Hogwarts Legacy introduces first trans Harry Potter character and LGBTQ+ gamers are unimpressed

Sirona Ryan, Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy is to introduce the first-ever transgender character to the Harry Potter franchise amid rising calls to boycott the game.

Screenshots showing trans character Sirona Ryan in the game have been shared ahead of its release on Friday (10 February).

The open-world Harry Potter video game has become quite possibly one of the most controversial video game releases ever over the course of its development due to its association with author JK Rowling, who has been routinely criticised for her views on trans rights.

Not only that, but various issues surrounding the development team Avalanche Software – including its former lead designer having previously run a far-right YouTube channel – have left a sour taste in the mouths of fans.

Various recordings of Sirona Ryan have been shared across social media, showing her role in the game as a sympathetic barkeep working at a local tavern named The Three Broomsticks.

According to reviewers, there’s currently no voice actor credited for the character.

You may like to watch

Click here to join our new PinkNews Alerts WhatsApp group for daily digests of our top LGBTQ+ news and features.

While trans representation is incredibly important, this appears to be one of the few instances where the LGBTQ+ community isn’t exactly thrilled about a trans character’s inclusion.

Various LGBTQ+ users on social media complained that the Hogwarts Legacy character felt forced in an effort to repair the reputation the Harry Potter series has in the trans community.

“You can tell a trans character was added so the developers could be like, ‘Look, look see’, because you speak to them in the overworld and their first voice line is like, ‘I always knew I was different, ever since I was a child,'” trans streamer Devon said.

Journalists James Stephanie Sterling and Liam Robertson allegedly spoke to developers within Avalanche Software, who reportedly said the character was “performative bulls**t”.

Both journalists were allegedly told by in-house employees that Sirona Ryan was included to “pivot the conversation away from [JK Rowling]” and that she barely features in the game.

PinkNews has contacted publisher Warner Bros interactive for comment.

Others took issue with the character’s name, saying that it compared to other notoriously problematic character names within the Harry Potter universe.

Trans Twitch partner and podcaster Laura Kate Dale said: “Of course, the wizard game’s trans woman character starts with sir, and ends in a masculine coded name.

“Like, this is par for the course for Harry Potter as a franchise.”

Some have compared it to the Asian character Cho Chang and the Black character Kingsley Shacklebolt, who have been criticised for their names.

In response, development studio Portkey Games – who has worked on the project – said it was a “high priority” to ensure the game felt diverse from the get-go.

“Offering players choices in the way they play the game is an element that we have worked on since the start of development,” a spokesperson said to IGN.

This is despite there being effectively no prior marketing of the trans character or the option to create trans custom characters outside of leaks, which Portkey said was intentional.

“As with most of the game, we want players to discover all of the different elements of the story and gameplay as they play through it.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.