Quidditch to change name, citing J.K. Rowling’s ‘anti-trans positions’

Realist Quidditch, inspired by the magical game in “Harry Potter,” has changed its name, citing “anti-transgender attitudes in recent years” by author J. K. Rowling.

US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch announced in a joint press release Wednesday that they will conduct a series of surveys over the next few months to decide on a new name for the sport, which is similar to soccer and hockey, but as a contact sport with broomsticks. .

“Over the past year or so, both leagues have been quietly gathering research to prepare for the move and have had extensive discussions with each other and trademark attorneys regarding how to work together to make the name change as seamless as possible,” Quidditch commissioner Amanda Dulles said in the statement.

The tournaments say there are several reasons for the name change. Among them is that the name “Qudditch” is a trademark of Warner Bros. , which produced the “Harry Potter” films, as a result of which the sport’s expansion was limited to its sponsorship and broadcasting opportunities.

The name change is also part of the unions’ efforts to “distance themselves from JK Rowling’s business,” according to the statement, “which has come under increasing scrutiny for its anti-trans stances in recent years.”

Rowling has faced criticism for her views on the transgender community, which some have described as transphobic. She first made headlines for her views in 2019, when she publicly supported Maya Forstätter, the British tax specialist who was fired for tweets deemed anti-trans.

Then, in 2020, she parodied a headline that used the phrase “people who menstruate,” which trans advocates have pointed out is meant to include trans men and non-binary men who still have periods.

Just a few days later, she doubled down on her views in a nearly 4,000-word blog post described by some critics on Twitter as a “transphobia statement,” in which she questioned whether the “contagion” fueled by social media had led to a rise in young people coming out. as transgender.

In the blog post, she also revealed that she is a survivor of domestic violence and abuse and, as a result of that trauma, is “deeply concerned about the consequences of the current transient activity.”

“So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I don’t want to make childbirth girls and women any less safe. When you open the doors to bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who thinks or feels to be a woman – and as I said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without the need to surgery or hormones — and then you open the door for any and all men who want to come in. That’s the simple truth,” she wrote, using a talking point that advocates say is common among anti-trans or “gender-critical” groups.

A 2018 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that there is no evidence that allowing transgender people to use restrooms and other public facilities that match their gender identity increases safety risks.

Since Rowling published the blog post last year, several actors who starred in the “Harry Potter” films have condemned her views, including Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter. Emma Watson, who portrayed Hermione Granger; and Eddie Redmayne, who starred in the “Fantastic Beasts” films.

US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch also expressed their support for transgender people and diversity, saying the sport has “developed a reputation as one of the world’s most progressive sports for gender equality and inclusion, thanks in part to the gender cap rule, which states However, a team may not have more than four players of the same sex on the field at a time.

The International Quidditch Association, the sport’s governing body, also lists inclusivity on its website as one of the sport’s values.

“As a society, we want our sport to include people of different races, cultural backgrounds, ages, languages, genders, and sexual orientations,” the site says. “One of the main evidence for this is the Quidditch gender rule, where players can play as a gender that they define as including non-binary genders.”

Alex Benepe, co-founder of real-life quidditch, said he was “glad that USQ and MLQ are moving in that direction.”

“Big changes like these don’t come without risk, but I’ve been a strong advocate for making this move for a long time,” he said, according to a league statement. “The sport needs its own space without restrictions on its growth potential and a name change is critical to making that happen.”

In “Harry Potter,” Quidditch players fly on broomsticks and try to score points by throwing balls through the opposing team’s goals, a set of three rings. Harry Potter, searching for his location, is tasked with catching the golden stinger – a small flying ball that is “quickly wicked and almost impossible to see,” as one of the characters in the 2001 movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” described it. ”

Benepe and Xander Manshel introduced him to the real world in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont. In their version, players hold real sticks or brooms between their legs, and as one player explained to NPR in 2015, a golden snitch is “studded into the back” of a “twister runner,” and that player has to elude the researchers.

There are now more than 450 teams worldwide in more than 30 countries, according to US Quidditch and the International Quidditch Association. It is said to be “one of the sports that requires complete contact between the sexes,” according to the association.

US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch said they will conduct a stakeholder survey regarding the name change through the end of January.

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