In January of 1996, Harry Potter the person was born. By coincidence, Harry Potter the character would make his novel debut a few months later in mid-1997.
To say that Harry Potter (the person) felt a kinship with Harry Potter (the character) growing up is a bit of an understatement. That kinship, in fact, was a major part of the way Potter viewed themselves.
So when Harry grew up to be Ellen, the idea of leaving JK Rowling's beloved character behind never crossed her mind. Ellen just went about her life and didn't worry much about her deadname.
In recent years, however, Rowling has become vocally transphobic and shown increasing TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) beliefs.
The racism in Rowling's writing had come under scrutiny in the past, but Rowling always denied her bigotry.
We don't really know what happened to prompt her to put her bigotry on blast, but Rowling made it a point to lash out against trans women multiple times in multiple ways.
The Fandom's reaction—as well as the stars of the films based on her books—has pretty much been:
JK Rowling has come out and stated she believes transgender women are men.
She espoused the TERF core idea that trans women are a danger to "real" women, even going so far as promoting the phrase "the cotton ceiling is rape."
"The cotton ceiling" refers to trans women in relationships with cis women. According to Rowling and others, if those two women have sex it is not consensual sex between two women.
They believe it is a woman being raped by a man who is pretending to be a woman; even if the cis woman is aware their partner is trans, consenting and enthusiastic in her participation.
The level of entitlement and privilege among TERFs is also part of their core, self-appointed role as defenders of all women, whether wanted or not. In their version of reality, only they know what is best for all women.
Rowling's transphobic and homophobic sentiments run so deep that she has even taken to writing under a nom de plume that she took from an anti-trans figure who was a leading name in gay conversion therapy. JK Rowling has spent the last few years subtly and not-so-subtly casting trans women as dangerous imposters and predators who want nothing more than to infiltrate spaces where "real women" are safe.
Like most TERFs, Rowling ignores the existence of transgender men as acknowledging them undermines several of the core beliefs they promote—especially their promotion of the idea that transgender people only exist to gain access to "real women" in order to victimize them.
This is, of course, counter to the actual facts.
Trans women are rarely the perpetrators of violence. However, they are regularly victims of violence, sexual assault, verbal harassment, etc... Trans women, particularly trans women of color, stand a much higher chance of being targeted and murdered than their cisgender counterparts.
This loudly transphobic stance has seen Rowling receive plenty of backlash from the public. We have seen fans, fellow writers, actors, etc... speak out against it.
And now Rowling has lost Ellen Potter—someone so intimately connected to Harry Potter that the character informed their sense of self for most of their childhood.
Ellen spoke with Pink News:
"Joanne was an idol from my childhood, who in many ways has shaped my whole life. It's been so hard seeing her turn into somebody so vehemently opposed to my identity, and that of so many other Harry Potter fans."
After spending years watching JK Rowling spout hateful rhetoric, Ellen had enough. It was time for her deadname to go.
And go it did.
Oh, and Ellen showed the sort of audacity and brashness that the fictional Potters were famous for by tagging Rowling in her name change post.
We would like to say there were no transphobic comments or people acting like Rowling hasn't said or done anything damaging, but we're not in the business of lying to our readers.
Of course the comments were full of that stuff.
But whats more important is that the hate and willful ignorance was completely overshadowed by love and support.
It was magic.
Congrats to Ellen Potter, the woman who lived.