Does Harry Potter help children grow up to be LGBT friendly?

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A new study suggests reading JK Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter stories improves attitudes toward stigmatized groups such as LGBT people, immigrants and refugees.

Bigotry is a continuing theme in the novels, which is addressed through the evil of Voldemort’s character. It is young people’s identification with Harry’s character – and in not identifying with the negative character of Voldemort – that researchers found reduced the bias towards “out-groups” such as LGBT people and immigrants.

The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, found that across several studies conducted, the children and young people who read and discussed sections of the books that dealt directly with prejudice showed “improved attitudes” towards immigrants or gay people if they identified emotionally with Harry’s character.

via The Independent