Watch LIVE

Harvard scholar branded 'transphobic' for sticking to 'biological reality' refuses to back down amidst outcry

News
Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Harvard University lecturer Carole Hooven has hit out at critics who say she's transphobic for condemning fellow professors for reportedly refusing to use the terms "male" and "female" out of fear of offending students and peers.

Hooven, also an author, lectures for the school's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology.

What's a brief history here?

Hooven, who has taught at the Ivy League school for more than 20 years and holds a Ph.D. from the school, said that she's standing her ground because she believes it's important to remain true to "biological reality."

Hooven appeared on "Fox & Friends" last week where she blasted medical professors for refusing to use biologically correct terms to refer to men and women.

"This kind of ideology has been infiltrating science," she told the outlet, noting the importance of the biological differential that exists between males and females.

The lecturer added, "Part of that science is teaching the facts, and the facts are there are in fact two sexes. There are male and female."

Following her discussion on the Fox News show, Harvard colleague Laura Simone Lewis — and others — hit out at Hooven.

"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," Lewis complained on Twitter. "Let's be clear: If you respect diverse gender identities & aim to use correct pronouns, then you would know that people with diverse genders/sexes can be pregnant incl Trans men, intersex people & gender nonconforming people. That isn't too hard for medical students to understand."

What are the details?

This week, Hooven told the the College Fix that she will not back down from the truth.

"We an be caring and sensitive to the needs and identifies of everyone, while also sticking to biological reality," she insisted. "I will continue to speak out when I think it might have some positive effect on science education and, ultimately, human thriving."

Hooven also hit back at Lewis' insistence that she is transphobic and said that she does not "patronize" her students or "tell them what to think about controversial social issues."

"Instead," she explained, "I try to create an environment in which students are motivated to seriously engage with the evidence and arguments I present. In my long experience, this usually works."

She also told the outlet that she, too, had to put aside personal feelings and inherent biases earlier in her education and career, but was able to do so for the sake of science.

“Some of the topics I teach about are sensitive and controversial, like our reproductive biology, the relationship of hormones to sex and gender, and the biological underpinnings of sex differences in behavior," Hooven said. "As a graduate student, I was at times deeply offended and upset when encountering new ideas, especially ones with strong personal relevance; for example, hypotheses about the evolutionary origins of sexual assault. So I know how it feels."

She added, "But I had to learn how to put my emotions aside and dispassionately analyze evidence. This wasn't easy but learning how to do it ultimately empowered me, and helped me to become a clearer thinker and a better scientist. I learned to think this way because of caring professors who treated me as a rational adult."

Most recent
All Articles