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Harry Potter has a huge body of followers on the internet — often referred to as fandom. Many of these followers write so-called fanfiction, stories that are built on the plot, characters and universe in the books. Duggan has studied these fans in her PhD thesis, in which she has focused on sexual minorities and gender minorities within the Harry Potter fandom.

The amount of people belonging to a gender minority is larger than in general society, Duggan explains. One obstacle that makes it difficult to study children and youth is that we needs a confirmation from their parents or legal guardians in order to conduct interviews and surveys. It is not always like that, however, and Duggan herself was kicked out of a fandom in which she was an active member when the administrator found out the she was under eighteen. According to her, these are all consequences of gender minorities becoming more and more visible in the public sphere.

Visibility has both negative and positive consequences. The increasing of people who are magical sex college transgendered, intersex or gender fluid also causes reactions — from the author of the Harry Potter books herself among others, Duggan explains. Rowling has been in rough water in recent years following Twitter messages regarded by many as transphobic, and for actively supporting a transgender critical researcher. Rowling regarded as transphobic in the fan communities? There are of course also people who agree with her, but I think they are a minority.

And although some people have sold their Harry Potter books in contempt, many people have also remained in the fan communities because they find them supportive, according to Duggan. Duggan has also seen a development where more and more people are openly transgendered or queer in their online profiles following J. In the collection of articles that make up the PhD dissertation, Duggan has applied a of methods from the social sciences and the humanities.

Queer, trans and feminist theory lies at the foundation.

She has gathered information from the profiles of members of the fandoms, and one queer and one transgendered person from the Harry Potter community have sent their autobiographical narratives to her. Duggan herself used to be an active member of a fan website, and she has used her own experiences as data. Through fandom, Duggan realised that she was not the only one interested in the opportunities for considering herself as more than just a woman or as someone with a fluctuating gender identity.

Within the fan communities and the fantasy genre, fans are given the opportunity to dream themselves away from their own bodies, Duggan explains. Duggan has studied the fan community surrounding the books, but she has also conducted a queer reading of Harry Potter.

She finds many symbols that may be read and interpreted as symbols of various gender identities and sexual orientations. Harry Potter grows up with his uncle and aunt who are both Muggles, that is, people without magic skills.

When he is eleven years old, he is introduced to an entirely new, magic world when he becomes a pupil at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This refers to a world in which people have an exaggerated, untraditional or flamboyant expression. Here, men dress in long, purple tunics.

The book and film series are filled with episodes in which wizards and magical sex college change their sex with the aid of magic potions. For instance, in the sixth book, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle drink a potion in order to change sex and become young girls to avoid being recognised. Hermione Granger and Fleur Delacour do the same thing to pass themselves off as Harry. Marianne Gunderson is a PhD fellow at the University of Bergen who has followed internet culture, fandoms and fanfiction closely. She also has the impression that fanfiction often revolves around queer topics and that it is often used to explore sexuality.

According to her, the Harry Potter fandom is interesting because many of the stories in the fanfiction are largely detached from the original books. Even though there is no unison consensus among the fans, many stories have portrayed Hermione as black or Harry as Indian.

These ideas about the characters have been largely formalised in the fan community, she explains. According to Gunderson, research on other fandoms also shows that a large of the members are queer women, whereas another part consists of people who identify themselves as neither women nor men.

Nevertheless, she does not believe that all fandom members participate in order to write or read about their own identity. The topics explored in the fanfiction can contribute to a normalisation of different ways of being in relationships, being gendered or experiencing sexuality, she maintains. The authors of the genre take plots and characters from established works and make them their own.

They also have certain conventions and stereotypes concerning gender and sexuality, and they rewrite in order to create narratives that they want to read. Although the Harry Potter fandom is among the biggest, there are also numerous fandoms not linked to literary works or films. What characterises the topics for fanfiction is what Henry Jenkins defined as fascination and frustration, Gunderson explains. For instance, they may rewrite works in which queer relations are indicated without being explicitly described.

Sometimes human dynamics are romanticised, for instance between rival characters, Gunderson continues. When J. Rowling was criticised for being transphobic on Twitter, several fans came out as transgendered, says Jennifer Duggan. July - magical sex college Photo: USN. Fandom became an important source of information, but also of confirmation. Jennifer Duggan. Marianne Gunderson is a PhD fellow who studies fandoms and fanfiction.

Photo: UiB. Harry Potter may be read as a story about a boy who comes out of the closet. There is a lot of openness and playfulness in fanfiction.

Marianne Gunderson. Fridtjof Nansen Institute. Powered by Labrador CMS.

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