Andrew Slack, of The Harry Potter Alliance, wrote a letter to his fellow heterosexuals, arguing in favor of equal rights for LGBTQIA people, specifically on the topic of same-sex marriage. In addition to being posted on the Tumblr blog of the Alliance, it was also posted on MuggleNet. The letter received much attention on both websites. I commented on the letter in the comments section on MuggleNet. (After that comment, myself and another person Medea37 got into an argument with two other people called Opinionated and Larissa.) The following is what I wrote, directly in response to the letter.
Thanks very much for writing this, Andrew. The messages of equality and love in the Harry Potter books are extremely important to me and are part of the reason why the books have remained important to me; it’s not just a fun story (though it is fun, of course) but it has meaning and ideas that are relevant to my life. When the characters face bullying and discrimination and threats, that’s similar to what goes on in the real world. Of course, the analogies are not exact and there can be some instances where the comparison is odd, but overall, I think it’s really meaningful and is a story we can learn a lot from.
Given that these messages in the books are so important to me, I can’t believe it when people claim that posts supporting LGBTQIA people are “politicizing” Harry Potter. To me, reading HP and then complaining about people using the story to support equal rights suggests the person kind of missed the point of the books. I’ve gotten really, really tired of the fact that discussions about equality (including right here in the comments section of this post) get turned into discussions reassuring the people who are against homosexuality that we’re not being unfair to them. Look, this is a human rights issue. People criticizing those who disapprove of homosexuality are in the right. We’re upset that you disapprove of homosexuality for the same reason Sirius Black was angry at his parents; they didn’t join the Death Eaters and go do horrible things to Muggles themselves, but in general thought that the disapproval of Muggles and Muggle-borns was correct. Disagreeing with discrimination isn’t discrimination.
Meanwhile, on Tumblr, I had reblogged the letter after seeing it. Later, I reblogged it again, in order to respond to comments by jonesinforjosie. I also posted my comment as its own post. Below is what I wrote.
I have to disagree a little with the comment by jonesinforjosie. I think it depends on how the person wrote it and the details of the comparison they made. I wouldn’t compare not allowing marriage equality to slavery, but I would compare allowing marriage regardless of gender to allowing inter-racial marriage. And I think it’s appropriate to point out other similarities between discrimination based on race and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, such as these groups facing violent hate crime. A person should not say that racism is over (because it’s not) but I think it’s fair to point out that, in the specific area of a type of marriage being legal, inter-racial marriage became legal in the US earlier, and that’s an example of the idea that we shouldn’t allow prejudice to limit marriage. There are still people who are against inter-racial marriage, of course, but I think it’s fair to make a comparison to say we should legalize marriage regardless of gender as we legalized inter-racial marriage.
To me, learning about and believing in equal rights regardless of race and gender gave me a foundation that made it easier to accept that I’m gay. Personally, being female, gay, and a racial minority in the US … If someone discriminates against me for any of these three reasons, I’m still going to be upset about it. It’s not going to be better or less wrong if it’s based on me being gay vs. being a racial minority.
Plus, one of the reasons I think that the comparison can be not only correct but useful is that the people on the other side, when arguing against LGBTQIA people, imply (or outright state) that racism and sexism is “real” discrimination, while discrimination against LGBTQIA people is just “disagreeing with homosexuality” or “wanting things to say as they were created and intended”. (I encountered these phrases, among many other places, in the comments section of Andrew Slack’s post —- the same as this one —- on MuggleNet. The people I was arguing with mostly ignored the comparisons between racial discrimination and discrimination against LGBTQIA people, but they did take the stance that they were just “disagreeing”.)
To me, it’s important to say, “Look, even if you’re okay with me being a racial minority and being female, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to think homosexuality is wrong.” And likewise, to make similar statements when people discriminate based on either gender or race, but not for other reasons.
 The website of The Harry Potter Alliance can be found at http://thehpalliance.org.
 Slack Andrew. A Letter To My Fellow Heterosexuals”. Posted on 27 March 2013 at the Tumblr of The Harry Potter Alliance. Retrieved on 6 April 2013 from thehpalliance.tumblr.com/post/46479823091/andrew-slack-a-letter-to-my-fellow-heterosexuals.
 My initial reblog of Andrew Slack’s letter can be found at http://hermionesbookshelf.tumblr.com/post/46592224215/reblog-andrew-slack-to-fellow-heterosexuals.
 My second reblog of Andrew Slack’s letter, where the comments to which I was responding can also be read (in addition to my own comment), can be found at http://hermionesbookshelf.tumblr.com/post/46809140857/reblog-comparing-race-and-lgbt.
 I posted my comment in its own post at http://hermionesbookshelf.tumblr.com/post/46810775193/comparing-race-and-lgbt.