Celebrity

JK Rowling dropped from school house name after students reject anti-trans rhetoric

Nola Ojomu January 4, 2022
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JK Rowling attending HBO's 'Finding The Way Home' World Premiere in 2019

JK Rowling attending HBO's 'Finding The Way Home' World Premiere in 2019 (Getty/Anadolu Agency)

A school in Essex has chosen to rename a house that previously honoured JK Rowling after students rejected her views on trans lives.

The Boswells School announced plans to review the name of its Rowling house “following numerous requests by students and staff… and in light of JK Rowling’s comments and viewpoints surrounding trans people” in July.

According to MailOnline, a newsletter about the change read: “The Boswells House System embeds a sense of community, friendship and healthy competition amongst both students and staff.

The message continued: “Here at the Boswells we have 6 Houses which are represented by British citizens who have excelled in an area of our Boswells Learning Bridge which includes integrity, emotional intelligence, grit, resourcefulness, self-discipline and bravery.”

It reportedly made clear that Rowling’s views on trans lives “do not align with our school policy and school beliefs – a place where people are free to be”.

Other house names paying respect to Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Hawking, Charlotte Bronte, John Travers Cornwell VC, and Florence Nightingale are still in place.

The JK Rowling book has now been published - and it includes some extremely problematic elements
JK Rowling. (Walter McBride/WireImage)

Rowling had represented the quality of “self-discipline”. However, her name has now been replace with that of Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes, MailOnline reports.

It comes after an East Sussex school made a similar move in February, choosing to drop Rowling’s name from one of its houses.

Parents received a note – which was marked as being from students – said the author did not “represent the school’s core values”. Winston Churchill was also dropped from the name of one of the Sussex school’s houses.

JK Rowling’s repeated comments about the trans community have prompted backlash from the LGBT+ community and its allies, including stars from the Harry Potter film franchise.

In 2019, the author voiced her support for a woman who pursued legal action to have “gender-critical views” protected under the UK Equalities Act.

The following year, in a June 2020 tweet, Rowling blasted an op-ed that used gender-neutral phrases.

She also published a lengthy essay on her website where she claimed to have “deep concerns” about the “effect that the trans rights movement” was having on the education and safeguarding of children.

In December 2021, Rowling remarked on reports of a Police Scotland chief saying the force would not misgender trans people accused of rape in light of new self-ID proposals.

“War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman,” Rowling wrote on Twitter.

Her tweet was immediately met with harsh criticism, with Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness accusing the author of “cherry-picked vitriol”. She has repeatedly denied that she is transphobic.

Following her most recent comments, quidditch organisations are working to change the name of the sport.

The real-life sport is inspired by the fictional game played by witches and wizards riding flying broomsticks in the Harry Potter series. It was created in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont and is now played around the world.

US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) said in a joint news release that they will be dropping the now-famous name, citing Rowling’s “anti-trans positions” as a driving factor behind the name change. A new name has yet to be decided.

More: Harry Potter, JK Rowling

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