With everything happening in the world, it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a hard year for everyone. No matter who you are or what you do in your life, 2020 has surely beaten your emotional stability harder than the Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor fight from 2017.
One specific community, however, has had to deal with a lot this year, specifically regarding human rights. This community, being no other than the transgender community, continues to deal with significant discrimination this year, partially as a result of beloved author JK Rowling making harsh comments about their sexual identities. Rowling sent out a statement on her blog in June explaining that she did not think transgender people should be in the same-sex areas as a biologically cisgender person would be in. Rowling’s comments sparked mass controversy with the transgender community, as multiple people proceeded to call her out for her insensitive comments.
Rowling’s comments also brought up issues that have been going on in the transgender community for a long time. GCHS English teacher Elizabeth Ryan, the club sponsor of SAGE (Students Advocating for Gender Equality), said that, “As a Harry Potter fan, I was very disappointed when she released her letter… I think it’s really heartbreaking for the Harry Potter fandom because so many people in the LGBT community have… seen the Harry Potter books and [the] Harry Potter fan base as sort of a safe haven for them.”
The issue of trans rights is very commonly politicized as a means of getting political parties to believe or buy in to certain ideas or methodologies. Ryan explains that, “[Trans rights are] obviously a contentious issue between the two sides of the political spectrum, and so the rhetoric that’s in the news, often is… very divisive, but I think that it’s… kind of a human issue, [and] it shouldn’t be politicized so much.”
Even though there still is a lot of hate over the trans community, some are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Jackson Galiano ‘21, a trans student at Grayslake Central, said that he “[hasn’t] really encountered that issue as much lately and [when it comes to] the people that I do encounter who have those kinds of views, it’s not really an issue, because they’re… more focused on being upset, then actually engaging with the population that they aren’t happy with,” Galiano explained.
Even though the effects of Rowling’s comments may have seemingly obliterated her career, her belief that so many people used to share is now starting to die out, and sooner or later prejudice against sexual identity will be a thing of the past. Even now people are speaking out against the injustice and deplorable comments she made, people are standing up for the rights of others, and it is a beautiful form of activism that is spreading around the world, one that will hopefully resolve the issues sooner than later.