J.K. Rowling returns human rights award after group calls her statements transphobic

(Above photo via Rowling’s Facebook)

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling announced on her website Aug. 27 that she would be returning her 2019 Ripple of Hope award after the bestowing organization’s president called statements Rowling made transphobic.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) President Kerry Kennedy wrote on the organization’s website Aug. 3 that “much to my dismay, J.K. Rowling posted deeply troubling transphobic tweets and statements.”

Kennedy highlighted examples of tweets and essays Rowling shared across her social media and website starting last June that stated women are “people who menstruate” and that letting trans women into bathrooms would “make natal girls and women less safe.” Kennedy also referenced a tweet Rowling had liked opposing a bill to ban conversion therapy in Canada.

“I have spoken with J.K. Rowling to express my profound disappointment that she has 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—one that disproportionately suffers from violence, discrimination, harassment, and exclusion and, as a result, experiences high rates of suicide, suicide attempts, homelessness, and mental and bodily harm. Black trans women and trans youth in particular are targeted.”

Kennedy concluded her letter with a call for everyone “to work together to create a world in which every person is able to grow and thrive without limits imposed by artificial barriers or discrimination of any type.”

“At Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, we will not cease in our efforts to realize that world,” she wrote.

Rowling posted a response to her website, stating ” RFKHR has stated that there is no conflict between the current radical trans rights movement and the rights of women. The thousands of women who’ve got in touch with me disagree, and, like me, believe this clash of rights can only be resolved if more nuance is permitted in the debate.”

Rowling goes on to state she is returning the Ripple of Hope award bestowed upon her last year “in solidarity with those who have contacted me but who are struggling to make their voices heard.”

“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 wrote.

The hashtag #IStandWithJKRowling started trending Aug. 28. Although the hashtag indicates support for the author, most tweets condemned Rowling for her transphobic stance.

After Rowling’s June tweets, many actors who have worked on the Harry Potter film franchise came out in support of transgender rights including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Eddie Redmayne, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Chris Rankin and Katie Leung.

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