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‘More Fuel to the Fire.’ Trans and Non-Binary Authors Respond to Controversy Over J.K. Rowling’s New Novel

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The last 48 hours have been full of conflicting emotions for Marieke Nijkamp. A New York Times bestselling author, Nijkamp’s new novel, a YA thriller titled Even If We Break, was published Tuesday. It’s Nijkamp’s third novel, and their first to include a non-binary protagonist, which makes the book “very special” to them, as Nijkamp is a non-binary, disabled person. “Mainly I want to reflect the world that I see and live in and am a part of,” Nijkamp says. “I think fiction doesn’t do that enough as it is.”

One example of fiction they feel is unlikely to do that: J.K. Rowling’s new novel, Troubled Blood, also publishing on Tuesday. It quickly faced criticism for allegedly leaning into portrayals of trans people as villains.

Nijkamp, who says they’ve mostly tried to ignore Rowling’s previous comments on trans issues, found the controversy impossible to avoid this week. The juxtaposition was a painful one. “We’re generally not perpetrators of violence, we’re victims,” Nijkamp says. “I can’t imagine going back and explaining to my teenage self, ‘Hey, this author you love so much blatantly hates people like you.”

Author Marieke Nijkamp

Author Marieke Nijkamp

Courtesy of JLF

Troubled Blood is the fifth in a series featuring the private detective Cormoran Strike, which Rowling, a cisgender woman, penned under the male pseudonym Robert Galbraith. In an early review published on Sunday, British newspaper The Telegraph called Troubled Blood “a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress,” citing a plotline featuring a male serial killer dressing up in women’s clothing to commit murders.

A subsequent review from The Guardian describes this character as “just one of many suspects” in the novel’s primary narrative, however; while the killer is apparently written to fetishize lingerie, he uses a stolen women’s coat and a wig solely as a disguise to aid his crimes. The review adds that, “he is not the main villain, nor is he portrayed as trans or even called a ‘transvestite’ by Rowling.”

Still, given Rowling’s previous comments on transgender people and gender identity, the plotline is “disappointing, but not surprising,” says Mason Deaver, author of I Wish You All the Best. The novel, Deaver’s debut, follows the journey of a character coming out as non-binary, and their newly-forged friendships along the way. Writing, Deaver says, is a way to create what would have mattered to them as a child.

They are concerned about the impact of Rowling’s latest work, particularly on those who are trans fans of Harry Potter and had previously admired her work. “I think the harm it’s going to do to them is tragic,” they say.

Trans and non-binary writers believe that narratives relying on transphobic tropes have a harmful impact on their community, and reinforces both transphobic sentiments and misinformation at large. As outlined in this year’s Netflix documentary Disclosure, which analyzed transgender representation on screen, narratives of mentally ill men dressing in women’s clothing and committing violence towards women have long existed in popular media, like the films Psycho and Silence of the Lambs.

“It might not seem obvious at first, but it’s very harmful to portray that being trans adjacent is somehow connected to your mental health,” says Deaver. “I think for the people who hate us, or don’t like us, it’s going to help add more fuel to the fire.”

It’s not the first time that Rowling has been criticized for her treatment of trans issues within her fiction writing. As journalist Katelyn Burns noted in a review of The Silkworm, another of Rowling’s books published under the Galbraith moniker, a trans character’s appearance was also described using problematic stereotypes. And Rowling’s choice of pen name has also been subject to controversy—Robert Galbraith Heath was the name of a mid-20th century anti-LGBTQ conversion therapist. (Rowling has previously said that the name was a conflation of her political hero, Robert F. Kennedy, and a childhood fantasy name ‘Ella Galbraith’.)

For many authors, the focus on trans characters in Rowling’s work detracts from what they see as the authenticity—and inclusivity—their writing can provide. Fiction should reflect the world we live in and speak to the full experience of life that doesn’t solely focus on identity or on traumatic experience, says Lizzie Huxley-Jones, a non-binary autistic author of children’s fiction living in London. “I want to put stories out there that feature trans and disabled kids, that aren’t specifically about them experiencing transphobia or ableism, or their family learning to love them and come to terms with who they are. I want to make a space for people to see a facet of themselves that’s also safe and comforting, an escape. We need that right now.”

Read more: I’m a Nonbinary Writer of Youth Literature. J.K. Rowling’s Comments on Gender Identity Reinforced My Commitment to Better Representation

That sense of escapism is something Rin Chupeco, a non-binary YA author based in Manila, also weaves into their sci-fi and fantasy novels. “I’ve always felt, in many ways, trapped within my own body, and being able to write about fantastical worlds with magic, dragons and demons always feels freeing” they say.

And the attention focused on uplifting their work amid controversies has felt conflicting at times. “We want to be remembered for our books, and not because a rich white author chose to attack us,” says Chupeco. “It gets really tiring to only be remembered if someone else does something to make it terrible for us. This is not to say I don’t appreciate the support, but at the same time, it’s exhausting to be constantly put through this specific loop, where we’re only remembered when someone does something to us, and then forgotten by the time it blows over.”

For Nijkamp, who is spending Tuesday celebrating publication day, the feelings are similarly complicated. “It’s great to see that people are taking this as a jumping off point, but I don’t necessarily want a transphobic person to say and do stuff for my work to be noticed.” Over the last day, Nijkamp has had several readers reach out and express excitement about feeling represented in their work, but hopes that the energy is more long-lasting, and that cis authors too take responsibility for making their work more inclusive.

“I don’t think that I would have gotten to the realization that I am non binary without fiction, and without fiction for young people in particular,” Nijkamp explains. “Ideally figuring out what it means to be me, or what it means to be you shouldn’t be this much of a struggle. What I’m hoping for in response to this entire situation is that in raising awareness of the work of trans and non-binary authors, readers will be able to not just find hatred in books, but also find welcoming.”

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Entertainment

What Makes a Good Online Casino?

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A quick search for an online casino will reveal hundreds of results. However, these casinos are not created equally. Some are better than others in many ways. That’s why you cannot settle for the first option that catches your eye. You need to do thorough research to ensure you settle for a casino that will give you a better experience – and some good money in the process.

So, what makes a good online casino?

The truth is that there are many reputable casinos online – and new ones keep popping up with each passing day. But the few bad ones spoil the name for the others. These casinos scam people. They are eager to make deposits but not keen to give players their money back, pay their affiliates, or even stick to their terms and conditions. These casinos – scam or rogue casinos – are exactly the types you want to avoid.

Unfortunately, most of these rogue casinos disguise as good ones. You might have a hard time telling them apart, especially if you are just getting started. To help you make an informed decision, here are some qualities that make a good online casino.

It does not feature in the blacklist

One of the easiest ways to tell a good casino from the bad ones is by looking at different online casino blacklists. Different reputable platforms always release yearly blacklists to protect casino players from gambling scams online. They put bad casinos on a list for everyone to see and ensure no one signs up to any of those casinos in the future. Since these sites differ, chances are you won’t find the same casinos on every blacklist. But the fact that a casino makes the list means they have one or more of these problems:

  • Change terms
  • Predatory terms
  • Slow pay
  • Unfair games
  • Nonpayment
  • Marketing spam
  • Licensing and regulation

Choice of games

As a player, you’ll appreciate the choice of picking whichever game pleases you. That’s why you need a casino that offers more games. Browse around to find the casino games that the provider offers to see if it’s a good fit.

It’s fair, secure, and serious

As you may have noticed from above, many casinos end up on the blacklist for many reasons, including unfairness and security issues. Good online casinos use random number generator that determines the chances of winning. On top of that, they work with third parties to check the fairness of games. What’s more, these casinos display various certificates on their platforms, giving you further assurance that things are conducted fairly.

Has good customer service

You can tell a good casino by how their customer support team treats you when you send a request or inquire about something. They will be willing and happy to serve you. they will also have adequate knowledge to address your concerns and be available 24/7.

Accept your payment methods

A good casino accepts a wide range of payment options, ranging from online payment options to instant bank transfers and even credit card solutions. This allows you to use your preferred payment method and not feel locked out. Stay away from sites that provide limited payment options. Some of them fail to get approved by payment platforms, which by itself is a red flag.

Has a bonus offer

It’s easy to assume bonus offers and other incentives, especially if you are new to the game. However, you should work with a casino that provides a consistent bonus offer and not just a good welcome offer. You’ll need these bonuses even as an existing client. Moreover, the site should provide promotions without deposit, reload offers, and many free spins. Don’t feel limited. Many casino sites offer these bonuses, and if the one in question doesn’t, you might as well keep looking.

Free games and easy registration

As a newbie, the last thing you want is to sign up with a casino that doesn’t provide free games. You need to practice without having to deposit money or fear that you’ll lose money. Free games allow you to practice and be good before playing real money. Additionally, the casino should have a simple registration and easy account opening process. If it’s too complicated, then maybe it’s not the right casino for you.

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How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital

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These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.

A historical journey

It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.

It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.

Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.

In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.

The birth of the mega resort

It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.

Las Vegas in the 21st century

The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?

The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.

These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.

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Land-Based Casinos

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What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.

Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.

Some Big Casinos Near Nature

Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.

ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.

Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.

  • Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
  • Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
  • Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford

River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit

Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.

Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun

Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.

Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One

Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.

Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture

Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.

River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers

River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.

For the ones who fancy playing online we recomend visiting canadiancasino.org!

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