Chris Colfer has been writing fantasy novels for kids longer than you might expect, since 2012. And given his support of LGBTQ issues, that gives him a unique position to weigh in on the controversy surrounding “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, and her comments about trans people. “That was a really, really tough situation,” Colfer tells Yahoo Entertainment. “It was really disappointing because I feel like she taught us better than that, you know?” Colfer’s new book, "A Tale of Witchcraft," is, as he tells it, “an allegory for oppression and discrimination and fighting for acceptance” embedded within a fantastical story full of action and adventure. He’s mentioned in interviews that he only started writing because of Rowling and even sent her a letter when he was 12. “I think we just have to really be thankful for the creation that we know, but learn to separate the creator,” he says, adding, “and I'm not just talking about J.K. Rowling.” “I don’t think there's any fault in still enjoying it for what it is and holding onto the joy that it brought you,” Colfer says, “But I also do think that you need to at least acknowledge the problematic nature that created it.” “At the end of the day, I can’t take back someone’s words. I can't force them to apologize. I can’t force them to change the way they think,” he says. “All I can say is that the trans community has always been there for me … and I will have their back for as long as I live.”
CHRIS COLFER: That was the really, really tough situation. It was really disappointing because I feel like she taught us better than that. You know? I try to separate, sometimes I try to separate the creator and the creation, for my own comfort. Because I know there are a lot of things that I really, really love that later on in life I found out they were created, or written, by not so great people.
I think we just have to really be thankful for the creation that we know, but learn to separate. And I'm not just talking about J.K. Rowling. I'm talking about films that were made. Like the Wizard of Oz, for example. One of the most amazing films in the world and later on in life you realize, oh, there was a lot of icky stuff that went on with that.
I don't think there's any fault in still enjoying it for what it is. Holding on to the joy that it brought you. But I also do think that you need to, in your head at least, acknowledge the problematic nature of that. All I really can do at the end of the day, I can't take back someone's words. I can't force them to apologize. I can't force them to change the way they think. At the end of the day all I can do is say that the trans community has always been there for me. They've had my back from day one. And I will have their back for as long as I live and they will always have an ally and a friend in me.
The Tale of Magic Series, I'd say, is very much an allegory for oppression, and discrimination, and fighting for acceptance. I started writing A Tale of Witchcraft Fall of last year, and that's when I decided that I was going to write a book about fear and hate and mental health. I had no idea last year that those topics could possibly become more relevant today than they already were.
There are definitely parallels to the KKK with the Righteous Brotherhood in A Tale of Witchcraft. In fact there were even more parallels in my first draft and my editor was like, maybe we take this out, and maybe we take this out and maybe we take that out. And she was right because every other day, as therapeutic as something is, to get your frustrations out, you still have to tell a good story.
I mean another name for the Righteous Brotherhood in A Tale of Witchcraft could just be the Mitch McConnell's. They represent hate and they represent everything that's wrong with this world. And they're a bunch of very cowardly, hateful, miserable men who think the only way that they can find joy is by taking joy away from others. And taking rights away from people who deserve to have rights.
I did not plan any comparisons to Trump with that guy in my book, but I think it's very telling that there are so many comparisons to our president and the villain of a children's book. I think it is absolutely outrageous that things like human rights, and climate change have become political issues. Every day it seems, every other day we have another right that's on the chopping block. I've never once in my life wanted to be political, but if standing up for minorities, if standing up for the planet, if standing up for gay people makes me political, then so be it, because I'm going to I'm going to fight for that until I die.