Late last year, the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) organization honored Rowling with their Ripple of Hope award. The prize is typically given to those who have shown a “commitment to social change.” Past recipients include Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
However, in the time since receiving the award, Rowling has done the exact opposite of positively changing society. Instead, the Harry Potter author has repeatedly attacked transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming communities with her wrongheaded opinions on gender identity and sex.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” Rowling said in June. “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.”
She followed up that absurd commentary with a massive 3,600-word pro-TERF manifesto, and then argued that gay people who are struggling with mental health issues are being misguided into undertaking “a new kind of conversion therapy” that involves hormones and surgery. Rowling also likened hormones — a common gender-affirming step in trans people’s transitioning process — to anti-depressants, and called those who used anti-depressants as “pure laziness.”
The backlash against Rowling was swift — and even came from longtime Harry Potter fans. Additionally, all three principal Harry Potter actors — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint — spoke out against Rowling.
The president of RFKHR, Kerry Kennedy, also felt moved to denounce the controversial author, per The Guardian. The daughter of Robert F Kennedy said that Rowling’s comments “had the effect of degrading trans people’s lived experiences,” adding that her “attacks upon the transgender community are inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFKHR and represent a repudiation of my father’s vision.”
“The science is clear and conclusive: sex is not binary,” continued Kennedy. She also expressed her “profound disappointment that she [Rowling] has chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and non-binary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community”.
As a result of Kennedy’s incisive statements, Rowling has chosen to relinquish her Ripple of Hope human rights award. “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 explained, reports The Guardian.
“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.”
Rowling contended that RFKHR was wrong about her, and that Kennedy “incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people” — further confirming that the 55-year-old hasn’t learned a damn thing in the last few months and is undeserving of such an award in the first place.