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Ready your broomsticks, but don’t mount up just yet. The U.S. Quidditch Cup, which was set to be held in Round Rock, Texas, next year, may relocate due to pending Texas legislation.
In the years since Harry Potter’s debut, fans have developed a muggle-friendly version of the wizarding sport Quidditch, and like other sports, there’s an annual national competition: the U.S. Quidditch Cup. The event is hosted in a different city each year, and after this year’s event in Kissimmee, Florida, U.S. Quidditch (the sport’s governing body) announced the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex would host the 2018 tournament April 14-15.
But that may change, with some Texas lawmakers pushing a so-called “bathroom bill” similar to one that landed North Carolina in hot water with businesses, entertainers, and sporting events. Senate Bill 6 would require Texans to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings, and public universities based on their “biological sex”—a rule many believe is deliberately discriminatory against the transgender community.
Supporters of the bill say it is needed to protect women and girls from men who wish to prey on them in women’s bathrooms. Opponents say that no evidence has been given to back up claims that any threat exists—in fact, research has show it’s actually transgender people who are at risk. Similar legislation approved by North Carolina had disastrous results for the state that could add up to billions in lost job growth, sporting and entertainment events, and tourism. Many businesses and sporting bodies, including the NCAA, opposed what they considered to be discriminatory legislation.
Similarly, organizers of the U.S. Quidditch Cup said that they will be keeping an eye on the pending legislation, and a number of backup plans are in place if any “gender-based discriminatory legislation” is passed.
Quidditch, the most popular sport in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, is described by the USQ as a “contact sport with a unique mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag.” We muggles may not be able to take to the air, but the broomsticks that players use as they traverse the field are a requirement at all times.
Title 9 3/4, an advocacy and awareness branch of USQ, ensures that the policies implemented by USQ “promote gender equality and inclusivity.” Their gender maximum rule states “A quidditch game allows each team to have a maximum of four players who identify as the same gender in active play on the field at the same time… The gender that a player identifies with is considered to be that player’s gender, which may or may not correspond with that person’s sex.”
Texas Harry Potter fans may still see U.S. Quidditch in their own backyard—if the legislation is stopped. Hundreds gathered to protest SB6 during the Texas legislature’s regular session in March, and transgender advocates will likely be back to fight the bill if and when it comes up in special session.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.