Muggles, actors who play wizards, now even quidditch players are seeking to distance themselves from “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.
On Wednesday, U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch released a joint statement saying that players of the Harry Potter-inspired game have begun the process of selecting a new name for the sport, citing the author’s “anti-trans positions.”
Quidditch is a popular sport played by the characters of the Harry Potter universe, in which two teams of witches and wizards try to score goals while riding flying broomsticks. It was created by Rowling and it first appeared in the first book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 1997.
In 2005, two students at Middlebury College in Vermont adapted the fictional game into a real-life sport, where players run, instead of fly on their broomsticks.
Now, real-life quidditch players are hoping to change the name of the sport, to distance themselves from the best-selling author, who’s known for her anti-transgender views.
In several instances dating back to March 2018 — when the author liked a tweet that referred to trans women as “men in dresses” — Rowling has consistently raised some eyebrows with her very public comments on transgender issues.
“For the last year or so, both leagues have been quietly collecting research to prepare for the move and been in extensive discussions with each other and trademark lawyers regarding how we can work together to make the name change as seamless as possible,” said MLQ Commissioner Amanda Dallas.
Players feel that the name “quidditch”, which is trademarked by Warner Bros., has limited the sport’s expansion, and the leagues expect that a new name “will allow for new and exciting developments for our players, fans, and volunteers as the sport continues to grow,” according to the statement.
Additionally, the leagues hope that a name change “can help them continue to distance themselves from the works of J.K. Rowling, the author of the ‘Harry Potter’ book series, who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years. Our sport has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality and inclusivity,” real-life quidditch officials said.
That’s in part to the sport’s gender maximum rule, which stipulates that a team may not have more than four players of the same gender on the field at a time. The leagues say “it is imperative to live up to this reputation in all aspects of their operations and believe this move is a step in that direction.”
Alex Benepe, one of the creators of the real-life version of the game said in a statement that he is “thrilled” with the leagues’ decision.
According to US Quidditch, the sport has about 3,500 athletes and 50 teams in the U.S.