The Harry Potter Franchise has a seriously stoked fan-base across the borders. The series still gives us some serious feels of nostalgia and we loved it! But when JK Rowling recently went off passing transphobic comments, we had to step up and call out one of our favourite authors for saying the wrong things. So now, the big question remains. Would you make a distinction between the author and their work? Do you think you would consider the work as a separate entity that can be enjoyed even though the author could be transphobic? Would you play Quidditch?
Let’s Play Muggle Quidditch
The muggle Quidditch began back in 2005. As in the Harry Potter books, this is a real-life Quidditch game that has many people invested. It became so big in two years that the first-ever Quidditch World Cup took place! In real the game requires two teams of seven players. And like in the books, people do play it on a broomstick. Although, they don’t fly. They run around in a hockey-sized pitch.
Emma Humphrey, a Quidditch played from New Zealand recently moved to London. The transfer was solely for the purpose of playing the sport but more competitively. RNZ Summer Report covered the incident where she said that it was “the only full-contact mixed-gender sport” that made it more inclusive than the other competitive sports out there.
Humphrey added, “When I say mixed-gender sport I mean male, female and everyone in between. So you’ve got trans … agender, and people in transition as well.”
“We do attract a lot of people from the LGBT+ community… Because generally when you look at most segregated sports, they’re not given a platform to get some serious competition.”
The International Quidditch Association (IQA)
International Quidditch Association (IQA) stated that “Quidditch is an inclusive sport that does not accept any kind of discrimination. All Quidditch athletes have the right to define how they identify and it is this stated gender that is recognised on pitch.”
“Many players have found, for the first time, a team sport that recognises them as they are. The ‘four maximum’ rule of Quidditch states that there may be no more than four players of the same gender on pitch at one time, ensuring the sport is inclusive to all genders and that gender diversity is always maintained on the field of play.”
But since Quidditch was introduced to us all by JK Rowling through the Harry Potter saga, the inclusivity of the game and JK Rowling’s homophobia seems to be on opposing sides.
Transphobic JK Rowling?
In 2019 December, the entire internet stood with shock as JK Rowling tweeted that supported a woman who legally wanted to protect “gender-critical views” under the UK Equalities Act.
In this case, gender-critical views were also anti-trans views which made the argument pretty transphobic. And Rowling decided to back up the woman, Maya.
“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”
But to be fair, Quidditch is a game that supports equality and inclusivity allowing everyone to be a part of it. And even though Rowling is the reason for the buzz around Quidditch, people have decided to enjoy the game for what it is. And since the game or the Association does not provide to Rowling’s livelihood, we can happily live in the dreams of Harry Potter instead of the transphobic reality of Rowling.
The Quidditch teams also came out and said that they will not be following suit and will distance them from Rowling.
Siding with the Trans
When the Harry Potter author passed anti-trans comments, the only German Quidditch team, Düsseldorf Dementors tweeted: “In light of the current situation we would like to declare that we stand with trans people… that we will always have a place for people of any gender.”
They also said, “As Quidditch players we cannot truly deny where our sport originates from. And we don’t necessarily have to.
“We may enjoy a story even if we have little to no regard for the author… JKR may have created that world, but she does not get to dictate how we experience it.”
Living the Dream
The world of sports is a difficult field already. And a majority of the sports even today are divided and categorized based on gender. Speaking for the community, coming out of the closet as a sportsperson or having a political stance related to legal LGBT+ issues are already difficult. So having games like Quidditch that are all-inclusive can help push forth ideas of equality. Would you separate the art from the artist? Especially if it doesn’t affect the artist?