Yesterday, we were introduced to the first transgender character in the Harry Potter series, courtesy of Hogwarts Legacy. Unfortunately, she follows the same infamous naming convention of other characters in the franchise, with many in the trans community saying that her name is a transphobic dog whistle.
Sirona Ryan is a particularly unique name, and not one that is going down well with the community at all. As soon as it was revealed, the name came under fire for being incredibly masculine, with some feeling that the first name starting with "Sir" was intentionally insulting.
Not long after she was revealed, Sirona quickly drew comparisons to some of the other awful names that have been used throughout the series. Perhaps the most infamous is Cho Chang, both of which are surnames, with one being Korean and the other Chinese.
With the name Sirona coming across as a transphobic insult, and Ryan being a masculine first name, it's easy to see why many are citing this as yet another example of Harry Potter's lazy and insulting naming conventions, up there with Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Anthony Goldstein.
It's not clear who came up with the name, and unlike the others we mentioned, we know that Rowling probably wasn't behind this one, having not worked on the game herself – which was presented as something of a selling point. We do, however, have Rowling to thank personally for Sirona's inclusion at all, as it was reported yesterday that she was only added to "pivot the conversation away" from discussions of the author's prolific transphobia.
As we can see now, that hasn't exactly gone according to plan. If anything both her name and the alleged reason she was added to the game have started another discussion of transphobia, and how even without Rowling's involvement, her beliefs are difficult to separate from Harry Potter.
With this in mind, it's also not clear if trans people were consulted on the writing of this character, or for any other aspect of the game. Back in 2020, it was mentioned that WB Games had talks with the director of trans media representation at GLAAD, but it's hard to believe that they would have greenlit the name Sirona Ryan. It is more likely that they were consulted for the game's character customisation, which is said to be trans-inclusive.
Neither the developer nor the publisher has commented on this latest controversy. In the official Hogwarts Legacy discord server, the moderators are actively discouraging users from discussing this matter too, so it doesn't seem that there will be a response anytime soon.
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