"I feel I have no option but to return the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon me last year," the Harry Potter author said on Friday. She added that she was "deeply saddened" by the conflict between her and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights nonprofit.
Rowling added that no award, no matter how meaningful, would cause her to "forfeit the right to follow the dictates of [her] own conscience." The writer added that any accusations of transphobia leveled against her were "incorrect."
The author's decision to hand back the award was provoked by Kerry Kennedy's criticism of Rowling's approach to trans issues.
"To my dismay, JK Rowling posted deeply troubling transphobic tweets and statements," Kennedy wrote on the organization's website. She was specifically upset over the famous "people who menstruate" incident, when in July, Rowling spoofed the overly descriptive 'politically correct' phrase, which in her opinion just meant "women."
Kennedy said she had spoken with Rowling to express her "profound disappointment." She accused the writer of "diminishing" the identity of trans and nonbinary people, and "undermining the validity and integrity" of these communities.
Rowling has for a long time been accused of transphobia, following her comments stating that she fears children are being peer-pressured into gender reassignment. This gained her the label of a 'TERF' – or trans-exclusionary radical feminist – from social media commenters for asserting that biological sex shouldn't be denied. No amount of criticism seems to have altered her public position.
In July, the writer even united with some other public figures in signing an open letter in support of free discourse and against 'cancel culture.' The initiative did find some public support, but notably some potential co-signatories were 'canceled' out of the process.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.