Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling has returned an award she received just last year from the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organization after its president criticized Rowling’s opinion on transgender issues.
Last year, the organization awarded Rowling the Ripple of Hope.
A humanitarian honor that recognizes “leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who have demonstrated a commitment to social change and reflect Robert Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, and his belief that each of us can make a difference.”
After Rowling published an essay earlier this year that explained her belief that contemporary trans activism was “doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it”, organization president Kerry Kennedy accused Rowling of “degrading trans people’s lived experiences”.
In an official statement posted to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization’s official website, Kennedy claimed that Rowling had “chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and nonbinary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community.”
Kennedy further asserted that “J.K. Rowling’s attacks upon the transgender community are inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFK Human Rights and represent a repudiation of my father’s vision.”
In response to Kennedy, Rowling published her own statement that criticized how the organization’s president “recently felt it necessary to publish a statement denouncing my views on RFKHR’s website.”
As she claimed that the “statement incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people,”.
Rowling continued and said that she would “absolutely refute the accusation that I hate trans people or wish them ill, or that standing up for the rights of women is wrong, discriminatory, or incites harm or violence to the trans community.”
“Like the vast majority of the people who’ve written to me, I feel nothing but sympathy towards those with gender dysphoria, and agree with the clinicians and therapists who’ve got in touch who want to see a proper exploration of the factors that lead to it,” explained Rowling.
Rowling then chose to stand “In solidarity with those who have contacted me but who are struggling to make their voices heard,” and announced that she had “no option but to return the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon me last year.”
“I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” Rowling concluded.
As of writing, the organization’s official website features no mention of its 2019 laureates, of which Rowling was a member, and promotional material for the upcoming 2020 entry of the awards ceremony has chosen to focus instead on the nominees and winners from 2018.
What do you think of this back and forth between the famed author and human rights organization?