TL;DR J.K. Rowling’s transphobia is out of line with the values of a Hufflepuff and also that word is copyrighted.
If you know librarians, you know we love alliteration when it comes to things we create like programs and services. So when I went to name my blog, I gravitated towards alteration and Hufflepuff Horror popped into my head and felt instantly right.
Hufflepuff is the Hogwarts house most people make fun of for being lame in the Harry Potter series. When my wife and I were getting to know one another, she said “you are the most Hufflepuffy Hufflepuff I have ever met.” I took the way Hufflepuffs are described (kind, hardworking, trustworthy) to heart, and those are the characteristics I wanted to bring to this blog. I wanted to celebrate horror films in a positive and progressive way that aligns with my values without being preachy.
If you have been following J.K. Rowling lately, you will know what started as a murmur of transphobia has transformed into a zealous mission of hers. I was really hoping after being called out on how damaging and misguided her comments were, she would apologize and versus course. Especially given her history of otherwise being pretty progressive and forward-thinking. But instead she has doubled down on spreading fear about an already misunderstood and maligned community, using her huge platform to do so.
I know everyone will disappoint us eventually, especially if we idolize them too much. But I really don’t idolize J.K. Rowling. That is not what this is about. I will detach her from her work just as I have done with problematic horror creators.
But her fear mongering towards trans women goes against the values of my blog, and Hufflepuffs. To me, she has betrayed the very positive descriptor she has created with Hufflepuffs. And I no longer feel comfortable associating my blog’s name and values with a person who treats an already marginalized group this way.
Also the word Hufflepuff is trademarked. So there is that too.
I thought a lot about how to rename my blog, but from all the names I came up with, I still wanted the name to at least sound similar to my original vision. So I’m taking back the word huffle.
Huffle is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a gust which is typically known as a surge of wind but can also be defined as a sudden outburst or surge. Interestingly, an obsolete meaning of gust also includes the sensation of taste or inclination/liking or keen delight.
So that is how I see this blog now. Also, I get that huffle is obscure and most people aren’t going to read this far or get it, but I like that is still catchy and unique. It sounds like it could mean a bit or ruckus of horror and I like that too.
That is why this blog’s name has changed, but its content and focus has not.
If you are curious and want to learn more about trans people, I highly suggested the documentary Disclosure which analyzes the way negative media representation has reinforced and amplified transphobia. As the documentary astutely comments, “80% of Americans don’t think they have ever met a trans person, so everything they know about trans people comes from film and television.”
Also, here is one of my favorite trans organization: Brave Space Alliance. From their mission statement: “Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ individuals on the South and West sides of the city.”