Embattled Harry Potter author JK Rowling has announced that she is handing back her Ripple of Hope award from the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organization after its president Kerry Kennedy criticized her views on gender and trans issues.
Earlier this month, Kennedy she had spoken with Rowling to express her “profound disappointment” over comments made by the author, which she said “diminish the identity of trans and non-binary people”.
“From her own words, I take Rowling’s position to be that the sex one is assigned at birth is the primary and determinative factor of one’s gender, regardless of one’s gender identity – a position that I categorically reject,” Kennedy added in a statement published online.
Rowling has long provoked an angry response to her views on gender identity. In June, a tweet from the author was widely criticized as being transphobic, eliciting high-profile responses including from Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
In a new statement posted to the author’s website in response to Kennedy’s comments, Rowling said the org’s president had “incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people”.
“As a longstanding donor to LGBT charities and a supporter of trans people’s right to live free of persecution, I 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,” she wrote.
“In solidarity with those who have contacted me but who are struggling to make their voices heard, and because of the very serious conflict of views between myself and RFKHR, I feel I have no option but to return the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon me last year,” Rowling added.
The Ripple of Hope Awards “celebrates leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who have demonstrated a commitment to social change and reflect [founder] Robert Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, and his belief that each of us can make a difference,” according to its official website.
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