One of the Harry Potter franchise’s most improbable and lasting elements, professional Quidditch, is officially changing its name in light of author JK Rowling’s recent and disappointing views on the transgender community. US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch announced in a joint news release Wednesday that they are officially taking steps to change the name of the game from Quidditch to something else that’s less associated with the author. The cited reason is the fact that in recent years, JK Rowling has become less known for introducing an entire generation of kids to the fantasy literature genre and more for her supposed anti-trans views.
The announcement from the two organizations also noted that, in addition to distancing themselves from JK Rowling, the name “Quidditch” itself presents some problems in that it is a trademark of Warner Bros. thus making partnerships more difficult. So, while separating the sport from the book and movie franchise may sound upsetting, it may be the only way for Quidditch to reach new heights on its own.
As NBC News notes, things started in 2019 when JK Rowling took to Twitter to speak out in support of Maya Forstater, a British tax specialist who was fired from her job after tweeting transphobic comments. Although it was pretty blatant, many were willing to give the Harry Potter author the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, she doubled down in 2020 when she shared a headline and mocked the use of the term “people who menstruate.”
The comments led to JK Rowling being labeled a “TERF” by even some of her dedicated fans. The term stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” Essentially, it’s a term for people who consider themselves feminists but don’t count trans women in that category, arguing that the biological concept of gender is the be-all-end-all of the conversation. Meanwhile, countless trans activists have worked tirelessly to get people with JK Rowling’s level of influence to recognize their gender identity and not discredit their experience and existence just based on the biology they were assigned at birth.
Sadly, those cries fell flat on the ears of JK Rowling, who put out a disappointing 4,000-word blog post days later in which she called the rising number of people feeling safe enough to come out as trans or non-binary a “contagion” fueled by social media. In the blog post, she also admitted to being a survivor of domestic abuse and assault. As a result, she somewhat explained that she resents trans women usurping that experience. However, trans women experience those things too. Sometimes in greater numbers.
Since then, JK Rowling has not backed down on her stance around the transgender community. Meanwhile, Harry Potter fans far and wide are trying their best to separate the art from the artist She was not invited to the upcoming Harry Potter reunion special on HBO Max. Now, it seems professional Quidditch is doing the same.
For those unfamiliar, Quidditch is the go-to sport in the wizard world in the author’s series of eight books. Since the story of The Boy Who Lived became such a cultural phenomenon, so did the sport. Although it’s supposed to be played on magical flying broomsticks, people in the Muggle world have found a way to make the game work on the ground for years. It’s caught on to become a dedicated, albeit small, sports community as a kind of mix between soccer and field hockey. However, although author JK Rowling invented the sport, the pros are hoping to distance themselves from her as soon as possible.