As part of her refusal to back down on her stance against aspects of transgender ideology, author J.K. Rowling humbly returned her 2019 Ripple of Hope Award to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization after its president called her a transphobe.
In a memo posted on the organization’s website in early August, Kerry Kennedy, the president, strongly criticized Rowling’s “troubling transphobic tweets” from earlier this summer, alleging that she used her gifts as a writer to demean transgender people.
“Over the course of June 2020 — LGBTQ Pride Month — and much to my dismay, J.K. Rowling posted deeply troubling transphobic tweets and statements,” Kennedy said. “On June 6, she tweeted an article headlined ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.’ She wrote glibly and dismissively about transgender identity: ‘People who menstruate.’ ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’”
Kennedy emphasized that she herself “categorically” rejects the concept that people’s birth sex is “the primary and determinative factor of one’s gender.”
“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,” she concluded.
Kennedy seems to have been referring, in part, to Rowling’s Twitter post from June in which the author essentially argued that the idea that biological sex “isn’t real” serves to erase the “lived reality of women.”
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” Rowling tweeted. “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
“The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence — ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense,” she continued.
In response, Rowling penned a heartfelt essay about her experiences as a woman, arguing that the orthodoxy of the radical transgender movement is eroding womanhood.
“It isn’t enough for women to be trans allies,” she wrote. “Women must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves. But, as many women have said before me, ‘woman’ is not a costume. ‘Woman’ is not an idea in a man’s head. ‘Woman’ is not a pink brain, a liking for Jimmy Choos or any of the other sexist ideas now somehow touted as progressive.”
After Kennedy’s sharp rebuke dismissing her as an unapologetic bigot, Rowling posted on her own website that she rejects all condemnations of her as a transphobe and vowed to give the Ripple of Hope award back to the organization.
“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,” she said. “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.”
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