The controversy arising out of J K Rowling’s transgender comments ceases to end. Recently, the Harry Potter author announced that she would be returning the Ripple of Hope award. It was awarded to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) organisation. The decision comes after Kennedy’s daughter expressed her displeasure on Rowling’s transgender views.
In a statement put out by Kennedy, she wrote: “Over the course of June 2020—LGBTQ Pride Month—and much to my dismay, J.K. Rowling posted deeply troubling transphobic tweets and statements. 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?” Almost a week later, she wrote a series of tweets that had the effect of degrading trans people’s lived experiences.”
This is what Rowling had to say in response, “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. 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.” She further said that Kennedy’s statement “incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people”.
“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,” she added.