JK Rowling Harry Potter-min
[Photo by John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com via Wikimedia Commons]

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling made headlines earlier this year over her controversial comments towards the transgender community.

Now, Rowling is returning her 2019 Kennedy Human Rights award after Kerry Kennedy denounced the author’s comments.

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Back in December, Rowling faced massive backlash for tweeting in support of Maya Forstater who lost her job for misgendering trans people. Following this, she then began following and liking a number of anti-trans accounts and sentiments including “self-professed transphobe” Magdalen Berns on Twitter.

More recently, back in June, she shared an article titled Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate with a caption mocking the phrase “people who menstruate.”

“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Earlier this month, Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Organization, released a statement regarding Rowling’s previous comments.

“From her own words,” Kennedy says. “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 further denounces Rowling’s thoughts in the statement and says that “trans rights are human rights.”

“The science is clear and conclusive: Sex is not binary,” she continues. “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.”

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Kennedy also expresses her “profound disappointment that she has chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and nonbinary people.” As well, she notes that Rowling previously liked a tweet that opposed a bill to ban conversion therapy in Canada.

Now, Rowling has returned her 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award following Kennedy’s comments.

In a lengthy statement posted on her website, Rowling denies that she is transphobic. Instead, she restates her controversial stance and cites that “a growing number” of “experts and whistleblowers”  are “concerned about the huge rise in the number of girls wanting to transition.”

“Kerry Kennedy recently felt it necessary to publish a statement denouncing my views on RFKHR’s website,” Rowling says. “The statement 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.”

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Rowling received the organization’s Ripple of Hope Award in 2019. The honor celebrates leaders in business, activism and entertainment “who have demonstrated a commitment to social change. And reflect Robert Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, and his belief that each of us can make a difference.”

The incident has led to #IStandWithJKRowling to trend on Twitter. Although some individuals are showing their support for the Harry Potter author, others are using the hashtag to express their thoughts on her past comments.

What are your thoughts on Kerry Kennedy’s statement regarding J.K. Rowling’s past comments? Let us know in the comments below.