Harvard University’s co-director of undergraduate studies complained about being wrongly accused of prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.
Carole Hooven claims she has been accused of transphobia. This is because she refuses to use the politically correct term “pregnant people” and insists on referring to genders as “male and female.” The lecturer does not mean to disrespect anyone.
“We can treat people with respect and respect their gender identities and use their preferred pronouns,” she said according to Fox News. “Understanding the facts about biology does not prevent us from treating people with respect.”
Hooven believes accusing her of prejudice will only make it harder for her to educate students.
“[It is] incredibly confusing for science educators and for students, trying to learn about the world and learn the tools of science and critical thinking,” she said according to the broadcaster.
The lecturer suggested professors and mainstream media should avoid using certain words out of fear they might offend others.
“That fear is based in reality,” she said. “People do find these terms offensive; they do complain on social media; they do shame people and even threaten to get people fired.”
However, the director of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force at Harvard’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology disagrees.
“I am appalled and frustrated by the transphobic and harmful remarks made by a member of my department in this interview with ‘Fox and Friends,'” Laura Simone Lewis said on Twitter.
As the Director of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for my dept @HarvardHEB, I am appalled and frustrated by the transphobic and harmful remarks made by a member of my dept in this interview with Fox and Friends: https://t.co/kiBwkaqLGM#medtwitter— Laura Simone Lewis (@LauraSimoneLew) July 30, 2021
“I respect Carole as a colleague and scientist but this dangerous language perpetuates a system of discrimination against non-cis people within the medical system,” she added. “It directly opposes our task force work that aims to create a safe space for scholars of all gender identities and sexes.”
Lewis continued her social media rant, demanding Hooven shows more respect by doing as she is told.
“It is vital to teach medical students gender inclusive language, as they will certainly interact with people that identify outside the gender binary,” the task force director said.
Friction between the professors sparked heated debate across the university, and broader community, about whether inclusive language is truly respectful.
“It is just another way to dismiss women,” KayR said on Twitter. “As it stands trans have pushed women (real women) to the end of line. Everything we have fought for is now a joke.”
It’s just another way to dismiss women. As it stands trans have pushed women (real women) to the end of line. Everything we have fought for is now a joke.— KayR (@Kellyring) August 1, 2021
Another social media user believes politically correct terminology deprives biological women of their positive human qualities.
“Using pregnant people is not inclusive language, it is dehumanizing language for women,” Lauralis said on Twitter. “Patriarchy has not named women for thousands of years, now employing a new strategy to make us invisible and erase the importance of sex in social inequality.”
Using pregnant people is not inclusive language, it is dehumanizing language for women. Patriarchy has not named women for thousands of years, now employing a new strategy to make us invisible and erase the importance of sex in social inequality pic.twitter.com/Wex009UVoh— lauralis (@Lalauralis) July 31, 2021
“It is two sides ‘not’ participating in the ‘same’ argument,” another user added. “You are arguing from feelings, they are arguing from bioscience.”
The lecturer refuses to use the term “pregnant people” and still insists on defining genders based on biology.
“The ideology seems to be that biology really is not as important as how somebody feels about themselves, or feels their sex to be,” she said.
“There are in fact two sexes–there are male and female–and those sexes are designated by the kind of gametes we produce,” she added. “Part of that science is teaching the facts.”