Transphobic referee quits and calls for work stoppage for trans swimmer

LOS ANGELES – Even though it takes its name and inspiration from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter book series, quidditch – a real sport played around the world – turns the page and distances itself from the author, at least partly because of his transphobia.

The United States and Major League Quidditch released a statement earlier this month announcing that they had started the process of finding a new name.

“Over the past year or so, the two leagues have quietly collected research to prepare for the move and have had extensive discussions with each other and with trademark attorneys on how we can work together to make the name change as transparent as possible, ”said MLQ. Commissioner Amanda Dallas. The statement notes that Warner Bros. owns the trademark on the name, which has limited the expansion of the sport as well as its sponsorship and dissemination opportunities.

But it’s not just that, according to the statement, which specifically cited Rowling’s “anti-trans positions” in recent years.

“Our sport has earned a reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world when it comes to gender equality and inclusiveness, in part thanks to its maximum gender rule, which states that a team cannot not have more than four players of the same sex on the field at a time, ”said the joint statement of December 15. “Both organizations believe it is imperative to live up to this reputation in all aspects of their operations and believe this decision is a step in that direction. “

One of the sport’s initiators is in favor of a name change and expressed support for the leagues’ actions in their statement.

“I am delighted that the USQ and MLQ are moving in this direction,” said Alex Benepe, one of the co-creators of the sport. “Big changes like this are not without risk, but I’ve been a strong supporter of this decision for a long time. Sport needs its own space with no limits on its growth potential and changing its name is crucial to achieve this. Benepe and Xander Manshel originally adapted it from the Harry Potter book series in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, the statement said.

Washington Post columnist Molly Roberts explained what Quidditch is to those who “can’t tell a bludger from a quaffle:”

Quidditch is the invented sport of Rowling’s universe, in which witches and wizards fly on brooms by throwing balls through hoops, hitting other balls with bats at other players and trying to snatch one last little golden winged ball in the air. Quidditch is Also the real-life version of the sport, in which decidedly non-magical humans run with brooms between their legs, throwing slightly deflated volleyballs through hoops and slightly deflated chaser balls at opponents, and trying to snatch a ball from the air. tennis hanging in a sock to someone’s shorts. “

Screenshot courtesy of UCLA Quidditch

So what is the the author herself thinks she will be abandoned by Quidditch? “I never let Muggles bring me down,” she tweeted. on December 19, in response to a fan. This is currently his pinned tweet.

Support for Rowling continues to grow, despite the controversy, as does her fortune. An online petition “in solidarity with JK Rowling” has so far garnered 25,700 signatures at the time of publication; A new poll released today by conservative pollster Rasmussen claims that “most Americans agree with the author of Harry Potter that there are only two genres.” Pulse Opinion Research, which FiveThirtyEight has found generally less accurate than other polls, asked 1,000 respondents, “Do you agree with JK Rowling, or is it ‘hate speech’ to say that? there are only two genres? Of the 75% who said they agreed, 63% strongly agreed, 18% disagreed, according to Rasmussen. And News week reported last week that even amid all the negative press, Rowling’s bank account “has grown by a substantial amount over the past year,” with the Sunday Times London estimating its value at $ 1.1 billion.

It all started in 2019, with Rowling’s tweet defending anti-trans activist Maya Forstater: “Dress however you like. Call what you want … but force women to quit their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill »

She went into more detail on her blog in 2020 and continues to tweet anti-trans sentiments as late as this month, tweet your objection the Scottish Police policy allowing those accused of sex crimes to self-identify their gender.

Media reviews have also included performers, like “certainly not straight” comedian Nicole Byer, who calls author “JK-KKK-Rowling” in her Netflix stand-up special.

The charges of transphobia just seem to bounce off Rowling and only serve to reinforce her portrayal of herself as a victim, as when a fan tweeted an apology for thinking she was transphobic but saying “you only defend women”. Or when she turned last month’s protest by pro-trans rights activists and actors outside her home in Scotland into a complaint that she was the target of doxxing and death threats.

Although she has avoided politics, Rowling’s name has been dragged into Dr. Oz’s campaign for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania. He called his remarks about trans people “very courageous.”

This all happens days before HBO Max Harry potter special reunion, scheduled for January 1 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rowling’s first film based on the books. Notably, she will be absent, and an HBO spokesperson did not respond to a request from the Los Angeles Blade for clarification as to whether Rowling chose not to participate or was uninvited by the producers. The main stars – which Rowling helped launch – have all spoken out against his comments. The trailer for the special doesn’t even mention his name.

Even the new trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore from 2022 only mentions his name in a tiny, small print production credit. But the New York Post quotes “multiple sources” as saying Rowling will indeed appear on the reunion show – but only in archive footage.
As any trans person knows, names do indeed matter. And when Quidditch chooses its own name, there is a lesson Rowling could learn if she wishes, says the from the Washington Post Molly Roberts: “That refusing to recognize transgender people for who they are will not turn them into anything else either. “

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