Philadelphia Reflects and Reconnects – A very different Harry Potter Brunch
Featured art by NavyPon – https://navy-pon.tumblr.com/post/621117683356844032/the-harry-potter-crew-says-trans-rights-trans
2020 marks the 5th year of GGB Philly, and every year our September brunch is Harry Potter themed. This year, we decided to continue with the tradition, with a bit of a twist. Due to the repeated transphobic attacks from author JK Rowling, many GGB members within the Potter fandom are currently struggling with their fandom identity. We set aside the first 30 minutes of our virtual brunch to give members the chance to come together to talk about how they have been impacted by JK Rowling’s statements, and discuss their ideas for continuing (or not) within the fandom.
We made sure that any member attending knew that the first portion of brunch would be dedicated to discussing Rowling’s remarks, and that any sentiments that echoed her blatant transphobia would not be tolerated. Geek Girl Brunch has always been, and will continue to be, a safe space for anyone who identifies as a geek girl. Full stop. Transphobic speech and ideas will never be welcome within our community.
We didn’t take any pictures at brunch (mostly because we forgot) but we did have a very frank and fruitful discussion. Some people are distancing themselves from the fandom all together, while others are choosing not to contribute any money to ventures that benefit JK Rowling monetarily. Brunchettes asked each other for guidance on how to handle the disappointment and anger, and for tips on how to distance themselves from JK Rowling while still being able to take joy in a work that was such a formative part of their lives. Harry Potter has helped a lot of people find community, friends, hope, love, and solace through difficult times. Having to then reconcile that with the hateful statements being made by the author can be a daunting task. The Brunchettes of Philadelphia supported each other, offered ideas on how to embrace the fans and the fandoms without the creator, and talked with each other about other problematic creators of beloved work, and how to navigate complicated feelings.
As a chapter we decided that we would no longer be monetarily supporting any of JK Rowling’s ventures, and will be looking at alternative theme ideas for next September to be more inclusive of those who are removing themselves from the Harry Potter fandom. ‘Witches and Wizards’ and ‘Wizarding Schools throughout Fiction’ were some ideas that were tossed out for how to keep the yearly brunch tradition alive for those who look forward to it while being inclusive of those who don’t feel like they can engage with Harry Potter anymore.
We are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of Geek Girls in Philadelphia, and we can’t wait to be able to see each other in person again.