Harry Potter Creator JK Rowling Returns Kennedy Family Award

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has returned her Kennedy Family Award. Continuing the summer of controversy, the YA media mogul is now giving back her Ripple of Hope Award that she got from the human rights organization late last year. Kerry Kennedy, now president of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights org, criticized the author’s transphobic comments and rhetoric in a lengthy post on the organization’s website. In the post, Kennedy joined a host of fans who were very disheartened and disappointed by Rowling's words and actions during Pride Month of this year. In response to all that criticism, the influential children’s author doubled down and in her latest act chose to give back her award rather than apologize.

“Over the course of June 2020 — LGBTQ Pride Month — and much to my dismay, J.K. Rowling posted deeply troubling transphobic tweets and statements,” a statement posted on the organization’s website earlier this month read. “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 talked about her conversation with 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.”

Rowling would continue to respond to the fervor to give back the award with a statement on her website.

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“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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