Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Hogwarts Legacy isn’t just a game

The negative effects of the latest addition to the Harry Potter franchise are profound for the transgender community
Daily Collegian (2010)

The most recent stir in the video game industry that has caught the attention of gamers and non-gamers alike has been “Hogwarts Legacy,” the latest addition to the Harry Potter franchise. It has become massively popular, seeing 152 million hours of gameplay in the first two weeks since its release. There have been mixed reviews of the game itself, with some players claiming it to be a “brainless disappointment” while others say it is the Harry Potter role playing game many have always wanted. Yet this game is different from your standard RPG release because of the infamous creator of the Harry Potter franchise, J.K. Rowling.

Over the last couple of years, Rowling has unleashed a barrage of highly-publicized transphobic comments, outing herself as a TERF, or trans exclusionary radical feminist. In the past, Rowling has made transphobic statements on her Twitter account and has even promoted a shop that sells transphobic merchandise stating things like “trans women are men” and “f*** your pronouns.” Despite these blatant acts of hatred against the transgender community, Rowling can’t seem to stop profiting off the Harry Potter franchise; this game is no exception. Rowling reportedly earns anywhere from 50 to 100 million dollars a year on royalties, which she will be continuing to earn from this game as well.

Why is this a big deal? Some children’s author wants to be a bigot online; it sucks, but so does the internet, so what’s different about this? My answer to that revolves around Brianna Ghey. Brianna was a 16-year-old transgender girl who was stabbed to death by two of her classmates as she was walking home one night. Her classmates have been charged with murder and are awaiting trial. Rowling and others like her normalize transphobia online which leads to events like this one, where children murder other children in cold blood. Rowling directly contributed to the atmosphere that took the life of a young girl.

It doesn’t stop there. In Zach Leach’s article in the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, he describes two bills that seek to curtail the rights of transgender individuals in Tennessee and Florida. H.B. 1, which has passed in the Tennessee House and Senate, bans access to trans healthcare, like hormones, for minors. This bill viciously targets one of the most vulnerable parts of the community, 82 percent of which have considered committing suicide and 40 percent of which have attempted it, as stated in Leach’s piece. This bill has the potential to cause the suicide rate to skyrocket among transgender youth.

H.B. 991, proposed in Florida, would protect speakers when they make transphobic comments, as accusing them of being “anti-trans” would be considered defamation. People defending against transphobic hate speech and other forms of speech could be fined $35,000.

I mention these bills because, unfortunately, this is the current political atmosphere around transgender people and their rights. People are being killed because for being transgender while J.K. Rowling continues to publicize her hatred. Politicians and other public figures have blood on their hands because they continue to legalize it.

So no, “Hogwarts Legacy” isn’t “just a game.” It never was. It is a means through which someone contributing to the deaths of transgender people can make money. And as long as she thinks that whatever she says online will not affect her revenue stream, she will continue to do so.

Antinöe Kotsopoulos can be reached at [email protected].

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