Qmmunity: Now That’s Real Magic
Guest columnist James Scott on why you can’t separate art from its problematic artist
I'm having a lot of imaginary conversations in my head while social distancing (despite Alamo Victory pleading in my inbox). One I return to is a back-and-forth with a popular sentiment I've seen on Twitter: You can separate art from its problematic artist. Lately that idea has reemerged thanks to J.K. Rowling putting on her best clown makeup and doing a loose five of medical misinformation about transgender kids, all for her clapping Twitter TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) fans.
In my imagination, when my fake conversation partner, who we'll call "Hambone," says it's okay to still rep for Huffledor or Slytherclaw because they're loving the art not the honk-honk lady who wrote the dang things, I ask if they thought about how their monetary support might be what's given Rowling enough of a platform to feel comfortable talking TERF. Hambone shoots back that they can't help Harry Potter being important to their childhood, and so their positive memories shouldn't be judged harshly. They can't help what they liked as a kid.
"Listen, Hambone," I say, "I get it." HP used to be something I loved as a kid, too. But there's more at stake than fond personal memories. Only last Monday (Aug. 19), three trans women of color were horribly assaulted in L.A. by three men who robbed them and filmed the attack. Those women, Instagram influencers Eden the Doll, Jaslene Whiterose, and Joslyn Flawless, were hurt and scarred by people who believe that trans women shouldn't be allowed to live. The very real threats out there for trans women – the people most often the target of the TERF juice Rowling's gulping – make me think twice about supporting the work of someone who I know doesn't have trans interests in her heart. Rowling made her choice when she put on the big red squeaky shoes, but we do not have to play the clown. Instead, let's throw our support behind queer and trans creators putting stuff out now. Boosting the qmmunity over a billionaire's classist fantasy? Now that is real magic. – James Scott
2 to Do
Art Heals Festival Whatsinthemirror?'s inaugural fest shines the spotlight on artists using their work to end HIV & mental health stigma. See online for our interview with Whatsinthemirror? founder Tarik Daniels for more on the fest. Thu.-Sun., Aug. 27-30. Online. Free. www.whatsinthemirror.org/art-heals-festival.
QueerTowne Mase Kerwick, Laura de la Fuente, and Javier Ungo are putting some queer lawlz in your quarantine with their 10th episode of "Queerantine." Fri., Aug. 28, 8pm. Online. www.twitch.tv/coldtownetv.
Creating Queer Community in TX BossBabes ATX's virtual convo with House of Lepore mother Natalie Sanders. Thu., Aug. 27, 7-9pm. Free. www.bossbabes.org.
Planting Kinship How to connect the land as a healing practice. Fri., Aug. 28, 1-3pm. Online. Free. www.allgo.org.
Yoga for an Open Heart Kelly M. Marshall's beginner-friendly virtual class. Fridays, 7-8pm. Drop-in, $7-20. www.austinbodycollective.com/openheart.
Register to Vote The Weird City Sisters got deputized. Sat., Aug. 29, 10am-2pm. Package Menswear, 1114 W. Fifth #202. www.fb.com/weirdcitysisters.
Mapping Self-Support Tools Self-care Sunday with allgo. Sun., Aug. 30, 3-5pm. Online. Free. www.allgo.org.
Gender Unbound Austin's arts fest celebrating trans and intersex artists is back! Sept. 1-30. Online. Free. www.genderunbound.org/live.
Queer Riot Fest Queer bands, art, and a market all month long. Sept. 1-30. Online. $5-10. www.queerriotfest.com.