As marriage equality sweeps across the United States, visibility of gay and trans rights is increasing, and it has made me consider what it would be like to a be a gay student at Hogwarts. Certainly Dumbledore and the rest of the professors would readily take any students, but which house would be most welcoming and safe for LGBT students? Would it be Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin to introduce gender neutral dorms or start a queer students support group? I will look at each of the houses and consider which might be best suited for LGBT students.
Gryffindors, always ready to fight the good fight, come to mind first when I think of social justice. Gryffindors are driven by strong morality, bravery, and daring – a perfect profile for an activist of any type. In characters like the Weasleys, Dean Thomas, and Sirius Black, we see Gryffindors’ determination to stand by their friends and face all kinds of adversity and danger in defense of others. Hermione’s stand against house-elf discrimination and Ron’s outrage at Draco Malfoy’s use of the word “Mudblood” are just a couple of examples of Gryffindors standing up against racism; defending students against homophobic words and actions seems like the next logical step. Gryffindor house is also home ot many underdogs, who later turn into heroes – just think of Neville Longbottom, Remus Lupin, and Hermione Granger. Misfits throughout the series find a safe place in Gryffindor, and I believe it would be the same for any queer or trans student who attends Hogwarts, too.
Ravenclaw house is described on Pottermore as a place not only for those with a desire to learn,but also for those with creativity, an open mind, and a level of acceptance. Ravenclaw would be the perfect house for someone interested in educating others about LGBT issues or just hoping to find other open-minded individuals. Any house that would take Luna Lovegood would certainly be a safe place for non-conformists of all types. Being creative and intelligent folk, I imagine Ravenclaws would be the first to come up with charms for trans students wishing to transition and create resources and literature for queer students. Ravenclaws, typically introverted, would make good listeners, providing new LGBT students with guidance. Personally, I think Ravenclaws would also be the first to adopt gender neutral pronouns, dorms, and washrooms for students because they try to be accommodating and like to keep up with Muggle and wizard politics. Ravenclaw would be a great house for all non-conformists, including queer students.
Hufflepuff is easily the kindest and most accepting house – Helga Hufflepuff famously says she will teach any wizard ready to learn, and LGBT students would be no exception! Hufflepuffs are often noted not only for their gentle nature but also for their loyalty and good-hearted nature. Hufflepuffs would welcome all new students with open arms and stay loyal to their friends regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Unity and loyalty make Hufflepuff house an ideal place for a group like a gay-straight alliance, where students can meet and feel accepted and safe. Hufflepuffs are non-judgmental and like Gryffindors, tend to choose what is right over what is easy, which makes them a good candidate for being the most welcoming house for queer students. Hufflepuffs are also said to be “unafraid of toil,” which is a valuable trait, should queer students meet any discrimination at Hogwarts.
Although it may seem unlikely, I think Slytherin house would be accepting of queer students, too. Slytherins, like Hufflepuffs, are loyal to their friends, even in times of trouble (think of the Death Eaters’ loyalty to Voldemort and each other!). Slytherins are also known for their cunning and wise minds: Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape, and Horace Slughorn are all notably clever and ambitious. These are important traits for queer students and allies alike sincetheir ambition and visibility in the school could make other students aware of LGBT issues and equality. Following Voldemort’s demise, Slytherin house would likely try to reform and make changes to who the house would accept, and welcoming queer students would help this cause. As well, Slytherins constantly defend their own: It’s unlikely someone would try harassing a young queer Slytherin with the prefects looking out for them. Although we might associate Slytherin with evil, many wizards throughout the series remind Harry (and us) that Slytherins choose between good and evil like the rest of us, and I believe many of them would choose equality.
Which house do you think would be best for an LGBT student?