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There’s a new Harry Potter game out next month and JK Rowling haters are furious (Update: Post readers respond)

The game is called Hogwarts Legacy after the magical castle where most of the action in the Harry Potter books takes place. It’s being released next month for PCs and also on the XBox and Playstation. But for nearly a year now, trans activists have been attacking the game and strongly suggesting that people should feel bad about buying it because of its connection to JK Rowling.

For instance, Gamespot published this “feature article” by a trans YouTuber named Jessie Earl last March. It’s several thousand words long and entirely one-sided from start to finish. Here’s a sample:

First and foremost, Rowling pointed toward the concept of “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD), which postulates that there has been a sudden influx in young girls suddenly identifying as transgender, seeing it as fashionable due to trans influencers on social media or in popular culture. This is a theory given scientific backing from a research study by controversial former Brown University assistant professor Lisa Litman. However, Litman’s research methods (such as only surveying parents from online forums already explicitly concerned with rapid onset gender dysphoria) were immediately questioned by fellow researchers upon publication. While ROGD has been credibly debunked in numerous studies after the fact, many prominent GCFs continually cite Litman’s work, such as in the 2020 book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier.

Has the idea that trans identification is trending been debunked? That depends who you ask. As it happens, progressive NY Times columnist Michelle Goldberg has a column out today which mentions this issue.

Last year, I interviewed Marci Bowers, president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, for a piece I never ended up writing about youth gender transition. A trans woman, Bowers is a surgeon and a gynecologist who has both delivered thousands of babies and performed thousands of vaginoplasties; one of her patients was the trans reality star Jazz Jennings. When we spoke, Bowers made an argument I think about often: that progressive taboos around discussing some of the thornier issues involved in treating young people with gender dysphoria, including the reality of detransition, are self-defeating. “We don’t look unified,” she said. “We look like we’re hiding something.”…

“There are people in my community who will deny that there’s any sort of ‘social contagion’ — I shouldn’t say social contagion, but at least peer influence on some of these decisions,” Bowers said of the growing number of trans kids. “I think that’s just not recognizing human behavior.”

Goldberg is very pro-trans rights which probably helps explain why she has been sitting on these quotes from Bowers for at least six months. In any case, it’s not the only time Bowers has said something like this. In other words, it wasn’t a mistake. She told Reuters last November that she was concerned about plastic surgeons advertising gender surgery on TikTok.

“It seems like they’re almost trying to recruit people based on really flashy videos that minimize the risks,” said Dr Marci Bowers, a transgender woman who is a gender surgeon and president of WPATH. “For those who are genuinely concerned that people are being swept in by this ‘social contagion,’ these kinds of videos are not helpful,” she said. “I wish we could police them, but I just don’t know of any good way to do that other than to appeal to good taste.”

Getting back to Harry Potter, one popular gaming forum announced this week that discussion of Hogwarts Legacy will not be allowed:

Discussion of Hogwarts Legacy has been banned from popular forum website ResetEra due to the controversy surrounding Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling…

“The mod team has decided to expand our prior ban on promotion for the Hogwarts game to include the game itself,” the statement read. “There will be no [off topic chat] and no discussion of this game.”…

“After continued internal discussion, we began to start outlining the issues put forth by Rowling and the game in question and each time, and as we discussed it all, we kept coming back to the simple fact that Rowling is not only a bigot but is actively pushing, in her position as a wealthy and famous individual, for legislation that will hurt trans people,” the statement said.

Yesterday the Washington Post published a story about the controversy over the new game which opens by focusing on Jessie Earl:

“Everyone’s going to have a complicated relationship to that conversation,” said Jessie Earl, a 30-year-old trans YouTuber and journalist who uses she/they pronouns.

Last month, Earl declared her own stance. “I will not begrudge anyone their love of past works or thing[s] they already own that they take comfort in,” she tweeted. “I own the first 9 movies and all 7 books myself. But any support of something like Hogwarts Legacy is harmful.”

I guess the Post missed that Jessie Earl declared her stance on the game nearly a year ago at Gamespot. In any case, JK Rowling responded to Earl’s tweet with some well-deserved mockery.

Both Earl and the Post seemed to miss the point of that tweet, calling it a nonsensical argument.

It’s a perfectly sensible argument. Rowling is saying that you can’t play this game halfway. If Hogwarts Legacy is tainted by association with her then the books and movies certainly are as well. Why won’t Jessie Earl renounce the books and pledge never to think of them again? Why draw the line at a video game that’s being released years later?

Anyway, my guess is this will have very little impact on sales of the game which is released next month. Trans activists have a lot of sway on Twitter and in the media but not so much in the real world where kids and adults who liked the books and movies will be buying the game.

Update: Well, it finally happened. The comments on a Washington Post piece are siding with Rowling and against cancel culture:

I am astonished that the Post is allowing comments on this piece.

I dare say that many boycott-Rowling people have never read what she actually wrote. I have, several times, and neither my wife or I disagree with what she actually said in her piece. And we have trans friends– of long standing. There is a knee jerk negative reaction to all things Hogwarts now, but we will not participate. And many of our friends who are as leftie as can be, thoughtful people, agree with us.

There are issues and questions about what you do with your Bill Cosby records, your Roald Dahl books, many other people’s works. But here the matter seems clear– Rowling is not now, nor has ever shown herself to be anti-trans. To say otherwise is to spin, and torture the meaning of what she said.

There are only a handful of comments but they’re all like this.

Should I stop reading books of anyone who does not agree with my personal views 100%? Stop watching movies, playing games etc… I don’t agree with everything Rowling said, but she is not advocating violence against people. Let’s boycott anything that does not align perfectly with your viewpoints. Ridiculous.

One more from someone who is getting tired of the demands for immediate and perfect compliance with all approved views from activists:

Like many liberals who have supported LBGTQ positions i find this one offensive.

JK Rowling is entitled to her own opinion. She supports the queer community, always has. The cancellation of her due to her stance that is not 100 percent in line with the trans activists position is where the community will start to lose supporters from its oldest allies.

The group think required permits no nuance. Many oldsters no longer see the world in the black and white view required.. the rainbow entails many shades as does humanity. Stop denigrating those who do not see your worldview exactly the same. Do not allow perfect to be the enemy of the good.

You be you and let others be them.

Seriously, I’ve never seen so many reasonable comments at the Post, not on any topic. What is happening?

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