JK Rowling is willing to put a lot on the line for her transphobia, including returning an award given to her last year by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization.
Rowling was unhappy that the organization’s president, Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of slain senator Robert F. Kennedy, publicly admonished the bestselling British author for her transphobic views.
Earlier this month, Kerry wrote on the RFK Human Rights organization website about her disappointment with Rowling, pointing out how the author repeatedly expressed fear over transgender people using restrooms aligning with the gender identity, cast doubt over transgender identity, and even liked a tweet that expressed opposition to conversion therapy.
“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 wrote.
“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. The science is clear and conclusive: Sex is not binary.
“Trans rights are human rights. 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. As well, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…” Women’s rights are not degraded by the recognition of trans rights. On the contrary: A commitment to human rights demands a commitment to combat discrimination in all its forms.”
Kennedy pointed out how her father’s namesake organization has worked extensively to combat homophobia and transphobia, so Rowling’s words stood in clear conflict with their mission. In addition to their work in Africa and Latin America, Kennedy said, “We are suing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to stop his illegal efforts to erase the rights of transgender people from official U.S. foreign policy. Later this year, we will launch Workplace Dignity, a program that focuses on the behaviors and actions that honor the dignity—the inherent value and worth—of all people in the workplace.”
Rowling was so angered by Kennedy’s statement that she decided to return her “Ripple of Hope” award. Rowling wrote on her website that many people agree with her position that transgender rights threaten cisgender women.
“I am deeply saddened that RFKHR [Robert F Kennedy Human Rights] has felt compelled to adopt this [pro-transgender] 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.”