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Harvard Med School falls silent, won’t clarify why it opposes Trump admin’s definition of sex

The medical school claims defining sex as an ‘immutable condition determined at birth’ is ‘medically inaccurate,’ but won’t say how

Earlier this month, Harvard Medical School released a statement condemning the Trump Health and Human Services Department’s move to explicitly define sex “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” Yet since releasing the statement, the medical school has refused to clarify why specifically it opposes the proposed rule, and the school has also refused to divulge what it teaches its medical students about biological sex.

The College Fix acquired a copy of Harvard’s full statement via email wherein the school claims that defining sex as an immutable characteristic is, among other things, “medically inaccurate.”

“Harvard Medical School is staunchly opposed to any efforts by federal agencies to limit the definition of sex as an immutable condition determined at birth. This definition would be overly simplistic, medically inaccurate and antithetical to our values as healthcare providers.”

“Moreover, it demonstrates blatant disregard for federal civil law protections of transgender people,” the statement continues. It promises that the medical school “will be unwavering in safeguarding the rights of individuals regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.”

Despite the strong stance taken in this statement, Harvard Medical School has been outright unwilling to answer any questions about its position on biological sex. Repeated emails asking if the medical school equates gender with sex and whether they instruct their obstetricians to not identify babies as male or female for fear of being “medically inaccurate” were ignored outright.

Gina Vild, a spokeswoman for the school, initially provided The Fix with the full statement, but she stopped responding to further emails seeking clarification on the school’s position.

The Fix proceeded to reach out to the medical school for a comment with further emails, phone calls, and online form submissions. Nobody from the school responded.

The entirety of Harvard Medical School’s Faculty Council (forty-three members in total) ignored The Fix’s email queries. In total, over fifty emails to school officials went unanswered.

One Harvard Medical School faculty member, Dr. Robert Goldstein, who is also the medical director for a newly created Transgender Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, initially told The Fix via email that he would be “happy to talk about [the issue] further,” writing that he had been in touch with the members of Harvard Medical School who had crafted the school’s response. However, he quickly stopped responding to The Fix‘s emails after his initial reply

While Harvard Medical School would not explain how their condemnation of biologically immutable sex manifests in their governing procedures and policies, the school boasts a longstanding Joint Committee on the Status of Women, houses a Department for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, and publishes subscription-based, gendered newsletters Harvard Men’s Health Watch and Harvard Women’s Health Watch on a monthly basis.

MORE: Critical questions about transgenderism remain unanswered

MORE: Women’s college changes definition of ‘woman’ in new admissions policy

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About the Author
Sarah George -- Georgetown University