The short answer is YES. The long answer is the rest of this blog post….
When I became a celebrant I created a mental list of fandom specific ceremonies I’d love to do: Harry Potter is on that list! It was a big part of my childhood and teenage years. I loved the books and the stories they told about love and standing up for what’s important. I have many great memories from watching the films with friends, cosplaying from it, and visiting the Wizarding World in Florida with my mum.
I would love to do Potter themed and inspired wedding ceremonies in the future, but I feel I cannot do so with a clear conscious without addressing recent comments made by JK Rowling. If you haven’t seen them already, she belittled an article about people who menstruate, implying that the term “women” could have been used instead and further pushed that by being gender inclusive we, as a society, are erasing female experiences (which we’re not). “People who menstruate” is inclusive to trans men, non-binary and intersex folk, so it is insulting to them. Using “women” instead of this phrase implies cis women, who may not menstruate due to age or health issues, are also not ‘truly’ women, so it is insulting to them too.
To make such transphobic comments (alongside others she’s made in the past) and being dismissive of cis women who may not menstruate for a wide variety of reasons is bad enough in and of itself. To then also make said comments during the current human rights movement instead of using her large platform to support Black Lives Matter, and during June of all months when the LGBTQ+ community would usually be out celebrating Pride, is really something.
Hopefully it goes without saying that I do not agree with what she has said and implied, and that all trans folk are welcome here on my website and on my social media platforms in the spaces I curate. I hope that the ceremonies I offer are inclusive of all couples, whether they’re between straight cis couples, lesbian and gay couples, couples inclusive of trans folk, couples where one or both are non-binary… you get the idea. I also offer renaming and identity ceremonies and try to be the best ally I can by offering a safe ceremony space in which someone can celebrate who they truly are in a way that best reflects them.
Death of the author is a wonderful concept to separate the creators from the work they have made. I think whilst it can’t solely be used here as there are parts of Harry Potter (such as issues with Goblins, House Elves, and that one Irish character associated with explosives) it is still possible to enjoy the rest of the world and the stories in it, regardless of how JK Rowling says it should be interpreted and of her stances and opinions on important, real world matters.
JK’s comments may have tainted your view of the stories and the world of Harry Potter enough that you no longer wish to use such a world as inspiration for a ceremony. But, in the words of Daniel Radcliffe in his statement on The Trevor Project website, “if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.” And so I will continue to enjoy Harry Potter, his world and the stories for what it has given me in the past, the friends and memories I have made, and hope that in the future I can help make many a magical wedding dream come true whilst still being able to acknowledge and critically view the author and her works.
Long story short: I would still love to be a part of a Harry Potter themed wedding! I welcome couples to come and chat with me about magical ceremonies involving wands, handfastings with Hogwarts scarves, and jumping of Nimbus 2000s, but know that I stand by our trans brothers, sisters and siblings, no matter what.
June is Pride Month, and we're still fighting for human rights with Black Lives Matter, so:
If you wish to show your support to organisations across the UK that are specifically set up to help Black and POC queer, trans and non-binary youth please consider donating to the Exist Loudly Fund.
This fund has been set up by Tanya Compass, a youth worker and community organiser, to create a space for young queer black people to experience joy, community, and a place to explore their identity safely. It has been so successful that she has created the QTIBPOC Youth Collective Fund, and the money raised in her current gofundme will be split with five other organisations alongside Exist Loudly: Colours Youth Network, Gendered Intelligence, Rainbow Noir, Unmuted Brum and Kamp Kiki/Humblebee Creative.
Some of the wands in the photo were handmade and custom designed by Arcturus Wand Makers, so if you wish to have your own personalised and special wand check them out (I have two of their wands and cannot recommend them enough!).