Friday, September 15, 2006

Harvard, Truth, and Transgenderism

Speaker at "Transgender Rights" rally at Harvard, 4-19-06.
(Photo: InNewsWeekly. See entire photo gallery from rally.)

As we all know, Harvard's motto is Veritas, or Truth. While researching a little forum with the Democrat Governor candidates held on Sept. 12 at the Harvard Law School, we encountered that lovely Veritas seal once again -- on the Harvard Law School Lambda (GLBT) group's website. A new "truth" they are inventing is that "transgenderism" or "gender identity" is something to be protected, and anyone who shows any discomfort or opposition to it will soon be guilty of a "hate crime." Chris Gabrieli and Deval Patrick both agree. Though we're sure they can't define the terms either!

What struck us as we cruised around the Harvard pansexual web sites was that they are themselves uncertain what the Truth is on their own issues! First of all, could they please precisely, legally define "sexual orientation"? You'd think the Harvard Law students would be eager to do so. How about "bisexual"? Or "transgender"? Or "transsexual"? Or "gender identity"? Or "gender expression"? Or "genderqueer"?

Not even the Harvard administration answers this. Last April, Harvard made "gender identity" a "protected class." But what does that mean? We must assume the Harvard Corporation has studied the online Harvard student publication, "Trannys Talk Back" -- so why do we still see no definitions? The Crimson articles reporting this new policy only confuse us more, with a deluge of undefined, overlapping terms.
And why is the university-wide faculty/staff/student group called just the "
Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus"? What happened to Bisexual? Transgender? Genderqueer? We think the undergraduates must be guilty of biphobia and transphobia and genderqueerphobia for not including these practices in their names! The undergraduate group knows better. It not only calls itself the BGLTSA, but it provides a directory of all the "gender non-specific restrooms" on campus. Maybe their first Transgender 101 get-together will answer our questions:

Transgender 101 (Sept. 28, 7:30 pm) Location: Dunster JCR, J entry, to the right
What's the difference between transsexual, transgender and transvestite? How do I know what pronouns someone prefers? Is being transgender the same as being gay? Is intersex another term for transgender? Who determines what men and women are supposed to be? How do gender stereotypes affect us all? Come learn about these issues and more from members of the Transgender Task Force at this year's first Trans 101. Desserts will be served.

So is this what Harvard is ready to accept as the definition of "transsexual" (below, from the
National Center for Lesbian Rights)? It seems that Harvard (and some other universities) is already paying for hormone treatments for staff and students. So they must be including "transsexual" as part of "sexual identity." Unbelievable.

The existence of individuals who live as members of the other gender and whom we would now likely identify as “transsexual” has been documented throughout human history.[1] In contrast, the contemporary medical treatments that comprise sex-reassignment have only been available for about forty years. As a medical condition, transsexualism is defined as "the desire to change one’s anatomic sexual characteristics to conform physically with one’s perception of self as a member of the opposite sex."[2] Transsexualism is technically classified as a specific form of a broader psychiatric disorder termed "gender identity disorder," also known as “gender dysphoria.”[3] The only recognized treatment for transsexualism is medical, not psychiatric. The medically prescribed treatment for transsexualism consists of three components: (1) hormone therapy; (2) living as a member of the other sex (known as the “real life experience”); and (3) sex-reassignment surgeries.[4] As medical treatments for transsexualism have developed, transsexual people have sought—and, increasingly, received—legal protection in the areas of employment discrimination, marriage, child custody, health care, prison safety, hate crimes legislation, and asylum.[5]