Quidditch to change name after JK Rowling’s anti-tran comments

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quidditch
Warner Bros

Two US quidditch leagues are making an effort to change its name. Mainly as a result of J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments. Previously, the associations have faced trademark troubles as well. According to the officials, they will choose a new name soon.

J.K. Rowling invented “Quidditch” for her world-famous Harry Potter novel series. Then, Warner Bros further popularized the game by creating a series of films. It is considered one of the best film series. Harry Potter quidditch is a fictional sport played on broomsticks. Fans’ craziness passion for the game turned into accepting it as a real-life sport. Now, there are lots of Harry Potter game associations around the world.

However, Major League Quidditch (MLQ) & US Quidditch (USQ) have already taken action on the path to a new name. Rowling’s comments about trans people and WB’s trademark issue led to the decision. The leagues will conduct several surveys in the coming days. They expect it will guide them to a perfect name for the sport.

Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe adopted the game as a real-life sport from the book series in 2005. They experienced quidditch for the first time at Middlebury College in Vermont. Alex has expressed his support for the new path of the game.

quidditch sport
Photo Credit: LEONIE HAIN

He was indeed thrilled to hear that news. Because he’s been a strong advocate for making this change for a long time. Mr. Alex thinks that the game should grow without any limits. Hence, it will need its own space.

He further stated that this move by MLQ & USQ is crucial to achieving that. 

The game has grown quite surprisingly since its primary stage. But the name “quidditch” has been trademarked by WB. It utterly limited the expansion of the game. Both MLQ & USQ expect the name change will clear all these issues. And it will allow for exciting developments for players as well as fans. With this growth of the game, it’s possible.

USQ Executive Director Mary Kimball has also revealed his thoughts about the name change. Director believes quidditch is at a crucial stage. She invites everyone to grab the opportunity to raise the game to the next level. Kimball has pointed several advantages of this move. Finding new sponsorships is one of them. She thinks of getting broadcast through major tv as well. Then quidditch will generate more revenues for both leagues. It’s crucial to the expansion of the game. 

Additionally, the leagues hope renaming can help continue the distance with J.K. Rowling. They say Rowling has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions. And strongly noted that their game has developed a reputation which any sport couldn’t achieve. Real-life quidditch is one of the most progressive games on gender equality. There’s a rule which no team can’t have four fielders of the same gender in the field at a time. The statement added.

Meanwhile, UK Quidditch also stated that the sport is beyond Harry Potter. They see how it catches wider franchises every day. The association believes renaming will allow for growth & expansion.

UK Quidditch released a statement regarding the name change. They think distancing from Rowling has the potential to bond more of the sport and the community as the inclusive space it already is. The statement stated that they acted as a whole team without considering any race, sex, gender identity, or background since the first day. And it will always be a cornerstone of our sport. 

The association says they cannot be associated with Rowling anymore. She keeps commenting hateful things against transgender people. Many trans athletes, staff, and volunteers work closely with our sporting community. Hence, UK Quidditch is in full support of the US Quidditch. The statement further stated that they intend to work with the International Quidditch Association and other governing bodies to enhance the game to the next phase. They will update their branding according to the expecting changes of the global community.

Rowling first shared her controversial comments on trans in 2020. She posted a series of tweets on June 2020 to her 14 million followers. Rowling made clear that she believes neither trans men are men nor trans women are women. The author of Harry Potter admitted her love for trans people but couldn’t stand erasing the concept of sex. She thinks it barricades the ability to discuss their lives meaningfully with each other. And the famous author noted it’s not a hate thing to speak the truth.

Rowling shared an article from The Times UK. on December 12, 2021, via Twitter. It included a police log allowing to record rape suspects as women.

Meanwhile, The Blair Partnership, a spokesman from Rowling’s representation, has addressed the situation. They said Rowling never licensed or endorsed The Quidditch Premier League or USQ & MLQ. 

However, MLQ and USQ will complete the process of surveying stakeholders by the end of January 2022. If you are interested in participating in the survey, please fill out the form below.

The two leagues will let the public know the final date of revealing the name shortly.

Though the renaming happened, both leagues will reportedly retain their acronyms. MLQ expects to bring minor differences such as brand style and website upgrades. The statement confirmed that they would only undergo a soft rebrand.

Recently, MLQ Commissioner Amanda Dallas has revealed that this decision has never been a quick move. The two leagues have been quietly collecting enough information in the past year. They had even held extensive discussions with trademark lawyers and each other.

PR & Marketing Manager for USQ, Fabiana Echeverria, has also spoken up about the situation. Fabiana has closely observed the growth of quidditch. Therefore, Fabiana thinks this name change will bring huge success for everyone around the quidditch sport.