The joint statement from USQ and MLQ said they hoped the name change would help them to "continue to distance themselves from the works of JK Rowling", who they say "has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years."

Two US Quidditch leagues are to change their names in order to “distance” themselves from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, following her public statements on the primacy of women’s rights over the rights of self-identified transsexuals.

Quidditch first appeared as a fictional sport, played by wizards on flying broomsticks, in her book series. The real-life version is a fast-paced contact sport, played by more than 450 teams in over 30 countries. A spokesman for the author pointed out these Quidditch leagues had not been endorsed by Rowling in the first place.

In a joint statement first reported by The Times, US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) said they would now decide on new names for the game. The newspaper said possible alternative options put forward by USQ include Quickball, Quicker, Quidstrike and Quadraball.

Britain’s chattering classes have been consumed with battles on social media, in the press and in universities across the kingdom over whether people who identify as women but were not born female should have the same rights as those who were born with female sexual organs. The dispute concerns not only people who have had surgical and pharmaceutical interventions to change their gender, but equally those who self-identify as women. The question that often comes up in the debate is whether sex and gender are interchangeable.

Last summer, Rowling retweeted an opinion article that discussed “people who menstruate,” taking issue with the fact that the story did not use the word women. “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth,” she tweeted. “The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women—i.e., to male violence—‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences—is a nonsense.”

She continued, “I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. 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.”

(with assistance from the Associated Press)

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