Our stance on Harry Potter

This page explains the position New Elementary takes on Harry Potter content, following the stance we took in 2020 regarding sustained views expressed by JK Rowling about transgender people. Many of those we found transphobic, hurtful, and useful to others who hold worse views. 

We are aware this is a highly complex and emotionally charged subject that challenges preconceptions, and many people struggle to understand the issues or to locate succinct information online. This page is not the place to provide that – rather, we are stating our position. We do encourage readers to find information themselves to become aware of JK Rowling’s statements, the responses, and the conversation surrounding this topic. A recommended starting point is Shaaba and Jamie's video breaking down her essay and detailing the issues with it.

We have written this page in a Q&A format to answer common questions we’ve received in the past. We have not opened comments on this page because experience has shown that some people will make comments that are inappropriate for children to read.

Why are you talking about this, given that children read New Elementary?

We spoke out because we believe in equality, and saw injustice. We support full rights for transgender people and members of the wider LGBTQ+ community who simply want to be allowed to exist in peace. We don’t like seeing minorities bullied. 

It is perfectly safe for children to be aware that transgender people exist. It is normal for transgender people to exist, indeed they always have. Transgender people exist. Society is reaching the point where this can be discussed and understood more widely, and part of this is that children are becoming aware that this is simply part of the myriad of humanity. 

Why are you talking about politics on a LEGO site?

This is about human rights and health, not politics. We're not promoting a political agenda to ‘convert’ people or make them transition. We do hope people (of any age) who question their gender are more likely to be able to encounter information and support, and less likely to encounter shame, guilt and discrimination. 

But what has this got to do with New Elementary, or LEGO?

We review Harry Potter sets (and have decided to keep doing so) which means there is the potential for readers to be influenced by us to purchase Harry Potter sets. It is probable that JK Rowling receives a cut of the profits of those sales. Tiny as those would be, this does still mean we bear a degree of responsibility.

It is worth noting that The LEGO Group also felt it necessary to make an official statement

So why is New Elementary continuing to review Harry Potter sets at all then? 

Ultimately we feel this comes back to the question “can you separate the artist from the art?” New Elementary reviews LEGO elements, and how they have been arranged by a LEGO designer to represent something from the movie adaptation of JK Rowling’s writing. While it does not mean we are fully removing the artist from the art, we feel this is several levels of abstraction away. 

How can transgender people feel safe visiting New Elementary given you continue to review Harry Potter sets?

In a world where many transgender people find little or no representation of their experience, we recognise how especially hurtful it is to many Harry Potter fans that JK Rowling has expressed these views – in such a sustained fashion – given the context of how inclusive and tolerant her books were on the whole. 

For those who do not wish to read LEGO Harry Potter reviews, or wish to be forewarned, we will place content warnings on all Harry Potter articles and future social media posts by placing the text CW:HP at the beginning. If we accidentally miss one please notify us and we will attempt to rectify it as soon as time permits. Important note: we may refer to Harry Potter sets in other articles, for example to mention that an element also appears in a Harry Potter set. These articles will NOT contain the content warning.

I consider myself an ally, but what can I do? 

Most importantly, take the time to listen non-judgmentally to the transgender people in your lives and communities, so you can better understand their experiences and understand how you can help them to feel safe and welcome. 

Many people who are now uncomfortable about purchasing Harry Potter merchandise are donating to transgender support charities, either instead of purchasing the merchandise or as an ‘offset’ to what they do spend. We can’t maintain a global list of suitable charities and would recommend you locate one in your own country. 

There are many resources for transgender people and their allies online, here are just a couple that may include information of help to you:

No comments: