Quidditch changes name to 'distance' itself from JK Rowling over trans views

20 July 2022, 21:46

Quidditch is changing its name to avoid association with JK Rowling.
Quidditch is changing its name to avoid association with JK Rowling. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The sport of Quidditch is to change its name in a move that is set to distance it from Harry Potter author JK Rowling over her trans views.

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The fictional sport, which originated in the Harry Potter series, was brought to life in the United States in 2005, before taking off globally.

It will now be known as 'quadball' in a move which governing body QuidditchUK (QUK) described as a "great moment in the development of our sport, which is both symbolically and practically significant".

QUK added: "The name change indicates a firm stance with our trans players and members, as well as giving us more firm legal footing and opening up greater opportunities for funding and external partners."

The leadership of the International Quidditch Association stated that its first reason for the name change was the fact that "JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions".

Quidditch is a full-contact mixed-gender sport and it encourages those who identify with the trans and non-binary community to take part.

In the past, Rowling has said she was partly motivated to speak out about trans issues because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Critics have accused the writer of being transphobic, an allegation which she strongly denies.

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Late last year, US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) announced they would carry out a series of surveys to find a new name for the sport, after Rowling attracted criticism for her views on gender identity.

At the time, QUK said the name change was a necessary "shift towards our own identity" because of issues surrounding both the Warner Brothers film company trademark and Rowling's remarks.

It stated: "More importantly, distancing ourselves from JK Rowling will cement the sport and community as the inclusive space it already is.

"Since our inception the inclusion of all persons, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, or background has been a cornerstone of our sport.

"We cannot continue to call ourselves quidditch and be associated with JK Rowling while she continues to make damaging and hateful comments against the many transgender athletes, staff, and volunteers who call this sporting community home."

On Wednesday, QUK described itself as "happy" with the new name that had been picked by USQ.

Players will see changes such as a new name for the ball too, with rebranding set to take place later this year.

The game has grown a lot in recent years, moving beyond the wizard franchise to be played by nearly 600 teams in 40 countries.

USQ and MLQ will own the trademark for "quadball" in the United States and the IQA expects to enter into a licence agreement to use the term.

The trademark for "Quidditch" is owned by the Warner Brothers film and entertainment company.