Quidditch to change name of sport to distance itself from JK Rowling’s ‘anti-trans positions’

US Quidditch says it will undergo a major rebranding exercise

<p>The real-life adaptation of the game, in which players run with brooms or PVC pipes between their legs, was first attempted in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont</p>

The real-life adaptation of the game, in which players run with brooms or PVC pipes between their legs, was first attempted in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont

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The American governing body of a version of Quidditch played in real life is looking for a new name for the sport, partly to distance itself from author JK Rowling and her work over her comments on transgender activism.

US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ), one of the sport’s leagues, have begun to look for a new name for the sport and will undergo a rebranding exercise, they said in a joint press release this week, and British governing body QuidditchUK has said it backs the name change in principle.

“…the leagues are hoping a name change can help them continue to distance themselves from the works of JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years,” a statement by the two American bodies noted.

They pointed out that the real-life version of the sport they play is known for striking a gender diversity balance in its fundamentals.

“Our sport has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality and inclusivity, in part thanks to its 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 statement explained.

“Both organisations feel 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,” it added.

The move comes amid increasing controversy around Ms Rowling’s remarks on transgender issues that have been widely criticised by LGBT+ activists as being transphobic.

The author had published a lengthy blog post last year in which she said she was concerned about trans activism.

The post was publicly condemned by several Harry Potter actors, including actors Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint who portrayed the main characters in the film franchise.

Matt Bateman, president of QuidditchUK, told The Times: “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.”

The new name of the sport will be finalised by USQ and MLQ after a series of surveys, to be launched in the next few months, said the release.

The release also included a link to an existing survey, that has options for a new name for the sport, including “Quadball”, “Quadraball”, “Quidstrike”, “Quidball” and “Quicker”.

The MLQ’s commissioner Amanda Dallas said both the leagues have been “quietly collecting research to prepare for the move”. The two have been engaged in extensive discussions for the process, Ms Dallas said.

The game of Quidditch was at first a fictional sport, as it had been invented by Ms Rowling for the Harry Potter books.

In the sport, people from the wizarding world fly on broomsticks and attempt to capture a walnut-sized ball called the “Golden Snitch”.

A real-life adaptation of the game was first attempted in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe, in which players run with brooms or PVC pipes between their legs.

Mr Benepe lauded the move to change the game’s name and said that he has long called for it.

“Big changes like this don’t come without risk, but I’ve been a strong advocate for making this move for a long time,” the founder of the game said.

Mr Benepe added that the sport needs its own space without limits on its growth potential. He added that changing the name would be crucial to achieving that.

The statement by the leagues said the name “Quidditch”, trademarked by filmmaking giant Warner Bros, restricted the game’s expansion and, with a change in the name of the sport, exciting developments can be expected.

The final date of the reveal of a new name for the sport is yet to be announced.

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