Speak Beasty x The Protego Foundation Team Up To Host Trivia Fundraiser
On Sunday, June 21, 2020, the Protego Foundation teamed up with the magical folks at the Speak Beasty podcast to host our first-ever fundraising trivia event, Fantastic Facts and How to Know Them!
For two fast-paced, action-packed hours, Protego’s co-founder, Tylor Starr and Speak Beasty hosts Ann Lysy, Rex Haden, and producer Ashley Craig, ran the event on Facebook Live.
Five trivia categories were featured in the event and consisted of questions from:
Speaky Beasty producer and proud Slytherin, Ashely Craig, had the brilliant idea to create the trivia event in the first place.
Protego Foundation: Had you heard of The Protego Foundation before you came up with Fantastic Facts?
Ashley Craig: I’ve been following The Protego Foundation ever since it first began as the Fwooper Foundation. As a huge animal lover, I was so happy to discover this foundation and how it combined my favorite things—animals and the Potter universe!
PF: What inspired you to reach out to us at the Protego Foundation to join Speak Beasty in the event?
AC: Being a podcast about the Fantastic Beasts series, [Speaky Beasty] also wanted to do something incorporating animals. It’s what Newt Scamander would want! I immediately thought of The Protego Foundation.
PF: So how did you come up with the idea for the event?
AC: The Speak Beasty team had talked about doing a virtual trivia when Covid first hit. Since the world would be stuck inside quarantining, we thought everyone could use a fun afternoon of Fantastic Beasts themed trivia. I helped run the MuggleNet GNOMEs Trivia Tournament, and it was such a fun event that I wanted Speak Beasty to do something similar.
PF: Why did you decide to make Fantastic Facts a fundraiser?
AC: When I was originally toying with the idea to do a trivia event, I just wanted something simple and fun. Then, when everything start[ed] happening with JKR, I started thinking of ways of how the Speak Beasty podcast could support the trans community. A few of us got together to begin planning the trivia event when the idea to make the trivia event into a fundraiser came to mind.
PF: Why did you decide to donate the proceeds to Mermaids UK?
AC: I was a little familiar with their organization from posts I had come across on Twitter but had never worked with them before. We loved what they stood for and knew we wanted to help.
The remaining two Speak Beasty hosts who participated in running the event were Rex Haden and Ann Lysy.
Hufflepuff co-host Rex Haden’s trivia category was “General Beast [and Creature] Knowledge”, with questions that ranged from Potterhead common sense (“Which is the most dangerous breed of dragon?”) to the obscure (“What M.O.M. classification does the Clabbert have?”).
Although he’s no stranger to trivia events (Haden also co-hosted MuggleNet’s GNOMES in June), having such a crucial role in the Fantastic Facts trivia benefit meant a lot to him.
Haden stated, “Bringing attention to trans rights is important because it has always been an issue prior to JKR’s [recent] tweets.”
After Rowling’s latest hurtful remarks on Twitter, Haden knew he had to speak up.
He said “Everyone in the fandom needs to come to terms with [Rowling’s transphobia] and figure out how to proceed if they want to support the fandom,” adding that, “I donated a movie ticket price (roughly USD 10) to the GLSEN [The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network] for both Fantastic Beast movies [I saw].”
Slytherin co-host Ann Lysy also feels very strongly about Rowling’s recent comments and the firestorm that has erupted as a result of her now notorious tweets. Lysy says, “In the Potter fandom, we have trans brothers and sisters who have dreamed about Hogwarts and the Wizarding World just as much as we have.”
Lysy also sheds some light on the ramifications of just brushing off the comments, “When Potter fans say ’It's just Rowling's opinion, you can't attack her for having an opinion’ or ‘Well I read her manifesto and it makes perfect sense to me’ or ’Isn't she right? Don't only women menstruate?’, it tells our trans and GNC [Gender Nonconforming] friends that we do not believe Hogwarts is there to welcome THEM home.”
Lysy continues,“It tells them they are not welcome in this magical world because the creator of it and some of their fellow fans deny their very existence and right to live their lives.”
“The Potter fandom has grown over the last 20+ years into an incredibly inclusive group, where there is potential for representation for just about anything,” Lysy says. “Just because Harry didn't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. It's a shame that some in our community would shut out the trans fans that have been there the whole time, dreaming and building the world right alongside them.”
It’s a notion that’s beautifully illustrated through a fan-created short story. Lysy shares, “There's a Tumblr post about a first-year trans girl who places a foot on the staircase leading up to the girl's dorm and it stays stairs as she's going up it, and she says to herself, ‘I knew I was a girl.’ ”
Fantastic Facts and How to Know Them was a roaring hit. Thanks to the 30 Potterheads who participated and countless others who donated, a whopping $600 was raised for Mermaids UK.
Mermaids UK appreciates the magical podcasters at Speak Beasty for “stating absolute solidarity with trans people.” The organization even knew of Speak Beasty prior to the trivia event. “It was encouraging to listen to [Speaky Beasty’s] recent podcast episode [“Gender, Sex, and Identity”] responding to the author's comments.”
Mermaids UK Fundraising Manager Rosanna Andrews went on to say about the trivia event, “The support from The Protego Foundation and the Speak Beasty podcast is very much appreciated.”
Andrews took a moment to reflect upon recent events on social media and the significance they have on the trans Potter fan community: “Without betraying any confidences, we can reflect the serious mental and emotional harm wrought on vulnerable young people by the surge in transphobia following Joanne Rowling's comments.”
Andrews and Mermaids UK are grateful to everyone who participated in the event, “we thank wizards and muggles across the world for having the dignity and conscience to stand up for trans and gender-diverse lives.”
The Protego Foundation’s Executive Director, Kathryn Henzler, spoke of the importance of inclusion and trans solidarity in what her organization does.
“We are so proud to be able to support the wonderful work that Mermaids UK is doing. From the very beginning, we wanted The Protego Foundation to be an intersectional animal rights organization, so it is paramount for us to continue to create safe spaces for trans fans, not only in activism, but also in the Wizarding World fandom as a whole.”
You can find Mermaids UK on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and their website.
You can follow Speaky Beasty on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and their website.
You can listen to the Speak Beasty podcast on their website, Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Written by Victoria Tomis