JK Rowling returns human rights award to group that denounces her trans views

I hate it when artists who produce work I enjoy turn out to be really scummy bigots.  I can excuse some who were writing, painting etc long ago as just being a product of their times.  But when you are current and people are calling on you to try and change your bigotry it is a different story.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/28/jk-rowling-robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award-trans-views

Author ‘follows my conscience’ after head of Robert F Kennedy Human Rights group says her views are transphobic


Fri 28 Aug 2020

JK Rowling is returning the Ripple of Hope award given to her last year by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) organisation after its president, Kennedy’s daughter, criticised her views on transgender issues.

The award, which is for people who have shown a “commitment to social change”, was presented to Rowling in December for her work with her children’s charity, Lumos. On receiving the award, Rowling called it “one of the highest honours I’ve ever been given” and said “Robert Kennedy embodied everything I most admire in a human being”. Previous winners include Barack Obama, archbishop Desmond Tutu and Joe Biden.

But earlier this month, Kerry Kennedy, a lawyer and president of RFKHR, put out a statement describing her “dismay” over what “deeply troubling transphobic tweets and statements” made by the Harry Potter author.

In early June, the author wrote a series of comments on Twitter laying out her views on gender identity, including one that said: “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.” These comments were condemned by LGBT charities, as well as several actors who have worked in the Harry Potter franchise. Rowling then wrote a highly personal essay revealing her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault, in which she argued that trans women who have not undergone hormone therapy or surgical transition should not have access to single-sex spaces.

In her statement Kennedy said that Rowling’s comments “had the effect of degrading trans people’s lived experiences”, and 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,” wrote Kennedy, adding that she had spoken with the author to express 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, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community”.

On Thursday, Rowling announced on her website that she would be returning the 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,” Rowling wrote. “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 said that Kennedy’s statement “incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people”.

The author said she had received “thousands of private emails of support … from people affected by these issues, both within and without the trans community” and that she “absolutely refute[s] 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”.

“RFKHR has stated that there is no conflict between the current radical trans rights movement and the rights of women,” said Rowling. “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.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/28/jk-rowling-robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award-trans-views

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Trans women pose no threat to cis women, but we pose a threat to them if we make them outcasts

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/10/trans-rights-feminist-letter-rebecca-solnit

Growing up in San Francisco, the loudest, proudest queer town around, made it clear to me that gender was what you made of it


Mon 10 Aug 2020

Dear ladies who are fearful and hostile to trans women,

That I grew up and spent most of my life in San Francisco I consider one of my greatest strokes of luck, because it was in its heyday the loudest, proudest queer town around. Even as a straight girl, maybe especially as a straight girl, I benefited endlessly from that. I went to my first gay bar here when I was about 14, with a gay man who was the kindest person in my adolescence. The drag queens who were his friends were also kind, and fortysomething years later my life in and around the queer community has been largely an experience of kindness. Of kindness and liberation, because all these people made it clear to me that gender was what you made of it, and biology is not destiny, and that was really helpful.

As I’ve watched transphobia explode in the American right and the British whatever, I’ve thought over my own experience. San Francisco has been for a century or so a sanctuary city for dissident, rebel and queer people, so I suspect I have lived my whole adult life in a place with more trans people per capita than almost anyplace else. Transphobes are always warning us that if trans people live in peace and legal recognition and even have rights, there will be terrible consequences, but I assume that we here have long realized, at least to some extent, that dreaded future, and we’re all fine.

Despite this, people – many of whom are supposed to be feminists – keep coming up with lurid “what ifs”. My response to them is: trans women do not pose a threat to cis-gender women, and feminism is a subcategory of human rights advocacy, which means, sorry, you can’t be a feminist if you’re not for everyone’s human rights, notably other women’s rights.

Second wave feminism produced the classic 1972 children’s album Free to Be You and Me, which I’d like to point out was not titled Free to Be Me But I Get to Define You. Back then we thought gender really was kind of binary and defined by genitals; science has gotten smarter in the decades since and we now know it’s a complex interplay of chromosomes, hormones, primary and secondary sexual characteristics and other stuff, some of which is in the brain, not the pants, and also that quite a significant number of people are born intersex, and some are misgendered at birth, and male and female never were airtight categories anyway. Cultures from Native America to India have long recognized that there are other ways to be gendered. This complexity and fluidity can be a blessing and it’s something feminism embraced when it demanded that “woman” not be a category be so tightly defined by roles, relationships, appearances and limits set upon our options.

At this point in my life I have trans friends and nonbinary friends, bisexual, gay and lesbian friends who are poets and photographers, doctors and nurses, climate organizers and professors and historians and one gay Buddhist priest who’s also a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, speaking of San Francisco things I’m proud of. I’m not speaking for any of them; so many queer and trans people have already spoken up eloquently, but perhaps there’s something useful for a cis-gender straight woman to say to other cis-gender women, which I’m gonna say as someone who is also a hardcore feminist: the major threat to women, straight or not, cis- or not, always was and still is straight men and patriarchy.

Every category is leaky and there are exceptions to every rule, but that’s where the lion’s share of violence against women comes from, as rape and domestic violence and harassment and murder. One of the really weird fears about trans women is that they’re men pretending to be women to do nefarious things to other women, but that’s either a fear of straight cis-gender men who do horrific things to women incessantly all over the world, in which case the problem is still straight men, or a deep misunderstanding of what trans women are. And yes, men who want to harm women could dress up as women, but they could also pretend to be repairmen or emergency workers to get into our homes, and actually have, and we haven’t banned repairmen and emergency workers yet.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/10/trans-rights-feminist-letter-rebecca-solnit

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Joe Biden formally accepts Democratic nomination for president

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Kamala Harris’ full speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention

Wow, Just Wow.  And She Too cited “The Beloved Community”

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President Barack Obama speech at the Democratic Convention | Joe Biden For President 2020

I remember in the 1960s when we marched for Peace and for Civil Rights how we spoke of a “Beloved Community”

Brothers, sisters, people I fear for my country and how four years ago we allowed the election of an immoral, unethical monster.

America depends upon our getting out there and electing Biden and Harris for the sake of all that is good and decent.

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Michelle Obama’s full speech at the Democratic National Convention | 2020 DNC Night 1

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AMERICA WAKE UP – George Carlin – American Dream 2020

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