read the first Harry Potter book back in 1999.

Let’s set the stage. It’s 1999, I’m in grade school, and there’s a Scholastic Bookfair. As a bookish little kid, this was my favorite time of the semester. At this particular book fair, there were big cardboard cutouts of a bespectacled boy riding on a broomstick. I was entranced, and naturally purchased the first book and a metal snowy owl bookmark with the money my parents had sent me to school that day.

I was very much Harry Potter’s original target audience and I wasn’t exactly reading anything with a critical focus on queerness, diversity, and equitable representation back then. I don’t think the concept of queer representation was explained to me for another several years. I was a closeted kid in the midwest and I knew as much as the schools and my…



Rori Porter

Queer Transfemme writer & designer based out of Los Angeles. She/Her/They/Their. Editor of TransFoc.us Anthology. RoriPorter.com