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Trans Inclusive Alternatives to Harry Potter

For queer readers, trans and nonbinary readers, readers of color, we deserve to be heroes in our own stories and our own fairy tales

Trini Kaos September 26, 2020

Growing up, I was an avid reader and the Harry Potter series became both one that was sentimental, being on of the last series my father read with me before he passed away, as well as one that was a gateway to the incredibly queer world of fanfiction where attitudes were questioned, discrimination challenged, support was given, and where love was love in whatever form it came in. Evil was always more complex than black and white and no one unquestioningly accepted the ‘canon’ (original author written) plotlines. I was enraptured with those stories imagining safe queer accepting spaces when I had access to none.

It was incredibly hard when this work of fiction that was treasured, my safe refuge in a fantasy world had it’s author revealed to be one that is unconscionable to support. For a lot of folks in the LGBT2Q+ community, their experiences have been similar to mine with Harry Potter connected to cherished memories and lifelines that enabled us to hold on to hope. But we cannot separate the books from it’s author because it’s a product of that author.

While recently JK Rowling has unabashedly come out as a trans-exclusionary feminist, there have long been critiques of her work, from anti-semitism, to racism, to cultural apropriation from Indigenous communities. In the long hard work of allyship, we must recognize that her work carries elements of her prejudices and we must recognize these flaws. We must recognize and admit that all of the structures and ways of being and belief in Rowling’s work are inextricably entwined with her beliefs and bigotries.

For years, there has been a thriving world of fan-fiction that has spun off the Harry Potter world with communities of writers coming together to write in their own representation. You could find a lesbian Hermione who was a strong black woman with her quirky partner Luna. There would be an asexual Daphne, or a Blaise with incredibly complex storylines of being transgender in a magical world that supported and accepted transition. Works, where in the end, the boy who lived found his happy-ever-after with Draco (how was that not obvious?).

There is joy in the resistance of taking a piece of media and making it your own. There is also something giddy and wonderful about reading stories that queer old tropes or, quite literally rework a piece of fiction into something new and subversive. Yet it cannot be denied that re-working a narrative to include minorities points to a larger problem: that the text failed to include them in the first place.

If you are looking for an alternative to Harry Potter, or to simply expand your collection, here is a listing of LGBT2Q+ inclusive Fantasy and Science Fiction alternatives to read, because sometimes the Chosen One isn’t always a middle school boy in love with a girl.

 

The Tensorate Series

The Tensorate Series starts with The Black Tides of Heaven as one of four novellas so far in the ongoing series.

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Cemetary Boys

A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas''s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys.

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When The Moon Was Ours: A Novel

A novel about a girl hiding the truth, a boy with secrets from his past, and four sisters who could ruin them both.

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Brew

Arjana Rambeau, a trans teenager from Baltimore, carries many secrets, one of which is she is a witch. Beginning to start a new school, she finds herself at the center of an unwarranted conspiracy.

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Full Fathom Five

On the island of Kavekana, Kai, our kickass transgender protagonist, builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain.

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Maiden, Mother, Crone

Maiden, Mother, and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes is a Bedside Press anthology of new fantastical short fiction by trans women and trans feminine writers curated by celebrated poet and author Gwen Benaway.

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The Witch Boy

In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted...and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

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The Mortal Instruments Series

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons.

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Bonus Suggestions

Looking for more sci-fi & fantasy books that are great inclusive reads but not magic centered? Try these book suggestions.

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Dreadnought

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world's greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she's transgender.

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Not Your Sidekick

The series introduces bisexual teen Jess, a high school student who finds herself interning at a tech giant run by her parents’ archenemies. She’s joined by her friend Bells Broussard, a trans teen with shapeshifting powers.

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All Out: The No-longer-secret Stories Of Queer Teens Throughout The Ages

Take a journey through time and genres to discover stories where queer teens live, love, and shape the world around them.

Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.

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Food for Queers Community Program

Food for Queers
Stay Safe. Not Hungry

Fresh meals for LGBT2Q+ folks within the City of London

No questions. No contact. Just Lunch!

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