Quidditch changes name over JK Rowling’s ‘anti-trans positions’

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Quidditch, the real-life sport inspired by the game played by muggles, witches and wizards in the “Harry Potter” universe, has a new name: quadball.

The sport’s governing bodies in the United States released Tuesday a joint statement announcing that they are rebranding as US Quadball and Major League Quadball.

The International Quidditch Association, which governs the sport at the international level, is also planning to adopt the new name worldwide.

The move comes in part as a way for players to distance themselves from “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who has consistently raised eyebrows with her very public comments on transgender issues in several instances dating back to March 2018, when she liked a tweet that referred to trans women as “men in dresses.”

Rowling “has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions,” the newly-named sport’s leagues said in the joint statement. “LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign as well as the three lead actors in the Harry Potter film series have criticized her stances,” the statement added.

Additionally, the trademark for “Quidditch” is owned by the Warner Bros. film and entertainment company. Having “full creative control” of the name of the sport will allow the leagues “to pursue the kinds of opportunities that our community has dreamed about for years,” said the league’s Co-Commissioner Amanda Dallas.

“In less than 20 years, our sport has grown from a few dozen college students in rural Vermont to a global phenomenon with thousands of players, semi-pro leagues and international championships,” said US Quadball Executive Director Mary Kimball. “Our organizations are committed to continuing to push quadball forward.”

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In fantasy-world quidditch, two teams of witches, wizards and the occasional muggles 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.

Its real-life version was created in 2005 by two students at Middlebury College in Vermont, who adapted the fictional game into a real-life sport. No broomsticks, nor flying, is required.

Today, the game is played by nearly 600 teams in 40 countries.

USQ and MLQ began a process to rename the real-life sport in December.

“Our sport has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality and inclusivity,” sports officials said at the time, adding that a name change would further separate them from Rowling, “who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years.”

Rowling, who rejects accusations of transphobia, has angered LGBTQ advocates for consistently sharing anti-trans views with her nearly 14 million Twitter followers — such as expressing support to an anti-transgender researcher who was fired for tweeting that “men cannot change into women;” “liking” several tweets with clear anti-transgender sentiments; and promoting a fiercely anti-trans online store.

Earlier this year, she criticized British politician Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labor Party, after he said that “trans women are women.”

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