Australian players of ‘Quidditch’ – the sport made famous in JK Rowling‘s Harry Potter novels – have voted to rename it ‘Quadball’ in a bid to distance themselves from the author over her views on trans rights.
Members of Quidditch Australia, the sport’s governing body, voted in favour of changing their name to ‘Quadball’ at their annual general meeting in December last year.
It follows other Quadball organisations across the world who made a similar move last year.
Players of real-life Quidditch must run with a broom between their legs because – unlike the wizards in JK Rowling’s books – they lack the ability to fly
But artist and writer Alexandra Marshall blasted the decision as ‘delusional, disingenuous and vacuous’.
‘They were never playing “Quidditch” because none of them have magical broomsticks,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It was a name appropriated from the Harry Potter series by an international body using JK Rowling’s fame, presumably as a marketing ploy, and now they’re worried that Generation Snowflake is offended.’
The fictional sport, which first appeared in Rowling’s world-famous Potter books, involves schoolchildren who are wizards and witches competing to snatch a tiny golden ball on flying broomsticks.
In real life, players run around with brooms between their legs and the Golden Snitch is a tennis ball hidden inside a long sock hanging from the shorts of an impartial official dressed in yellow.
The sport, which started in 2005 and is now played by nearly 600 teams in 40 countries, has never been endorsed by Ms Rowling.
Last year, the sport’s global governing body, the International Quidditch Association, announced it would change the name after Ms Rowling came ‘under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions’. National governing bodies across the world followed suit.
Now Australia has followed in their footsteps after Natalie Astalosh, of the Sydney City Serpents, submitted a motion for the name change to Quidditch Australia – as it was then called – late last year.
‘This name change distances the sport from its Harry Potter origins, reaffirms the community’s commitment to support and champion trans and gender diverse members, and opens new commercial opportunities for the sport’s sustainable expansion,’ she wrote.
She added: ‘Failing to embrace “quadball” as our new name would be a backwards step in the sport’s history in this country; it is time to move into this new era with the international community.’
Quadball – a version of the game played in the Harry Potter novels called Quidditch – is now played by nearly 600 teams in 40 countries
Quadball Australia’s website and social media accounts have been altered to reflect the name change. However, their merchandise and Wikipedia page still refers to it as Quidditch.
Ms Williams, who writes for The Spectator Australia, mocked the move.
‘I notice our Australian team is called “The Dropbears”,’ she said.
‘Aren’t they worried about the associated imagery of a monstrous tree-bear falling onto tourists and tearing them to bits? Nah.
‘It’s easier to be offended by one of the most successful authors in human history who has done so much – quietly – for those less fortunate than her.’
Ms Rowling provoked controversy when she mocked the trans-inclusive phrase ‘people who menstruate’ in 2020.
‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people…’ she wrote on Twitter.
‘Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
Critics have accused Ms Rowling of being transphobic, an allegation which she strongly denies
She 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 her of being transphobic, an allegation which she strongly denies.
Stars of the Harry Potter films, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, have all distanced themselves from her in the wake of her comments and spoken in support of transgender people.
However, some have stuck up for her.
Robbie Coltrane, who played the beloved Hagrid in the films, died following multiple organ failure aged 72 in October last year.
Prior to his death, he bucked the trend and spoke out in support of Ms Rowling.
‘I don’t think what she said was offensive, really,’ he told Radio Times.
‘I don’t know why but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended.
‘They wouldn’t have won the war, would they? That’s me talking like a grumpy old man, but you just think, ‘Oh, get over yourself’.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the newly-named Quadball Australia for comment.