Harry Potter-inspired Wands and Wizard Exploratorium, a real-life Diagon Alley in London’s Soho, is partnering with Mermaids to celebrate the trans community.
The five-storey pink townhouse dedicated to all things Harry Potter on Greek Street is one of the countless retailers reopening as England cautiously exits a months-long lockdown.
And as locals and tourists alike gingerly return to Soho’s stubby streets, the queer-owned Exploratorium has launched a sprawling walking tour that dives into the kaleidoscopic history of trans folk – all while raising cash for the trans children charity.
But this time-hopping tour will be a little different than the red umbrella-raised tours the capital is known for.
Instead, the self-guided walking tour sees people use working magic wands to interact with vibrant shop window displays.
Teaming up with House of Spells on Shaftesbury Avenue, the animated displays range from glowing nests of dragon eggs to a Progress flag rainbow soaring out of sparkling clouds.
Harry Potter store launches magical tour to raise money for trans charity
Armed with the spellbinding wands, crafted by start-up studio Cauldron Co, tour-goers will use a “Magic Map” to discover the displays while learning about trailblazing trans, non-binary and queer figures throughout history.
Each venue that takes part in the tour has pledged to make their business a safe space for the trans community.
While all profits from the tour – including the maps, which cost £5, and t-shirts – go to Mermaids, one of Britain’s leading trans charities which offers life-saving services for youth.
Those ready to explore the queer district can purchase the map online or in-person at the store.
“This has been the toughest year in memory for retail and hospitality and 12 April felt like the perfect day to bring some fun back to London’s streets with our wand-activated window displays,” Cauldron co-founder, Matthew Cortland, said in a press release.
“As we create this real-life magical world in the heart of Soho, we also wanted to take the opportunity to focus on issues close to our heart around building a truly inclusive community for trans and gender diverse people and supporting the incredibly important work that Mermaids do.
“As a queer-owned company, it’s extremely important for us to shine a light on the role models in our community who positively promote trans and gender-diverse visibility and our goal is to create as many safe spaces as possible.”
The tour is the latest example of Harry Potter fans, increasingly rattled by JK Rowling’s anti-trans comments, reimagining the wizarding world without its long-fabled creator.
Fans have torn the contracts that once tied them to the franchise, while others have defiantly donated to Mermaids in protest.
Some have scrambled to redesign or even remove the Harry Potter tattoos they once looked at with joy. Now all they see are the embittered comments Rowling has made about trans rights, views that LGBT+ advocates have described as “dangerous“.