Dear Harry Potter, We Are Lesbians And We Love You

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 premieres this week and obviously a select group of us have some feelings we’d like to share. A lot of feelings. It’s no secret that lesbians have a special place in their heart for Harry Potter — well, arguably, everyone has a special place in their heart for Harry Potter, but we think ours is specialer. This is an ode. This is our Greatest Opus of Life, possibly.

Senior Editor Rachel K

I did in fact grow up with Harry Potter – I mean, I think I was ten when I read the first book, but I grew up with him in the way that you say you grow up with childhood friends, and what you really mean is I can’t remember a time before I knew them. I can’t remember the world without them in it. I can remember the first time I knew about Harry Potter – my mom gave me a book over the summer and told me that it was “very popular in the UK.” In retrospect, it may actually have been a copy of The Philosopher’s Stone as opposed to the US title, which makes me feel very cool looking back, very hip and with it and up on my imported pop culture. Anyways, I read this and thought it was pretty great. Then I went to the first day of school in September and found out that EVERYONE ELSE DID TOO.

This was a little scary/annoying; as a general rule I hate liking things that other people also like. But it was also kind of amazing. I’d never been cool. I’m still not cool. I don’t do cool things; I read and type and lay on my floor and I spent the years that other high school kids were blacking out in their parents’ basements looking up Ani lyrics obsessively. But this time – this one time – something I liked was cool. A book was cool.

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I wasn’t good at Pokemon cards, Pogs, obsessing over male celebrities, or trying to convince my parents to buy me expensive shit, so I’d kind of given up on trying to relate to any of the other kids or find common interests. But all of the sudden we had one – and it wasn’t something I had gamely tried to foster an interest in, it was a BOOK. It felt like I had won something, some small social victory that, had I known how rarely it would ever reoccur, I would have savored even more than I did.

I was a painfully uncool little girl who would spend all of the next few years straightening her hair, caking on makeup, and reading Seventeen in a sad effort to be something, anything else. But for a little while there, we were all talking excitedly about when the next book would be released and whether our parents would let us stay up all night to read it. It was like we lived in a world that made sense to me, where the things I did and loved made sense to other people. It was pretty beautiful.

That feeling didn’t last, but it still comes back sometimes even now. When you see Emma Watson interviewed for an international magazine wearing Miu Miu and Burberry and reflect on the fact that she’s world-famous for playing a nerdy, overachieving teacher’s pet with frizzy hair FROM A BOOK? That’s a good feeling, at least for this nerdy overachieving teacher’s pet with frizzy hair. That’s actually really fucking amazing. That’s not something I ever could have imagined happening in our world. The fact that it did, I think, might honestly be magic.

Julia (MISS FEBRUARY):

I was 12 when my grandmother gave me a copy of the new hit book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I didn’t expect to like it because everyone liked it and how could I ever relate to something enjoyed by the masses? But I read it to appease my grandmother.

I read the entire book in one night.

I wanted to go to Hogwarts: to frolic through the grounds, honing my magic skills with a bunch of other children who didn’t fit into the normal world. I wanted so badly to belong somewhere and this book made me feel like I did. I’d dream that maybe in the US, the wizarding age was 13 and I’d get my invitation on my birthday.

At sleepovers, I’d suggest playing Harry Potter games which involved “sneaking around the dark house pretending we’re creeping through the halls of Hogwarts on a secret wizarding mission to defeat evil.” Eventually people stopped inviting me to their sleepovers.

I didn’t get my invitation to wizarding school, but normal school gave me the tools to overanalyze my affection for these books.

In Harry Potter, the underdog thrives. Harry starts as a nobody forced to sleep under the stairs and ends up admired and adored within his special community. It was like those stories where you find out you’re adopted by your parents and are actually a Princess! I wanted to be adopted and admired because middle school felt like living in a closet under the stairs.

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Furthermore, Harry’s friends are also misfits and are essential to his success. Hermione, the smartest person in Harry’s year / the world, faces double discrimination as a female and a muggleborn but despite this, she’s a rock star within the Hogwarts world.

These are the female role models I needed. Hermione is hailed for her brain, not her attractiveness to boys. Ginny is fiesty and confident and never sits back while others fight the battles. Also in Hogwarts, sports are co-ed and everyone is judged based on their ability, not their gender.

Harry Potter is a scrawny kid with glasses who, along with his friends, fight for good, form bonds, study and do awesome magic. In Harry Potter, society’s misfits are glorified and encouraged to embrace the skills they’ve been given. Harry Potter is good for everybody and was especially good for twelve-year-old me.
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Next: Rachel B & Emily share their Harry Potter experiences, plus tips for how to survive sans-Harry in 2012.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books as well as news and politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel currently lives in Michigan. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

Rachel has written 736 articles for us.

131 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    Lesbians love Harry Potter because Harry was alone and different and he had feelings and powers he was hardly aware of and he didn’t understand. He was estranged from the only family he had, they despised him because of something he was born to be.
    And then he discovers the world of Hogwarts, where there are people like him, who understand his feelings and love and accept him. He is important.

    For me that is exactly what coming out was about. I found a world where I belong.

    Also Ginny is totes hot.

  2. Thumb up 1

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    I reread Harry Potter every year. I just finished the seventh book for the fourth time. The first time I finished it, I carried around with me for a week like a security blanket. Seriously, Harry Potter owns my heart. I don’t get to see The Deathly Hallows until my girlfriend finishes rewatching the first six movies. Marathon on Friday night yo.

    My internet bff is seeing Harry Potter in Orlando and then going to Harry Potterland. Obviously I hate him forevs now.

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    I hope if she writes another book she writes James and Lily’s story and not another Harry story. Like how they ended up together when james seemed so awful all the time. And about the original order of the phoenix.

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    I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was 9 and thought the first two pages were boring so I put it down. Bad decision. I caught up in 7th grade though. It’s never too late you guys.

    (but I still liked His Dark Materials better.)

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    this is the final proof that my childhood is over and I feel like my stomach is about to fall out of my butt. I’m tearing up over a book. :/ thanks you guys

  6. Thumb up 0

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    Okay, a moment of confession. I stopped at the fourth book. I bought it… then didn’t read it. It was huge. I couldn’t wrap my mind about it.

    I know, I know. Off with my head!

    However, thanks to this post, I hereby solemnly swear to read the books over the holiday break. I promise!

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      I did this with the fifth book for a long time. I started it but it was 200 pages before they got to Hogwarts and I just couldn’t get through it. But I recently picked it up again and read the rest of the series and it’s SOOO GOOOD. I would highly recommend just finishing them already because they’re amazing.

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    As much as I love the books and the general phenomenon, I can’t help but see the films as a terrific letdown ever since seeing the third one, and have therefore boycotted going to see them at the cinema since. So the new movie doesn’t count as ‘new’ harry potter for me. I also find it amazing and awesome that Emma Watson is now a super megastar, and I hope she continues her modeling career. hi, yes I’m a cynic.

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      The films always kinda annoyed me (especially with what they chose to include/exclude), but the moment when they finally completely lost me was in the fourth movie, when Voldemort was finally revealed… as Death from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Who then did a tripping-over-my-cloak-fight-dance. Voldemort was always so terrifying in my head, and that ruined it for me.

      Now it’s just become a tradition with one of my friends to see them, and spend the entire time turning every line into innuendo. “POTTER! … Touch my wand.”

  8. Thumb up 0

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    There was a question in an English test in my first year of uni that said: “Write about something that changed your life”, I wrote about the Harry Potter books. Don’t get me started, srly
    (this post gave me feelings)

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    Harry Potter is a big fat sack of feelings for me. I’ve read them all so many times it’s actually stupid. When Dobby died, it was the first time I ever cried over fiction. No, wait, the first time was Pokemon…
    #NERD

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    God, I love Harry Potter. I have only ever read Deathly Hallows once, though. It is literally too much for me to handle. I have midnight tickets to the movie tomorrow and I think I will just weep the whole time.

    Also, I think Hermione was the first girl that I admitted (to myself) to having a REAL LIFE ROMANTIC GAY CRUSH on. All the others I explained away as platonic admiration, but I totally knew that I didn’t want to be Hermione’s best friend, I wanted to be her life partner and kiss her face a lot.

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    I read the first three books the summer after kindergarten, and the final movie is coming out the summer after my senior year. Harry Potter has been the bookends of my childhood, and it’s so crazy to think that this phenomenon that defined my time in school is coming to end. I know this movie isn’t even the last, but I tear up just thinking about it. Lord help me when I see the last one.

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    It’s so weird to see this worldwide mass phenomenon about a thing that is so intensely personal to me, and yet to know that lots of those other people feel the same about it, why is WHY it is a phenomenon.

    Harry Potter feels like home to me. I don’t have words for it; it just is what it is.

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    I resisted HP for the longest time, writing it off as a craze. Then I wrote a paper on censorship during my undergrad, and all my students (preK-6th graders) were going on and on about it, so I caved and read them (it was research!). I think the 4th book was out by then. I was immediately hooked. Also, I was Hermione for Halloween two years ago. This is my Harry Potter shelf: http://twitpic.com/1tuzon I am a huge nerd and I’m ok with that.

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    Didn’t get into it until after the first movies came out. Saw my older brother reading the 5th book & finally decided to pick it up…but soon realized I obvs had to read 1/2/3/4, so I borrowed them from my friend and read 1 through 5 in about 4 days. I don’t think I slept. Pretty sure Harry Potter is why I have insomnia. — <3

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    oh, the love!
    I waited for the letter from hogwarts like I had waited for the enterprise to come pick me up before that.
    also, there was this huge german hp community that two teenage girls had invented – where you got sorted into houses and could compete against the other houses.
    accidentally I was always being sorted into Gryffindor/Ravenclaw (I AM a Ravenclaw) because I forgot to check two of my three siblings, otherwise I would have been a Hufflepuff…oops.

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    Did anyone have Harry Potter bed sheets? No? Just me? That’s fine. I have had them since I was 13 and I am now 22. I also have my ticket for the midnight premiere and I am so excited.

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    I have loved Harry Potter from the minute I read the first book. I had a crush on Hermione before the movies even started and now that Emma Watson has grown up….pardon my drool. Harry Potter always spoke volumes to me, the nerdy misfit who had my own little group of nerdy misfit friends.

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    I read the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when I was 11(I’m from Canada and we only got the English versions, and I did feel a little elitist).
    I had to wait each year for the next one to come out, so I was 14 when the 4th came out 15 when the 15 came out etc. I. Grew. Up. With. Harry.
    He was like a friend I didn’t get to see all the time, but when I did it was MAGICAL. My friend Shelby started the Harry Potter series before I did, and of course loved it so much she bought every Harry Potter related thing she could, including a parchement and quill set, with The Hogwarts seal.
    As a result, when I was 11, I got a letter adressed to me from “Dumbledore”, written in scarlet in welcoming me to Hogwarts, with list of materials I would need.
    She instantly became my best friend.
    I felt a huge need to say this.

  19. Thumb up 0

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    Ah…I love it when Autostraddle understands! I’ve been having “the value of Harry Potter” debates with my circle of friends this week (none of them have read it/seen most of the movies), and now…it’s ok. I won’t kill them I guess. Homicide averted.

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    Oh my god, am i the only lesbian who has no idea what’s going with harry potter…It’s not like i’m not into it, it’s just that i never got around to watch it. that being said (please don’t crucify for saying this) why can’t harry or ANYONE break the wand that belongs to that guy with the weird nose (or lack thereof) and like shoot him or something? or can’t he die from a bullet like that stupid vampire Edward?
    i’m not trying to be a pain in the ass here, i just don’t get it. So, would you guys recommend watching the previous movies, or just reading about them on wikipedia? i (along with 10 others) was just given a movie tickets by a friend, and i don’t want to show up clueless.

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    The other thing I love about HP is the way it connects people. I was worried about living with flatmates, because I had never done that before, but then they started gushing over my Slytherin mug, and then one of them told me about how she’d seen JK Rowling in the street the week before (we live in Edinburgh, she lives around there somewhere). Instantaneous friendship, yo.

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      THIS! I didn’t know any of my roommates before living with them this year and I was terrified we wouldn’t get along. Luckily, we bonded over Harry Potter and even went to the midnight showing together last night ^^ without Harry Potter I wouldn’t feel such a close bond to them <3

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    OMG, Harry Potter! He feels like a long-lost friend, because (I don’t like admitting this) I kind of forgot how much I loved Harry Potter. The first book came out when I was 7. I remember getting it (possibly a year or so later) from the school library. I thought I was so cool, because the book was huge and “grown-up” and made me feel smart. I waited in anticipation of each book’s release putting my name on the waiting list at the library really, really early (b/c hardback books are expensive, y’all), and finishing each of them in a day or two. Even though I have a million other things on my To-Do List, I think I’m going to be re-reading all of them again soon. It’s time me and Harry had some one-on-one. We need to catch up.

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      I’m totally the same way – I loved the books growing up but I think at some point, I became so focused on the plot and what was going to happen instead of reveling in the (no pun intended) magic of it. But I reread this summer, and fell back in love.

      If you do reread, I would recommend checking out Mark Reads Harry Potter. This guy (Mark, duh) basically “live-blogging” his way through the Harry Potter books chapter-by-chapter. And he’s gay and very well-versed w/r/t the concepts of power/privilege and he really expounds on how Rowling presents these ideas in the books.

      He did this with Twilight also, but with very different results obvs.

  23. Thumb up 0

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    HP was the first novel I read where I wept while reading. There are literal tear stains on THE FOREST AGAIN chapter.
    I have been to the WIZARDING WORLD OF HP in FL. it is amazing. you get a wand.

    I Love this article. I love this website. ya’ll are da best.

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    I was 10 when PS came out, so I read all of the books as they came out, but at first I wasn’t wildly in love as I was over books like the DiR sequence. I liked it well enough, but I had so many books I liked better that the hype that was growing kind of bewildered me.

    And then PoA happened.

    Harry was never anywhere near my favourite character, but MWPP were my imaginary best friends for -years-. I wanted to run around pulling pranks and being idiots with them forever, and than watch
    them slowly dissolve into darkness and figure out WHY. More than anything, I wanted them to be happy for a little while, particularily Remus. And finding the fandom, where other people not only watched the same ridiculous movies, read more than they spoke to their classmates and were generally just like me, but wanted to -talk- about these characters like they felt they were real people too was one of the most defining moments in my life. Harry Potter may be silly and strange and all right, not the most well-written series out there, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it and I’m so glad that it exists.

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    Oh! Autostraddle!!! I’m so glad you’re talking about Harry Potter! Harry Potter! I have SO many feelings. I was actually 11 when the books came out so it was special (even though I didn’t get a letter) AND my first lady crush is all kinds of wrapped up in Harry Potter. We met on the school bus, we both liked to read and draw and we would read and draw harry potter together… and then she started hanging out with this boy and I got all angry feeling and didn’t know what it meant until 10 years later…. oh yeah. there are feelings there.

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    I read Philosopher’s Stone when I was 10 and was pretty much hooked. Plus they were, ‘like, my age!’. The way J.K. Rowling writes… I felt completely sucked in, and could imagine every detail of every person and thing. Plus the books had a tendency to come out when I was of the same/similar age, except for the last two or three, and it always felt like we were all going through the same journey together.

    Also – I was totes a witch, obviously. They just couldn’t find a way to contact me right then. BUT SOME DAY….. etc

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    My mum read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to me when I was five.
    She then took me to see the movie. I was dressed up as a little witch.
    The movie made little five-year-old me cry because it was so sad that Harry didn’t have his parents and he was so happy to have a world where he had friends!

    Little me was cute.

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    Does anyone else feel like Harry Potter eternally must be the third wheel in your relationships?

    To add an item to the list of coping strategies, may I suggest reading the books out loud with a pretty lady. This is something I an a certain girlfriend may have done, and I feel like here is an appropriate place to admit that.

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    Ok so, this one time when i was in college i was a nanny and the kid’s gma lived in the UK and sent him the books, I read the first 3 to him and he read my the 4th. I re-read them all the time, but whenever i read goblet of fire i hear this little 6 year old boy’s voice in my head and I feel warm and fuzzy inside. also i sob like a little baby every time i read them… not so much the first 2 but the last 5 yes. I AM NOT ASHAMED. I AM A PROUD POTTER FREAK. and I love everyone’s HP stories, I LOVE ALL HARRY POTTER FANS, ALL OF YOU. #harrypotterforlife

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    Harry Potter was like my alter ego as a kid. Since fourth grade I have collected anything that had anything to do with Harry Potter! I even have a replica of Hogwarts, I have Harry Potter dolls, I have Harry Potter cups, anything you can think of I have one that has something to do with Harry Potter. I wanted to move to England just so that I could get a letter to Hogwarts, and even though I am older now, I still love Harry Potter. I grew up with him, I know every word in the whole series, I know the characters like they were myself.

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    I must be the only lesbian (or just person!) who doesn’t like Harry Potter (as a character) and feels fairly meh about the series. My third grade teacher read it aloud for us (I must’ve been around 9) and while everyone was completely enthralled, I just sorta sat there twiddling my thumbs. I liked Rohld Dahl being read aloud better :( I read them all a few times, but nothing ever struck out to me. This is the point where I go hide…

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      lol don’t, I feel the same way. I never liked the character of Harry all that much, and I despised both the Hermione/Ron and Ginny/Harry relationship. Not to mention I didn’t exactly enjoy book five and seven, and I also remember quite a few convenient plotholes that infuriated me at the time.

      However, I do quite love the third and fourth book, and they are the only ones I feel I will read again in the future. So I’ve never experienced Harry Potter as something life-changing, although I do like both the books and movies well enough I suppose.

      Personally, I’m more of a Lord of the Rings girl when it comes to the ‘fantasy books turned into movies’ type, but to each their own.

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    To prolong the HP joy, there’s a band called Harry & The Potters, and they’re actually super-entertaining, if you like indie-pop bands like Islands. They’re two brothers who assume the stage persona of Harry Potter at different ages.
    They are having concerts called Yule Balls in NE cities next month, and they are totally worthwhile.
    Here’s a link to some of their music.
    http://harryandthepotters.com/music/
    “The Human Hosepipe” is about Harry’s disastrous date w/ Cho Chang, and it sometimes comes to me when I think of my own love life. “This Book Is So Awesome” also pretty great.
    Some of my favorites (“Felix Felicis” also “Save Ginny Weasley from Dean Thomas,” which includes the line “My Wizard scar still burns for you” and a Lisa Simpson-esque sax part) aren’t there, and they’re way better live but…

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    I used to work at the movie theaters and my manager was completely obsessed with HP so when the half blood prince came out she split everyone into houses and the four managers were the heads of house. We got house points by doing our jobs really well and extra stuff and trivia questions. I was in Hufflepuff! We totally lost.

    And if you didn’t dress up they put you in a house elf costume which was basically a moo moo over your uniform lol

    I remember it being a very productive couple of weeks

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    YOU GUYS. You guys! Forget the end of the seventh book, THIS POST made me tear up. (Although: still not over Remus. :()

    I was 11 or so when I read the first book and I’d just started at school for the first time and met my two best friends (one of whom is basically Hermione in every way, although to be honest we were all *mostly* Hermione) and so the pattern of my life has been at least a little bit like Harry’s (part of the reason I think these books were so successful.) And I agree with everything in this post, and Rachel K’s thoughts about Emma Watson make me feel a whole lot better about her (since I’ve always felt that, although Emma Watson is adorable and not too bad an actress, costuming and make-up have consistently dressed her prettier and made her hair less bushy than Hermione ever was. You know that scene in GOF where everyone’s supposed to be shocked by Hermione? a) she wasn’t wearing periwinkle-blue dress robes in the movie and b) it just doesn’t work because she looks *exactly the same*. Anyway, it’s not Emma’s fault that she’s pretty, I just wish they hadn’t constantly dressed her like Lavender Brown.) ANYWAY gosh all these unhappy feelings when really I am totally covered in love and excitement and this week my sister and I are marathoning the movies, even though my sister has her NCEA level 3 exams (pretty much the NEWTS) and should be studying. I’m a rolemodel!

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    Also, fanfiction anyone?! There is ridic amounts of fancition out there. Harry Potter is never getting old, never going away. You will never run out of Harry Potter if you have the internet.

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    Ahhh!! Love love love love Harry Potter! I go to Lawrence University and us Lawrentians are convinced that Lawrence is the Hogwarts of North America :D Also, there is a course offered here called Thinking About Harry Potter :)

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    I LOVE EMMA WATSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now, after that was done. Harry Potter is and was awesome. Not a bad movie and a kick ass party on top that. Yeah, Sirius Black was out last night and shamelessly flirting with all the Bellatrixes that were hot. Oh yeah ^_^

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    I spent 4 hours the other night at a bar dressed as Ginny, wearing clothes I already owned (what, you don’t all own quidditch goggles?) I also created the largest Harry Potter group on Yahoo Groups back when Yahoo Groups was THE THING. <3<3<3 HP

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    I was three when the first book was released. The first “grown-up” (no pictures) book I ever read by myself was HP and the Sorceror’s Stone (I was in SA, so we got the English versions).

    The movies grew darker and scarier as I grew able to handle dark, scary movies. I’ve built entire friendships based on a shared love of Harry Potter. The last movie comes out a couple of days after my projected high school graduation date. HP was the first thing that I loved so passionately that my parents didn’t quite “get”.

    I am so sad that this is almost over, but I will never allow it to end.

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    “But you know what? Harry Potter would never do that.”

    this this this. every time i reread the books (which is a lot of every times) i am amazed at how brave harry and ron and hermione are, and not brave in a fake knight-in-shining-armor way but in a real way; they are afraid but they know that giving up is worse than being scared, and so they keep going. thank you, harry potter. thank you.

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