Title 9 3/4
In the Harry Potter series, quidditch teams are not separated by gender, and neither are the teams in US Quidditch. Title 9 ¾ is an advocacy and awareness branch of USQ that ensures the policies implemented by USQ promote gender equality and inclusivity. Title 9 ¾ gets its name from both the fictional platform to get to the Hogwarts Express and the US law that seeks to prevent gender discrimination in sports, Title IX.
Why Title 9 ¾ is Important
When all genders are able to compete equally on the pitch, they will learn to respect and value each other’s abilities regardless of gender identity. It is well researched that sports participation improves the lives of those who identify as or are perceived as female, and levels the “playing field” not only in sports but in every aspect of society. Quidditch takes those benefits a step further by promoting a sport that is truly free of gender-based restrictions, rather than evenly segregated between men and women (as it currently exists under Title IX). Title IX additionally continues to exclude those who do not identify with the binary gender system. Through Title 9 ¾, USQ is more inclusive to trans* individuals by using gender as opposed to sex in policies. We understand that the process of transition is a very personal (and expensive) decision, and is influenced by many factors, none of which are, or should be, because a sport requires it. USQ also hopes to be a positive example for other sport leagues as well as a way to positively influence how players view other genders.
USQ's GENDER MAXIMUM RULE
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. This number increases to five once the seekers enter the game. 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. This is commonly referred to as the gender maximum rule. (Rulebook 10 Section 1.5)
This gender maximum rule ensures that teams are working to recruit and to field a team that has diversity; the rule is also written in such a way that it does not exclude individuals who do not identify within the gender binary. USQ accepts those who don’t identify within the gender binary, and acknowledge that not all of our players identify as male or female. We welcome people of all identities and genders into our league.
The gender-integrated sport of quidditch is already changing lives and perceptions for the better. Here are some quotes from players in the community that illustrate the importance of continuing to promote gender equality in quidditch:
I think quidditch is a great step in the right direction. I've always felt girls and guys should be on equal playing field, and people have always disagreed with me. I've seen people change their mind on the issue just by watching a game, and it's great to hear people go from saying 'She's great, for a girl’ to 'She's a great chaser.’ It makes a difference.”
The fact that quidditch is a co-ed sport is one of the reasons why I keep playing. It's a wonderful and unique aspect that I think benefits from a community of players that don't treat men and women differently and would let them both play even if the rules didn't make them do so.”
My understanding of myself as agender has come about recently, and whilst I wouldn't say quidditch helped in making that happen, had I been involved in a sport which was not as accepting, it may well have been restricted.”
I think that gender-integration makes quidditch possible. It was myself and two girls who originally started our team, and I would never have been able to do it without them. Additionally, I think the acceptance that USQ consistently reinforces creates the kind of environment where all players are welcomed, regardless of gender, sexual-orientation, ethnicity, etc. Gender equality is the platform for those other forms of equality as well.”
The End Game
Through Title 9 ¾, USQ aims to:
- Use the growing popularity of quidditch to challenge the way our world thinks about gender in sports and athletics.
- Inspire other sports leagues and athletes to reconsider their gender regulations and in turn effect broader positive change in gender equality worldwide.