“To My Fellow Heterosexuals” – A Letter From Andrew Slack
“White bigots have maintained they were right to keep blacks enslaved, killed, tortured, barred from voting, from restaurants, from certain sidewalks, and lunch counters, and bathrooms and bridges and yes, from marrying whites. But they lost. Just a few years ago, a bigoted white man refused to marry a couple in Louisiana because they are interracial. The spark of outrage has been so huge that the conservative governor of this Southern state has asked for this man’s resignation.
“Some Harry Potter fans have not liked what the HPA has to say about marriage equality. But I believe that those in the LGBTQ community will be granted that right. One day conservative governors from Southern states will look at those against marriage equality with the same disdain that the Louisiana conservative governor looked at those who opposed interracial marriage in 2009.
“And while there are many Harry Potter fans against equal marriage who have asked us to look at “both sides” of the argument, as if an argument had only two sides and that was it, I’d prefer it if you and I together could look at our privilege for being heterosexual in this society.
“We’ve never had to deal with the isolation of keeping a secret of our sexuality or gender identity. We’ve never had to reach for the courage to come out of the closet and face whatever isolation comes from that to say, ‘Mom and dad, I’m heterosexual or exactly the gender that you thought I was.’
“We’ve never had to again, and again, and again, when we meet people for the first time, wonder if they won’t like us if and when they find out that we’re heterosexual. We’ve never had to hear about heterosexuals murdered for being heterosexuals and to fear for our lives on account of our sexuality. We’ve never had to fear for our jobs based on our sexuality. We’ve never heard about heartbreaking tales of countless men who mainstream society allowed to die of AIDS without trying to do anything to help – because they were heterosexual.
“We’ve never had to be told that we have no right to marry a person that we love. That if they are dying in the hospital that we cannot visit them and that our children that we’ve been raising together could be removed from us and given to someone else. We’ve never been told that we are not allowed to adopt on the grounds that we are heterosexual.
“Such privilege could make us pause. Could make us realize that when we talk down to people who are in the LGBTQ community, when we deny them their rights, we are denying people who have done nothing but acted on courage that we have had the privilege to not have to reach for in regards to our sexuality. We are discriminating against people who by their very existence to the injustices bestowed upon them have shown true courage, bravery, and yes, MORAL fiber.
“We are discriminating against our doctors, our soldiers, our artists, our police, our teachers, our ministers, our rabbis, our neighbors, our sisters, our brothers, our parents, and anyone we know who is LGBGTQ, including potentially our own children and grandchildren. Let us not skewer those who are LGBTQ any longer against a cross of social crucifixion. Let us instead look at each other as equals and learn from each other and take the lessons that we have learned from Harry Potter about the power of love, to heart.
“Harry Potter’s eleven years living in a cupboard for his identity as a Wizard reminds us that no one should have to live inside of a closet for their identity. Dumbledore, and we as readers, understand with great sympathy those like Hagrid a half-giant and Lupin a werewolf, struggling to live in the closet because of their identity. Dumbledore allows for them to come to Hogwarts despite the objections of those who know of their identities – in the HPA we have spent years working to create an environment where those still living in and out of the closet because of their sexual orientation will not be legally subjected to existential intolerance and irrational prejudice.
“In Half-Blood Prince page 624, when in the middle of discussing the prospect of a marriage that would challenge the status quo’s “perfectly normal thank you very much” definition of “marriage” McGonagall says, “Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world.”
“I think we all know deep down that one of the reasons Harry Potter is so popular is because it artfully conveys a message that is so very needed at this time – that the forces of fear, intolerance, and hatred come and go but they are no match for the power of love. In the Harry Potter Alliance we are proud to be standing on the side of inclusion, Civil Rights, and love. Standing for equal marriage is therefore an obvious fit for us. We believe in building a society that demonstrates to this nation and to this world that human connection can be based on the expansive principles of love rather than the contracting delusions of fear. We believe in working hand in hand, for a world based on human rights as well as the right to be human.
“Let this be a truth that is echoed in the United States Congress, the Supreme Court, the Oval Office, and the desk of every journalist, politician, and preacher. Let it be a truth that echoes far beyond US borders, into every corner of our world.
“In the words of the greatest Wizard in the world, ‘Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.’ Let our hearts remain open and our aims be for a world where we all have that very basic right to be human.
“And in the words of Harry and the Potters and the Harry Potter Alliance, ‘The Weapon We Have Is Love.’
With Hope and Love,
Harry Potter Alliance, Executive Director”
The Harry Potter Alliance is an advocacy group committed to fighting suffering and oppression around the world – a kind of real world Dumbledore’s Army. Learn more here.