Quidditch changes name to ditch JK Rowling

Quidditch, the real-world sport adapted from the school of wizards riding brooms in Harry Potter, will change its name in part to distance itself from author J.K. Rowling’s views on transgender issues.

In a statement on Wednesday, the sport’s leading organisation announced quidditch would become quadball, citing trademark concerns and objections against Rowling’s “anti-trans positions”.

The International Quidditch Association said it was joining two of the sport’s major governing bodies, US Quadball and Major League Quadball – formerly known as US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch – in adopting the new name.

“We’ve tried to be clear that it’s both reasons,” a spokesman for US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch told The New York Times.

“We did not intend to give a value judgment about which reason was more important than the other.”

However, the spokesman said the sport’s association with Rowling had created a problem in recruiting new players.

“This is a bold move, and for me personally there is definitely some nostalgia to the original name,” quidditch founder Alex Benepe said in a statement.

“But from a long-term development perspective I feel confident this is a smart decision for the future that will allow the sport to grow without limits.”

In December 2019, Rowling cast a spell of controversy when she publicly supported a woman who lost her job for expressing her opposition to a British government proposal that would make it easier for trans people to change their sex legally.

The author came under fire and was labelled as a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) on social media as public debate rose.

Rowling continued to tweet her comments about trans women in June 2020, causing actors in film adaptations of her books – including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Eddie Redmayne – to publicly distance themselves.

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic … I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so,” Rowling tweeted at the time.

In December 2021, US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch began the process of selecting a new name for the sport, highlighting that “quidditch” was trademarked by Warner Bros and the difficulty of gaining sponsorships.

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