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'Harry Potter'-inspired sport changes name to distance itself from J.K. Rowling's trans remarks

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Jul 21, 2022 1:37 pm

Potterheads and muggles alike are all familiar with the sport of quidditch. But did you know there's a real-life sport that was actually inspired by the game of the same name in the Harry Potter books by author J.K. Rowling?

Much like the rules of its fictional counterpart, the game is composed of two teams with seven members mounted on (non-flying) broom sticks, and the goal is to throw different types of balls in the opponent's hoops.

Though it may have been inspired by Rowling's iconic fantasy books, US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch (MLQ), the two governing bodies of the sports in North America announced that they are changing the name of the sport from "quidditch" to "quadball". The International Quidditch Association is also considering the name change.

This name change comes as the sport wants to cut ties from Rowling's transphobic remarks on Twitter, which has come under severe scrutiny from LGBTQ advocacy groups and has left many of her fans disappointed.

In 2019, the bestselling author posted her support for a researcher named Maya Forstater, who lost her job following tweets attacking the transgender community. Many said that by defending Forstater, she was justifying transphobia.

In a joint statement first reported by The Times, US Quadball and Major League Quadball emphasized that their 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."

"Both organizations 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," they added.

Another reason is because the organizations didn't own the "quidditch" trademark.

Rather, it belonged to Warner Bros. film and entertainment company, which produced the Harry Potter films. This has limited the sport from getting sponsorship and broadcast opportunities.

"Bringing full creative control of the name of our sport to the vibrant community of players and fans that has grown and sustained it will allow our organizations to take the next step. We are now able to pursue the kinds of opportunities that our community has dreamed about for years," MLQ Co-Commissioner Amanda Dallas said.

The organizations said that the name "quadball" was well-supported by demographic groups in the surveys. The name refers to both the number of balls and the number of positions in the real-life sport.