Richard Dawkins stripped of award amid ‘anti-trans’ comment row

Richard Dawkins pictured at The Royal Society in London on 16 December, 2015.
Richard Dawkins pictured at The Royal Society in London on 16 December, 2015.
Rex Features

Richard Dawkins has been stripped of an award following a row triggered by comments he made about trans people.

In a statement, the American Humanist Association Board (AHA) said they had “voted to withdraw” the biologist’s Humanist of the Year award, for making statements that “demean marginalised groups.”

The statement read: “Richard Dawkins has over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups.

“His latest statement implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient. His subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity.”

While AHA did not specify what statement they were referring to, it seems likely they are referring to an incident that took place earlier this month.

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Posting on Twitter, Dawkins sparked controversy after he compared transgender people to Rachel Dolezal – a white woman who infamously appropriated a Black identity while pursuing Black activism.

He tweeted:

In response, numerous people pointed out that his argument was far from nuanced, and that it was not possible to compare race and gender.

Now, AHA has weighed in and have removed his accolade.

The statement continued: “The AHA board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honoured by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award.”

Dawkins originally received the award in 1996 for his work as a science communicator. While he has continued to post on Twitter, he does not appeared to have responded to his award being stripped.

And it is not the first time he has made controversial comments about transgender people. Here are a couple:

Oh dear.

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