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Playing Harry Potter videogame endangers the lives of transgender people, says reporter

Photo by Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Additional Image Courtesy ReWireNewsGroup

Playing a new Harry Potter video game endangers transgender people and directly funds the "anti-trans movement," according to a transgender activist and writer for MSNBC.

The Harry Potter video game Hogwarts Legacy was released to rave reviews in early February 2023, but a transgender activist and author has called the game insulting and a danger to the transgender community that will leave transgender people wondering if gamers are "transphobic" should they choose to play it.

MSNBC's Katelyn Burns, whom the outlet describes as "the first openly transgender Capitol Hill reporter in U.S. history," says that even the transgender character in Hogwarts Legacy, the first of its kind in the Harry Potter universe, is insulting to transgender people.

The character, named Sirona Ryan, borrows from a Celtic deity named Sirona, a goddess associated with healing and healing springs. The activist, however, does not celebrate the inclusion of the character, rather taking issue along with others that the character's name begins with "Sir."

"Many trans people immediately pointed out that the word 'Sir,' which is a common way to misgender trans women, is quite prominent in the name itself," says Burns.

Citing the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, the activist remarks that playing, buying, or streaming the game directly supports anti-transgender activities, even endangering the lives of transgender people as well.

"By buying, playing, streaming and promoting the game, you give money to Rowling to directly financially support the anti-trans movement," the author writes.

"Just as we understand that people who eat [at Chick-Fil-A] are putting money in the pockets of the homophobia industry, so must we understand that playing the new wizard game will help fund the anti-trans movement," Burns adds.

Not even donating to a "trans rights organization" can offset the harm caused by playing the game, the activist claims, stating that it would only placate the gamer's own guilt.

"You’re still boosting the profile and bottom line of the Potterverse, and therefore helping to endanger the lives of trans people," the transgender woman says.

Despite this, the activist says he is not asking gamers to boycott the game, but says that if one does choose to play it, it could come at the cost of one's transgender friends wondering if the gamer is transphobic, causing them to "readjust their trust levels with you accordingly."

"So are you transphobic if you play the game? Probably not. But the trans people in your lives will always be wondering," the author concludes.

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