The Harry Potter fandom has been going strong for more than 20 years, and we are so proud to have been there alongside so many, celebrating, learning, and growing together.
As this fandom enters its third decade, J.K. Rowling has chosen this time to loudly pronounce harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person. In addition to the distaste we feel for her choice to publish these statements during Pride Month—as well as during a global reckoning on racial injustice—we find the use of her influence and privilege to target marginalized people to be out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books and celebrated by the Harry Potter community.
Although it is difficult to speak out against someone whose work we have so long admired, it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused. Our stance is firm: Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary. We stand with Harry Potter fans in these communities, and while we don’t condone the mistreatment JKR has received for airing her opinions about transgender people, we must reject her beliefs.
We have seen countless people use the Potter books and fan fiction to explore their own identities while spreading love and acceptance. We know that this is still possible, and we know that we want to continue to be part of that movement. We are committed to doing better work in our community to uplift and center the people who have been marginalized and create positive change from within our fandom platforms.
This marks the beginning of a renewed commitment to serving the Harry Potter community from a more conscious standpoint than we have done in the past. We will update this page as we develop efforts to elevate and fundraise for a wider array of fans.
If you are a trans person seeking support, we urge you to do so by calling Trans Lifeline’s peer support hotline.
MuggleNet’s one and only concern is to create a safe community where all feel welcome. This means continuing to be comprehensive in our coverage while making changes to ensure that this content is accessible to those who want to interact with it and not forced upon those who do not.
We will no longer be covering aspects of J.K. Rowling’s personal life (e.g., awards won, life achievements, tweets that are unrelated to the Wizarding World, charitable donations, legal issues, political commentary, or opinions), and as of January 18, 2021, we will no longer provide news coverage of J.K. Rowling’s works set outside of the wizarding world (e.g., the Cormoran Strike series, The Ickabog), although we will continue to cover her charitable foundation, Lumos. As of February 22, 2021, we will no longer publish editorials, features, listicles, reviews, and literary analysis of J.K. Rowling’s works set outside of the Wizarding World unless related to works set within the Wizarding World.
To create an inclusive space not only for our readers but also for our staff, no MuggleNet volunteer will be expected or encouraged to work with any content they are not comfortable working with.
Furthermore, after consulting with our volunteers across all teams, we have enacted the following policies in how we will present our continuing coverage, to take effect immediately:
These policies apply to editorials, features, listicles, news articles, and all other posts:
We will no longer…
- include purchase links for J.K. Rowling’s works set outside of the wizarding world.
- link to J.K. Rowling’s website.
- use any featured images with J.K. Rowling’s likeness.
- use J.K. Rowling’s name in the excerpt.
We will avoid using J.K. Rowling’s name in the title as often as possible.
These policies apply to pages and how they are presented in the navigation menu:
- Existing purchase links have been removed.
- The J.K. Rowling category and its subcategories (Cormoran Strike Series, The Casual Vacancy) have been hidden from the post feed that appears on the home page of the site.
- The “J.K. Rowling” menu has been moved from our main navigation menu to under the “Muggle World” heading so that it does not appear when viewing our site but readers can still seek out the information.
- On January 18, 2021, we decided to reduce the size of the “J.K. Rowling” section overall, and on February 22, we decided how to do so, including condensing our pages covering J.K. Rowling’s works set outside of the wizarding world into a single page.
These policies apply to our social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube:
We will no longer post or share…
- purchase links for J.K. Rowling’s works set outside of the wizarding world.
- links to J.K. Rowling’s website.
- fan art, memes, photos, or other images with J.K. Rowling’s likeness.
- quotes from J.K. Rowling about subjects that are unrelated to the Wizarding World.
- content related to her works set outside of the wizarding world.
- As of January 18, 2021, editorials, features, listicles, reviews, and literary analysis of J.K. Rowling’s works set outside of the wizarding world will no longer be shared to our Facebook or Instagram.
- All tweets sent upon publication of editorials, features, listicles, reviews, or literary analysis related to J.K. Rowling or her works set outside of the wizarding world will have the hashtag #JKR. Twitter users can easily mute this hashtag so that these posts will not appear on their feeds.
MuggleNet runs an affiliate program that was first established in the mid-2000s and has been active periodically since then. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we revived the program to help financially support our volunteers, many of whom had lost all or a percentage of their income. Around the same time, the author of the Harry Potter series loudly pronounced harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person. At that time, the team members involved discussed the situation and decided to move forward with the program since it was serving a purpose by helping keep our volunteers afloat during a global crisis.
We have assessed the program on a regular basis ever since, and our continued priority is to ensure the well-being of our volunteers. As of 2022, affiliate revenue is earned via the promotion of both licensed and unlicensed merchandise via Amazon and other online sellers. While our volunteers by and large approve of the program, participation is ultimately voluntary, and participants must be senior members of MuggleNet staff. Until the need for the affiliate program no longer exists or we are able to transition to an organization that can provide a living wage, we will continue to operate and periodically reevaluate the program.
Historically, MuggleNet has done few paid advertising campaigns but began to pursue more upon becoming an independent brand. As of 2022, no more than 20% of MuggleNet’s income comes from advertising campaigns, including the promotion of merchandise, experiences, etc., as commissioned by licensed and unlicensed brands. All campaigns are overseen by the Marketing Director and partially executed by our Marketing Coordinator, both of whom benefit monetarily via commission. These partnerships also create additional opportunities for individual staff members to earn commissions through content creation.
MuggleNet recognizes that the cultural and sociopolitical impacts of the author’s stance are not going to be shifted by the decision to promote or purchase licensed merchandise alone. There are many ways to create positive change. We have chosen to try to offset harm by working within the fandom to uplift and center those who have been marginalized.
The discussions around these issues are nuanced and bigger than any one person or entity. Here are some resources and articles that you might find valuable:
- “What does transgender mean and what does the law say?” (BBC)
- “Transgender FAQ” (GLAAD)
- “‘Harry Potter’ Helped Me Come Out as Trans, But J.K. Rowling Disappointed Me” by Jackson Bird (New York Times)
We are always striving to do what is best for our community, so these policies may change over time based on the feedback of our staff and readers. If you would like to leave any feedback on these policies, please use the contact form below.
While our commitment to the community at this time is largely focused on inclusivity following J.K. Rowling’s statements, we also want to acknowledge the domestic violence she faced that clearly continues to inflict trauma on her to this day. It is our immutable stance that domestic abuse is not acceptable in any relationship, regardless of gender, wealth, or status. If you or someone you know is in such a situation, we urge you to seek help by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline.