Announcing Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends – A Trans History Picture Book

 I am thrilled to announce the publication of my first book, Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends.  Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends is a picture book perfect for children, their parents, and any trans person who didn’t get the childhood they deserved.  It tells the story of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, two trans women of color whose friendship sparked the modern LGBTQIA movement.  
I’m teaming up with illustrator Tesh Silver and plan to release the book independently in 2018.  I plan to keep you updated, but you can also sign up for email updates here.  Sign up to be the first to hear when the book is available for pre-order.
We can’t wait to share Sylvia and Marsha’s stories with you and with the children who need to hear them. 

Granger Watch Episode Three: Does Maxine Waters have a Time Turner?

In this episode, I interview Ron and Hermione about our recent healthcare victory and ask a very important question: Is Maxine Waters a Hogwarts professor and does she have a time turner?  A partial transcript for magical beings who prefer print is available here.

About Granger Watch:

Granger Watch LogoGranger Watch is the real live 2017 version of the Potter Watch radio broadcast depicted in the 7th book of the Harry Potter series.  Naturally, it is named after Hermione Granger, the girl who saved everyone. It is the companion podcast for my Defense Against the Orange Arts video series.  While those videos focus on activist skills and how-tos, Granger Watch covers news about our resistance movements against the Butterbeer Bigot Donald Trump.

[Image description: Granger Watch logo]

Three Lessons about Hate Movements We Can Learn From Harry Potter

My name is Joy Ellison and I’m the creator of the “Defense Against the Orange Arts” video series and the “Granger Watch” podcast.  I make Harry Potter-themed content that helps us understand and fight back against fascism and organized white supremacy. 

This is a very important moment to talk about white supremacy.  Here are three important lessons about organized hate movements that we can learn from Harry Potter.


my father 2

[Image description: Draco say “My father will hear about this!”]

  1. Hatred doesn’t always look evil. Take the Malfoys.  Draco was a jerk, for sure, but he wasn’t a cartoon version of an evil character.  His father was a respectable, wealthy man with a lot of influence in the wizarding world.  People treated the Malfoys like they weren’t the type of people to get involved with Death Eaters  — and that was one of the reasons they became so dangerous.  Today, most white supremacists don’t “look” racist.  Furthermore, all white people benefit from racism and are complicit in perpetuating it.  We need to start taking seriously our complicity and retire the notion that only “bad people” can be racist.peter-pettigrew[Image Description: Peter Pettigrew cowers]
  2. Just because the fascists aren’t competent doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous.   A lot of Voldemort’s followers weren’t gifted wizards.  Peter Pettigrew certainly wasn’t, but that didn’t stop him from helping to bring Voldemort back into power.  Today’s white power movement is full of people who are easy to make fun of.  Humor can be a potent tool against hatred, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves.  Just because these alt-Death Eaters aren’t very clever doesn’t mean we can move aside and let them continue recruiting and rallying.
  3. he's not backWe ignore fascism and white supremacy at our peril.  Just like Cornelius Fudge, a lot of white people don’t want to believe that things are really this bad, but the communities who are the most impacted by hate movements are telling us that it’s been bad for centuries.  Voldemort isn’t just back – he never left.  It’s past time to do something.

One of the most important things white people, like me, can do to combat white supremacy is give our money and resources to the people of color who are leading the fight.  If you’re a Harry Potter fan or just someone who cares about justice, find a local racial justice organization and donate your time and galleons.

Sitti’s Scars

[Image description: a Palestinian woman in red hijab plants an olive tree.]

Sitti’s food is delicious, but her hands pay the price. My father complains that he suffers too. “Mama, stop cooking,” he whines. “I don’t have time to drive you to the hospital.”

Sitti laughs. “I have my hospital right here,” she says, shaking the box of band-aids she keeps by the stove.

The rest of Sitti’s Scars, a flash fiction piece, is available at the Baltimore Review.  I’m thrilled to be included among some incredible writers.


Please Stand Clear of the Doors


The subway. The el. The train. Chicagoans have so many words for our public transportation system. Most of those words are four letters long and hurled at bus drivers pulling away from the curb a moment too soon. Complaining about the Chicago Transit Authority is the city’s favorite pastime—surpassing our love of back porch cookouts, more constant than the corruption of our politicians, deeper than our sports rivalries. I don’t complain, though. For me, the crush of people, the delays, and the stench are a low price to pay for being able to go anywhere. I don’t drive. I never have and I have a seizure condition which ensures that I never will, so I moved to Chicago, where you can live like a person even without a car. When I arrived, the train doors opened for me.     

I wrote Please Stand Clear of the Doors, published by Slag Glass City, and I’ll be reading it out loud on at Essay Fiesta Puts On Metaphorical Fireworks Show on July 17th! You’ll want to come and listen to me subtly change things while I read, because I always do.

This story is my love letter to Chicago.  I wrote it on a damp day in Columbus, Ohio. It’s also about how painful and awkward it is to be gender nonconforming on public transportation.  I hope you enjoy it.

[Image description: View of the train tracks in the Chicago Loop.  Photo by Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States (Chicago El) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons]