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UK school drops J.K. Rowling name amid trans row

By AFP
05 January 2022   |   12:53 pm
A British school has dropped J.K. Rowling's name from one of its houses because of the "Harry Potter" author's controversial views on transgender issues.

This file photo taken on June 23, 2011 shows Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling posing for photographers during the launch of her new project ‘www.pottermore.com’ in central London. The creator of a wizarding empire which has dazzled the world, J. K. Rowling struggled through hardship to become an unrivalled children’s author with a global voice. Now 20 years since “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was first published, inspiring a generation of young readers — and their parents — it is hard to imagine Rowling before the seven Harry Potter books.Carl COURT / AFP

A British school has dropped J.K. Rowling’s name from one of its houses because of the “Harry Potter” author’s controversial views on transgender issues.

The Boswells School in Chelmsford, eastern England, said it had changed the name of its red house from Rowling to Holmes, in honour of Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

“At The Boswells School we foster a vibrant, inclusive and democratic school community, where we encourage students to develop into independent, confident citizens,” said headmaster Stephen Mansell.

“In autumn 2021, we reviewed and renamed one of our school houses following numerous requests from students and staff, as well as a whole school vote.”

A newsletter last July from the school, for pupils aged 11-18, said its six houses are “represented by British citizens who have excelled”.

“However, following numerous requests by students and staff we are reviewing the name of our red house ‘Rowling’ and in light of J.K. Rowling’s comments and viewpoints surrounding trans people.

“Her views on this issue do not align with our school policy and school beliefs –- a place where people are free to be.”

Rowling has been involved in a simmering row with the transgender community over her belief that women’s sex-based rights should be protected.

The dispute began around two years ago when the author tweeted against use of the phrase “people who menstruate”, rather than only women.

The message caused a rift with some of the stars of the “Harry Potter” movies, including lead actor Daniel Radcliffe, who tweeted an apology on her behalf.

Rowling denies being transphobic and in November revealed she had received a flood of death threats over her statements on transgender issues.

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