Voldemort the Half-Blood
[Warning: If you have not read the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which, I have no idea why you have not yet, read no further!]
I’ve always felt there was a queer reading to the magical world in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, not in the least because Dumbledore was gay. It is the way the community stays hidden, has their own culture and history, always afraid of being found out about their abilities. There is a reason why X-Men is so popular with the gay community, as they are along the same lines. But the seventh book introduced a new queer reading, with the take-over of the Ministry by Voldemort, which I shall explain in due course.
Of course, the most direct parallel to the take-over is the Nazi regime, and chillingly so. Better critics than me have written more on the Voldemort-Hitler connection. When Voldemort takes the persecution of Mudbloods up, step-by-step, and he does it not through riots, but through the power of law, it is impossible not to be reminded of how the Jews were persecuted. At first it was their right to walk on the streets. Then it was their property. Then it was their freedom. There is always a justification given, of course. Jews are greedy scum, mudbloods are a threat to the magical community. Jews are unclean and pollute the Aryan bloodline, Mudbloods will destroy the pureblood magic bloodline. The injustice of the laws passed [and this where I insert the Hart-Fuller debate on the morality of law], and the relentless execution of unjust laws in actively discriminating against a certain sect of the society are hair-raisingly similar. People lived in a regime of terror, not knowing who to trust, not daring to speak out against the obvious injustices being committed.
Throughout this, it is easy to forget two very important facts: one, Voldemort was hardly a pure-blood, and a Mudblood by his own definition, and there are rumours that Hitler was of Jewish descent as well. The leader of the Aryan race did not exactly have blue eyes and blonde hair that he so prized. Secondly, the persecution of Mudbloods and Jews respectively were NOT the main aim of the regime, but instead, was used as a political tool to rally people together, to incite fear. While an objective in its own right, the pursuit of pure blood in both regimes was nothing more than a means to an end, a way to polarise the society and prey on people’s fears and insecurities, in favour of the ruling party. The “us against them” tactic is an old one.
And this is where I apply the theory to the gay community. How different is the Christian fundamentalist movement, from this? True, they might not persecute and kill, but they try their very best to deny us the rights everyone else has, citing many arguments such as “gays will destroy the traditional families”, “gays will molest our children”, “gays are unnatural”, “gays spread AIDS”, etc. Honestly – how are these paranoid arguments different from the arguments the Nazis and Death Eaters put forward, in justifying their evil laws?
And secondly, the vilification of the gay community, while on the surface seems to be their main objective, is just a means to an end. In the past few decades, the fundamentalist movement has lost many battles, with women’s rights, with civil rights, abortion, etc. Secularism took hold of the world, church attendance was declining. The way to reverse it, is to victimise a sect of the society, paint them as devils whom good citizens need to be protected against. Not many families are going to attend if you argue that women don’t deserve equal rights, or that blacks and whites should be segregrated – but if you say that homosexuality is the problem, it preys on people’s fears and innate homophobia into flocking towards the church. It is easy to victimise people who don’t have the protection of the law, or of society. And so the vilification continues, a convenient fiction, to be taken out and waved in people’s faces to remind them that homosexuality is going to destroy everything they hold near and dear, and the morally right course of action is to make their lives hell.
A friend once said to all of us, that the worst kind of homophobia is homophobia from other gay people. To the layman it seems incredible – why would you hate yourself, why would you sling mud at your own kind, knowing you are one them? I’ve met many straight people who don’t understand this phenomenon. They are shocked when the Ted Haggards and Larry Craigs of this world are exposed. To us, it is old news – if a prominently anti-gay leader in Singapore was revealed to be gay himself/herself, it will not be shocking in the least.
After all, Voldemort himself was a Half-Blood.