“Transfiguration: A Wrock Comp for Trans Rights” Brings Humor, Heart to Difficult Discourse
Following J.K. Rowling’s public comments on transgender identity, there have been many questions about how members of the Wizarding World fandom plan to move forward in relation to the franchise. Particularly for queer, transgender, and non-binary fans, the matter is more complicated, and a new wizard rock (or “wrock”) compilation album addresses some of these feelings.
Transfiguration: A Wrock Comp for Trans Rights was released on October 11 and organized by CG Matovina, Sage Palmieri, and Jami Schafer, with artwork by Quintin Gell. The proceeds of the album, priced at $7.77, will go to Camp Lilac and the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition.
We at MuggleNet had the opportunity to interview Sage Palmieri, whose track “Harry’s Haikus” is included on the album, to learn more about the project. Palmieri – who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns – explained that they were already friends with Schafer and Matovina through the Harry Potter fandom and that the album’s origins were in an open mic night hosted by the literary magazine Wizards in Space as part of the programming for the Harry Potter Alliance’s virtual version of Granger Leadership Academy, called Camp GLA, this past summer.
During the open mic night, Palmieri recalled, there were at least three different pieces performed in response to Rowling’s comments. From there, Palmieri expressed on the Camp GLA Discord server that someone should make a compilation album out of the responses, but they didn’t expect that they would be one of the people to do it. Being at Granger Leadership Academy when the idea came about, Palmieri explained, reinforced that they could be empowered to make a difference.
I feel like the beauty of wizard rock specifically is that we are all in a position of being fans first and foremost, and there’s this interesting line between being a creator and being a fan, and wizard rock kind of branches that divide, which I think is really essential for this conversation in particular because it is us – the fans – having a problem with what the creator has done, and what more perfect medium than wizard rock?
From there, Palmieri, Schafer, and Matovina began to reach out to others in the wizard rock community, and they were able to find a wide range of genres and emotions. Submissions came through wizard rockers they knew who happened to be queer or trans as well as through submissions to a Google Form.
The choice of the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and Camp Lilac as organizations to support through the album’s proceeds was born out of a desire to amplify Black trans experiences, while Camp Lilac is an organization with which Palmieri and some of the other wizard rockers on the compilation album have previously worked.
It was very important for us from the beginning to support people of color with this work even though the majority of the people on the [compilation] are White. We tried really hard to get more people of color on the [compilation], but there'[re] a lot of layers as to why the Harry Potter fandom is pretty White, currently. That was definitely important to us.
When asked about their favorite trans, non-binary, and/or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) creators in the fandom, Palmieri enthused that everyone on the compilation is “amazing” but that they were especially excited about the work that Totally Knuts is doing. Meanwhile, they noted that Anna Dardick – who is making her debut as a wizard rocker on the compilation – “blew [their] mind” with “The Metamorphmagus Song.”
It was one of the last submissions we got and I’m so glad that we got it because it blew me away.
Will we be seeing more albums from the organizers of Transfiguration: A Wrock Comp for Trans Rights? Palmieri stated that, while nothing is set in stone, there have been questions about it already.
You can find out more about Transfiguration: A Wrock Comp for Trans Rights and purchase the album on Bandcamp.