The governing body for Quidditch in the UK has said they want to be renamed to “distance” itself from Harry Potter author JK Rowling following her “hateful” comments on gender identity.
The broomstick-borne sport of Quidditch was influenced by Rowling’s best-selling wizard novels and invented in the United States in 2005, before taking off in the UK.
Quidditch is the only full-contact mixed-gender sport in the world, “greatly encouraging” those who identify with the trans and non-binary community to partake.
On Monday, QuidditchUK announced they were supporting proposals by US Quidditch to rename the sport, after the writer attracted criticism for her views on gender identity.
In a statement, they said: “The issues surrounding both the Warner Brothers trademark and JK Rowling’s remarks and statements against the transgender members of our community have accelerated this desire to move our branding away from the ‘quidditch’ name and shift towards our own identity.
“Quidditch as it is played in the United Kingdom and throughout the world has been steadily growing further beyond Harry Potter and the wider franchise, and this shift will allow more opportunities for growth, sponsorship and expansion outside of current events and operations.
“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.
The sport known as Quidditch started growing beyond the Harry Potter books, when college students first translated it into a real-world game. But now two large leagues plan to drop the famous name, citing author J.K. Rowling's "anti-trans positions. https://t.co/jaGKVLGScg
— NPR (@NPR) December 18, 2021
“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.
“We intend to work with US Quidditch, the International Quidditch Association, and the other international governing bodies to move forward with this change and we will update our own organisational name and branding to reflect whatever is decided by the global community.”
In the past, Rowling, 56, has said she was partly motivated to speak out about transgender 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.
The author has also been publicly criticised by Harry Potter stars including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who were set to reunite for a TV special 20 years after the first film in the series was screened.
Following the announcement, a spokesperson from The Blair Partnership, the writers’ agency, has said: “The Quidditch Premier League, US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch have never been endorsed or licensed by JK Rowling.”