Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



TransLash Media CEO Imara Jones reflects on JK Rowling and 'Hogwarts Legacy'
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 1683 times since Sat Mar 11, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The action role-playing game Hogwarts Legacy has been making big news lately—and it's not just because so many people are playing it.

Hogwarts Legacy, inspired by writer J.K. Rowling's wizarding world, features many new characters—including Sirona Ryan, a trans woman who runs the Three Broomsticks tavern.

However, controversies rose even from this bit of casting, from the facts that the transphobic Rowling is connected to the game and that some feel the name "Sirona" is a variation of "sir" and is insulting. (When directly asked about these developments, a Warner Bros. rep directed Windy City Times to an email interview with developer Avalanche Software, adding that the studio didn't "have further comment." That interview is at

Windy City Times recently talked with Imara Jones—CEO of TransLash Media, a nonprofit organization that supports trans/non-binary/intersex/two-spirit people through storytelling—about her organization, Hogwarts Legacy and Rowling.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Windy City Times: Tell me what TransLash is about.

Imara Jones: Well, I'm going to brag a little bit today, because I found out that my name and TransLash were in the New Yorker Magazine crossword puzzle.

WCT: Wow—congrats!

IJ: Thank you! I also got the NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists] Journalist of Distinction Award last year, and I'm the first trans person to get an award from that organization.

What is TransLash? TransLash is a journalism and non-fiction storytelling media organization that centers on the humanity of trans people. We believe that there's a lot of ignorance out there about us and our community. That harms our community, and allows those who wish to do us harm to do so. And the best way to deal with that is to tell our own stories accurately and in a compelling way. [It's also important to] reflect the diversity of trans people in our lives.

TransLash works through films, documentaries and animation. Last year, Trans Bodies, Trans Choices won awards; it was in 17 film festivals last year. We did two podcasts; our TransLash podcast has been nominated for a Webby and a GLAAD Award. Our investigative series, #AntiTransHateMachine, begins its second season on March 31. And we have a written platform called TransLash News & Narrative.

The reason we do so much is that so much needs to be done in terms of helping to shift the narrative about trans people. That's why I say that telling trans stories helps to save trans lives. We really believe there's a connection between accurate portrayals of who we are and our ability to live freely and be seen as human.

WCT: It's interesting with Hogwarts Legacy. Tell me why you think having a trans character is such an important development.

IJ: Well, it lets us have a really serious conversation about some very difficult things. What is the role of representation? What's the role of the relationship between a brand that many queer people [find] to be a life raft for them to what's embodied by JK Rowling? Is there a generational difference between millennials and Gen Z, for example?

The second thing is that it's hard because everyone has to make up their own mind about what's right for them about this; there are no easy choices. Are we going to deny someone who is trans and living in a rural area the ability to experience [this game] and play someone who they really are? Others might say "no" because JK Rowling is harmful. So there has to be some flexibility here.

I can't imagine that wasn't subversive on the part of the people who created the game, given JK Rowling's views. On the other hand, other people may say this doesn't resonate with them.

I think there's strength in both arguments, which is why the conversation is so intense.

WCT: What do you make of the controversy over the character's name?

IJ: I understand that and names can mean different things. We know that "Sirona" is the name of an ancient Celtic goddess who, I believe, had the ability to change forms—so that would make sense. But it can also be interpreted in a more modern way. I don't know why they chose the name, but I think it's more the Celtic goddess [connection] because a lot of research went into this.

WCT: If you had five minutes alone with JK Rowling, what would you say to her or ask her?

IJ: Oh, God!

She's heard it all before, but I'd ask her to explain to me how you can build an entire world based upon transformation—because that's what magic is—but can't see the same in reality with trans people. There's an internal contradiction there that I don't fundamentally understand.

I've heard her arguments and there's nothing new, interesting or particularly smart about any of them, so I don't care about that. And she comes across as an entitled wealthy person, so that's not interesting to me. What is interesting to me is her inability to transfer the world she constructed to the actual world we live in.

WCT: To me, it's [related] to the blowback that's been happening to Halle Bailey because she's playing The Little Mermaid. I don't understand why there can't be a Black mermaid.

IJ: With The Little Mermaid, it's not only that; it's fiction. And real talk: Mermaids have been a part of West African religious folklore for thousands of years, so the idea that mermaids can only be white is ridiculous. On top of that, in the world of Disney, it's fiction—so the mermaid can be anything.

And we're not [talking] necessarily about mermaids. We're talking about racism and the role of Black women in storytelling. I want to hear JK Rowling's answer so we can get a better sense of what her argument is really about. Whatever she's arguing, it literally doesn't make any sense.

Also, the nastiness she shows is ironic. In her books, she depicts victims of cruelty and one of the major hallmarks of Voldemort is that he's really snide—and that's what we get with JK Rowling. In many ways, she has become Voldemort; she's transformed herself into this dismissive, high-handed character.

WCT: Let's move from fantasy to reality. As you know, we have all these anti-trans measures that have been passed as well as many incidents of anti-trans violence. What's your advice to the next generation of trans people about being who they are?

IJ: It's hard for me because I don't think we can wait a generation. This has to be stopped now.

What I would say to young trans people is that we've been here before as a community, and the people who were here before us are still alive, such as [trans activist] Miss Major. You have to realize that the way to win is to keep being yourself—even in the midst of everything that's happening.

The legislation that's being passed has spread to trans adults and so it's really about all trans people. Children were the [starting] argument of a much larger push. All trans people are being impacted.

WCT: What's your take on being Black and trans in today's America?

IJ: Two things… On one hand, it's pretty amazing because there are so many [wonderful] Black trans people doing amazing things across countless areas, whether it's historical preservation, fitness, beauty, small business, technology or politics. I constantly meet new people who are doing fascinating and interesting things.

The second thing, though, is that there's a tremendous amount of violence—violence that's sanctioned through states through these laws and then you have these individuals. The United States is only behind Brazil and Mexico in the number of trans murders.

What that means is that there are many contradictions and extremes during this time. That's literally what TransLash stands for: transgender backlash. I think what's fascinating is that we encapsulate both of those realities through our content. It's like the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities: It's the best of times and it's the worst of times.

More information on TransLash Media is at .

This article shared 1683 times since Sat Mar 11, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

US Bishops' statement limits trans health care in Catholic health care facilities, DignityUSA responds
--From a DignityUSA press release - On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine released a policy statement on how Catholic medical institutions should treat transgender and nonbinary people. Entitled "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to ...

Gay News

Kentucky lawmakers pass anti-trans youth bill; governor plans to veto measure
In Kentucky, Republican lawmakers passed a bill that bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care, lets educators refuse to refer to trans students by their preferred pronouns and would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Black Adam,' Cyndi Lauper, Sondheim, Oscars, OutFest
Cultured Magazine recently profiled Quintessa Swindell—who became the first out, non-binary actor to play a lead superhero in the DC universe when they portrayed Cyclone in the 2022 movie Black Adam. Swindell grew up in Virginia ...

Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event
Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...

Gay News

Opera Preview: Life of gay World War II hero Alan Turing transformed into a world-premiere opera
It has taken a decade for The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing to grow from an idea into a full- fledged opera. Chicago Opera Theater stages the world premiere of composer Justine F. Chen and ...

Gay News

Arkansas governor signs anti-trans medical malpractice bill
Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that makes it easier to sue providers of gender-affirming care for children, ABC News reported. This move, involving a law that will take effect this ...

Gay News

Editorial: In praise of Drag Story Hour
Drag Story Hours have really come to the fore in our political consciousness in the last few years, as the radical right has strategically targeted events raising the visibility of individuals who are gender-nonconforming, transgender or ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Little Richard, Indigo Girls, Rodriguez's honor, dance film, Pedro Pascal
Video below - Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortes' Sundance opening-night documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything will debut in theaters and on VOD ...

Gay News

WORLD Zero Discrimination Day, African countries, facility damaged, travel items
On Zero Discrimination Day this year (March 1), under the theme "Save lives: Decriminalize," UNAIDS showed how the decriminalization of key populations and people living with HIV saves lives and helps advance the end of the ...

Gay News

Minn. governor signs order protecting gender-affirming healthcare
At a time when so many political officials seem to be backing anti-LGBTQ+ measures, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is doing just the opposite. On March 8, Walz signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ ...

Gay News

Study examines straight men and their sexual attraction to transgender women
--From a press release - An analysis of online Reddit conversations also revealed a paradox: the same men devalue both trans and cisgender women Some straight men said they sexually desire transgender women because of the women's supposed hyper-feminine traits. Brandon ...

Gay News

Non-binary Okla. state rep censured after incident; LGBTQ+ groups respond
On March 7, the Oklahoma House voted to censure (or publicly express strong disapproval of) Democratic non-binary state Rep. Mauree Turner for allegedly harboring a fugitive following a recent confrontation ...

Gay News

World's first transgender MP passes away at 65
On March 6, Georgina Beyer—a pioneering New Zealand politician who, in 1999, became the world's first openly transgender member of Parliament—passed away at the age of 65. Beyer's friends said she died peacefully in hospice care, ...

Gay News

WORLD Kenyan group, Alan Emtage, trans anchor, Hershey campaign
The Kenyan Supreme Court allowed an LGBTQI+-rights group to register as a non-governmental organization, The Washington Blade reported. Ten years ago, Eric Gitari, the former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ groups criticize Tenn. bill that bans access to medical care for trans youth
--From a press release - NASHVILLE — On March 2, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law HB1/SB1, a bill that prohibits transgender-related healthcare in Tennessee for people under the age of 18. The bill is set to take effect on ...


Copyright © 2023 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.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.