The transgender character Sirona Ryan has caused quite a stir in the Harry Potter fandom due to her inclusion in Hogwarts Legacy. Where such inclusionary actions would usually be celebrated, Sirona only furthered the call to boycott the game due to the perceived transphobia her inclusion has represented.

Whenever new media diversifies its characters and strive to be inclusionary in its depiction of its characters, it's usually met with a positive response from the LGBTQ+ community. But that's not the case with the inclusion of Sirona Ryan in Hogwarts Legacy, Wizarding World of Harry Potter's first transgender character.

For the LGBTQ+ community, Sirona Ryan's character is more than just an inclusionary insert made by the developers to distance themselves from JK Rowling's harmful remarks and actions towards transgenders. But there's more: the name Sirona Ryan itself has been criticized for a number of reasons. The etymology of the name Sirona traces back to a Celtic goddess, associated with healing. While the name itself is feminine, critics emphasized how Sirona's symbols have always been snakes and eggs, and they see this as a euphemism that the creators of the character still see the person as a male person, in spite of all physical characteristics and the way the character presents herself.

Another criticism comes from the selection of the variant Sirona, instead of the other possible variants of the name like Đirona and Thirona, which critics see as an effort to include the word “Sir” in the name. The character's surname, Ryan, was also subject to criticism, thanks to its traditionally masculine connotations, its etymology that means “King”, and how speaking the name in full but in haste could lead to persons calling her “Sir Ryan.”

Some might dismiss these criticisms to be quite the reach and might argue that the inclusion of a trans character in Hogwarts Legacy by itself is a milestone worth celebrating. But if such a character has been included as a form of mockery, then it should be rightfully criticized. After all, JK Rowling has had an infamous history of using problematic and stereotypical names for her characters, like Cho Chang for a character of Asian descent, or Kingsley Shacklebolt for a black character.

JK Rowling also used the pseudonym Robert Galbraith while writing The Ink Black Heart, a novel that has been criticized for being transphobic, with a pseudonym that refers to a deceased psychiatrist infamous for using deep brain stimulation to “convert” homosexuals to heterosexuality. Rowling claims that her use of the name Robert Galbraith is not a reference to the psychiatrist, but was simply a coincidence, but given her track record, it's hard to believe her.

So, all in all, there's precedent to these claims, and it's hard for anyone to overlook this pattern of behavior.

Meanwhile, prior to the game's full release, developers Portkey Games said in an IGN interview that “The team felt that it was very important to create a game that is representative of the rich and diverse world of Harry Potter as well as the groups of people who play games, which includes the LGBTQIA+ community.” Giving the developers the benefit of the doubt, the efforts would have been noble if only the execution had not been so carelessly done. But with the game now out and the damage done, we'd say that this attempt at representation has been a massive L for Hogwarts Legacy.

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As for the boycott itself, it hasn't been successful, as Hogwarts Legacy has been successful in both fan reception and critical acclaim, as fans and gamers alike oppose the idea that playing the game supports transphobic movements and disagree that boycotting the game leads to a positive impact on the transphobic community. Regardless of how these gamers feel, it's important to note that transgender activists have repeatedly stressed that they would feel more supported if people didn't consume any more of the Wizarding World products, as regardless of personal stances towards transgender acceptance, the mere act of consuming these products indirectly funds anti-trans movements and is therefore harmful.

Months after Hogwarts Legacy's release, the controversy surrounding Hogwarts Legacy was rekindled following transphobic reactions from video game streamers who have asked for refunds after learning that Starfield allows players to choose their pronouns on its character creation screen.

Hogwarts Legacy is out on PC through Steam and the Epic Games Store, as well as on PlayStation and Xbox consoles. The game was originally released back in February on PC, PS5, and the Xbox Series X, with its previous-gen console ports released months later in May. A Switch port was eventually released on November 14, 2023.