This article contains spoilers for the newly released movie “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them”.
The obscurus is probably the most terrifying creature in the new movie that follows Huffelpuff hero Newt Scamander to New York where he soon finds himself in the middle of a plot to start a war between the wizarding world and the muggle world.
The obscurus is a dark, evil and highly destructive force that forms within a young witch or wizard if they are forced to suppress their magic. Often enough these kids are physically and/or emotionally abused. Over the years and constantly nourished by the child's fear, anxiety, self hatred and depression, the obscurus becomes stronger and stronger until one day it kills its host and then parishes itself.
Does that sound painfully familiar?
These young wizards and witches are being told that…
… magic is unnatural, a disease, an abomination.
… it has to be suppressed.
… if they only work hard, they can be healed.
… anyone who accepts magic as natural is evil.
No matter if J. K. Rowling intended it or not, the obscurus including all the pain, suffering and destruction that come with it, is a powerful and heartbreaking metaphor for the depression and self hatred many young members of the LGBT+ go through, inflicted mostly by a misunderstanding of religion, ignorance and plain fear.
The suicide rate among LGBT+ youth is four times higher than that of their cisgendered, heterosexual peers. How many more LGBT+ teenagers have to commit suicide (= have to be killed by the obscurus)?
The political climate in the United States, combined with laws that severely discriminate against them, both already in place and still in the making, create an increasingly toxic environment for our young generation.
We mustn’t allow that they are forced to grow up nurturing a darkness inside of them that can cost them their lives.
Kudos to J. K. Rowling for addressing such an important issue once more.