Queer-owned business, Exploratorium, has launched a new, Covid-safe walking tour which is inspired by the magical world of Harry Potter and declares “magic is for all!” It celebrates the colourful history of transgender people, all while raising money for a trans children’s charity, Mermaids.
As locals and tourists return to shops that are currently re-opening in England as part of the government’s roadmap, a five-storey pink townhouse on Greek Street, Soho dedicated to this magical exhibition is one of the countless retailers opening their doors to visitors.
Unlike many tours of London which see tourists follow a guide (usually holding an umbrella), Exploratorium’s latest venture is a self-guided tour. It costs just £5 to participate in the tour and you simply purchase a magical map online or in person. Wands can also be added to your package or borrowed from each location on the tour for free. All profits from the magical maps and any t-shirts purchased go to the charity Mermaids.
Then, you follow the enchanted map at your own pace, using the interactive wand – crafted by start-up studio Cauldron Co – stopping at special window displays to learn about the featured unsung trans, non-binary and queer heroes of history.
“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.”
Cortland also added, “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.”
What’s more, as well as learning about all the people featured on the tour, you can also nominate a trans icon to be included on the tour as they plan to feature a different person in each of the window displays monthly.
This tour is yet another example of how fans of the Harry Potter franchise are finding ways to reimagine the magical world without the inclusion of its creator, J.K. Rowling who has made anti-trans comments which LGBTQIA+ advocates have described as dangerous.
“Each participating venue has pledged to make their establishment a Safe Space for the Trans Community,” so trans parents, children, and anyone else who takes part in the tour can feel comfortable and safe as they explore.