2020. The year I started my transition, not knowing it would be with a broken heart.
The pandemic, police brutality, and Potter grief hit like a triple punch. I felt isolated in my crisis as a trans Harry Potter fan because J.K. Rowling’s transphobic screeds were nothing compared to the enormity of the year’s events.
I found my medicine online: opinion pieces, podcast episodes, video essays, blog posts, boycotts, fundraisers, and fanworks of all types. There were so many resources and ways to take back our power, so I began to heal through queer fandom.
But my life changed for good when I first listened to wizard rock.
Wizard rock is music inspired by Harry Potter, an indie tradition started in the early 2000s by bands such as Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, and The Whomping Willows. It has grown to encompass hundreds of bands internationally.
In 2020, the wizard rock community organized a compilation album called Transfiguration: A Wrock Comp for Trans Rights to raise money for Camp Lilac and the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition. I listened in awe to the 16 defiant, relatable, deeply moving tracks that expanded what it meant to do fandom, especially now. I needed to hear more.
I dove into the world of wizard rock, finding a huge selection of music with a rich history and explosive DIY creativity, as well as dozens of artists who are still active. Songs span from hilarious to incredibly emotional, to weird as heck. No matter the genre or production value, as long as it’s magical, it’s wizard rock.
That night, I wrote my first song. I got right to work on making my own wizard rock project: Bisexual Harry. (Harry James Potter is a bisexual disaster—something we have in common.)
The community loves new voices, and it welcomed me enthusiastically. I’ve since released a full-length album about Harry’s bisexual exploits called Yer Bisexual Harry and collaborated on several tracks and compilations. Now I have an entire community of online friends who help me make liberatory music, express my authentic self, and speak truth to power.
From the beginning, the unapologetic anti-authoritarian themes set a community ethos of fierce inclusion, profound love, and good trouble. Original wizard rockers were instrumental in founding Fandom Forward, the nonprofit leader in fan activism.
Nowadays, wizard rock continues to be more than a collective of fan artists, and deeper than a shared love for the same music—it’s a grassroots mutual aid movement. Wizard rockers pool resources to jam, crowdfund money for healthcare needs, and support minority artists through programs like Yes All Witches.
Together, wizard rockers amplify important queer counternarratives and build people power. We reclaim Potter energy for something good.
Through wizard rock, I was able to find my place and transform the depression and anxiety of 2020 into a real confidence and love for life, making these past few years the most magical (and bisexual!) yet.
Listen to Bisexual Harry on Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify, and all music streaming platforms.
Lan is a founding member of Bisexual Harry, a Milwaukee-based wizard rock collective for trans liberation and Azkaban abolition. They work at the ACLU, coach running, read too much Drarry fanfiction, and volunteer with Wizrocklopedia and Fandom Forward.