Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BABY BOOM
Harry Potter and the Secret of the Invisible Labrys
2000-02-09

This article shared 749 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


by Laurie Essig

I am depressed. I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. All day long I drag and mope, waiting for evening to come, waiting for that magical moment when the kids are asleep, the work is done, and I can climb into my warm, comfortable bed. But when that time comes, I am even more distressed. I look at my empty bedside table and my lips begin to tremble. Tears form in my eyes. My life seems empty and without meaning now that I've finished reading the third Harry Potter book.

For those of you not familiar with the literary craze that is sweeping the entire English-speaking world, Harry Potter is a character in a series of children's books written by A.K. Rowlings. The books follow along in the line of all great children's literature by creating an entire world filled with fascinating creatures all of whom are invisible to ordinary folk, which is to say, parents. Rowlings' universe is peopled with magical folk, witches and wizards and rare and wondrous creatures. Most of the action takes place in a British boarding school, where the hero, young Harry Potter, must learn to survive mean teachers, loads of homework, schoolyard bullies, and various forms of evil incarnate. Potter, who is training to be a wizard, does all of this without ever seeming like anything but a normal, slightly awkward, young boy.

So far, there is nothing unusual about Rowlings books except the fact that they are unusually well written and plotted. And yet, there they are, proudly displayed in the queer bookstore for all to see. For you see, the deep dark truth about these tales of wizardry and childhood challenges is not that they are Satanic ( a claim being made by some fundamentalist Christians to explain their popularity ) . The truth about Harry Potter is that they are queer. The books are queer in the sense that they speak to that incredible feeling of otherness that many of us queers feel, or at least felt when we were children. Potter and his band are forced to deal with the "muggle" world, the world in which no one is magical, but they also exist in their own world which is far more interesting and exciting than anything the muggles have to offer.

Certainly many of us felt the same rush of excitement on coming out as Harry Potter did when figuring out that he was not the same as his ridiculously ordinary family. The world of urban queerness we entered, with its magical nights and knowing looks and secret codes of dress and speech is not that different than the magical school Potter attends right under the noses of the muggles. The muggles refuse to acknowledge magic and the straight world does not see the queer universes in its midst. When Potter's family finds out he is magical, they literally lock him in the closet. Then they forbid him from telling anyone else about his "alternative lifestyle" or in any way outwardly manifesting it.

And yet Potter just can't keep his magic inside, especially in the face of muggle cruelty. So the secret is let out, his aunt literally blows up, and his family throws him out onto the street. But back in his secret world, Potter is not necessarily any safer. The wizards are just as bigoted and just as cruel as the muggles and a hell of a lot more powerful. This too is not unlike our queer universes. We are faced with queers who allow us to be queer, but spew the same hatred about race and class and religion and gender as heterosexual muggles. Still, there is something incredibly comforting about being with our own kind, about not having to hide parts of our lives from others, about not having to be pushed into a closet by our families. Freed from the muggle world, Potter is able to be appreciated for who he is and expand the definition of who he is to include words like powerful, successful, and loved. Queers, too, have found fulfilling lives outside of the confines of their families' closets. And so, having to face evil in the face of Lord Voldemort or AIDS seems like a small price to pay for escaping from the world of muggles and heterosexuals.

This is all, of course, a very particular reading of the Potter books. After all, I have no idea whether it was the author's intent to write stories that spoke so clearly to queers. I know that Rowlings is a "single mother," but I don't know whether that's muggle doublespeak for "lesbian mother." But it doesn't really matter whether she is. The texts she authored are queer and tell of queer empowerment in the face of family closets. Whatever her intention, that is the way I and many other queers read them. The meaning of the Potter texts, like most books then, is found in the relationship of them to their readers, not in the author's intent. And so, Potter has found the secret labrys and Rowlings has spun a story of queer liberation, a story so powerful that even grown ups such as myself are caught in the magic. And the only thing that helps me feel better about having finished reading Harry Potter is the realization that I'll get to reread them with my own children. I hope that by the time my daughters are old enough to enjoy them, they won't think me too much of a muggle to share in the fun.

Essig20@aol.com


This article shared 749 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson on new book, 'Our Fair Share' 2021-09-22
- In Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson's new book, Our Fair Share: How One Small Change Can Create a More Equitable American Economy, he posits that receiving a Citizen Dividend will help all U.S. residents achieve ...


Gay News

BOOKS 'Mission Possible' released before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' anniversary 2021-09-20
- C. Dixon Osburn, co-founder and former CEO of the Servicmembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), has written Mission Possible: The Story of the Repealing 'Don't Ask Don't Tell. This is the inside story of SLDN, which was ...


Gay News

Women & Children First hosting virtual event with Anita Hill on Sept. 29 2021-09-11
- Anita Hill—the University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's and Gender Studies at Brandeis University who played a major role in the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas—will be part ...


Gay News

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame announces 2021 class of new inductees 2021-08-18
--From a press release - Chicago, August 17, 2021 — The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame (CLHOF) announced that its 2021 Class of Inductees will include Frank London Brown, Jeanette Howard Foster, Carlos Cortez, and Gene Wolfe. The inductees will be ...


Gay News

Chicago-area author releases book about gay, autistic African-American 2021-08-18
- PenPower Book Marketing Services and Chicago-area author Jaire Sims have released his debut young adult novel, Getting By, which was named a finalist in the African American (Fiction) category in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book ...


Gay News

Printers Row Lit Fest returns to Chicago Sept. 11-12 2021-08-12
--From a press release - CHICAGO (August 12, 2021) Printers Row Lit Fest, the largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest, returns for its 36th year with 100% free programming for book lovers the weekend after Labor Day, Saturday, Sept. ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Rent 2021-08-10
- Playwright: book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson At: Possibilities Theatre Company at NorthCenter Town Square, 4100 N. Damen Ave. Tickets: suggested donation $20; https://www.eventcombo.com/e/rent-43212 or ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois' new deputy director talks goals, position and books 2021-08-01
- On July 15, Mony Ruiz-Velasco officially started in the new position of Equality Illinois' deputy director. Ruiz-Velasco is an experienced attorney who has worked for immigrants rights for many years, and has even been the legal ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart comedy benefit Sept. 18 2021-07-31
- Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, 6500 N. Clark St.. will host a comedy benefit, "Stacks of Laughter," on Saturday, Sept. 18. At 6 p.m., there will be a VIP reception with local historian John D'Emilio. Also, a ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Amazon, condo collapse, T-shirt controversy, GLSEN 2021-07-18
- At least two Amazon employees have resigned in recent weeks to protest the company's decision to continue to sell a book they say frames young people who identify as transgender as mentally ill, NBC News reported. ...


Gay News

BOOKS Author, activist Roy Wesley on his new book about his father 2021-07-12
- Gay Chicago author, activist and Fermalogic, Inc. COO Roy Wesley has written a new book about his father—Invisible Vision: The hidden story of Dr. Newton K. Wesley, American contact-lens pioneer. Windy City Times: What made you ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Pray Away,' film contest, LGBTQ book, musicians, 'Star Trek' 2021-07-11
- The new Netflix Original Documentary Pray Away, from executive producers Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum, will make its global launch on the platform Aug. 3, a press release noted. In the film, former leaders of the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes on TV, trans jazz musician, book award, 'Red Table Talk' 2021-06-27
- Wanda Sykes has been tapped for a recurring role in the upcoming fifth season of Robert and Michelle King's legal drama The Good Fight, on Paramount+, Deadline noted. She will play Allegra Durado—a brilliant, strategic attorney ...


Gay News

BOOKS Grandma, Grace Jones are heroes in non-binary author's children's book 2021-06-22
- Non-binary author, alternative hip hop artist, mother and activist Ris iRAWniQ Anderson has published the children's book in Charlie's Best Work Yet. Charlie's Best Work Yet tells the semi-autobiographical story of Charlie—a shy, artistic ...


Gay News

New book: Majority Leader Hoyer unsung hero of Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal 2021-06-22
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — In a new book, LGBTQ Lobbying in the United States, authored by Dr. Christopher Pepin-Neff, LGBTQ researcher and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Sydney and first lobbyist for Don't ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.