Who is Carole Hooven? Harvard professor dubbed transphobic for saying there are only two sexes

Hooven appeared on Fox News to vent about being frustrated about educators being asked to use gender-neutral terminology

                            Who is Carole Hooven? Harvard professor dubbed transphobic for saying there are only two sexes
Harvard professor Carole Hooven's comments on Fox News were dubbed 'transphobic' by the director of her department's diversity and inclusion task (Harvard)

Harvard professor Carole Hooven and her comments during a Fox News interview were dubbed as 'transphobic' by the director of her department's diversity head on July 30. Hooven insists on using the terms male and female and Laura Simone Lewis, the director of Diversity and Inclusion Task of the evolutionary biology department hit back at Hooven for doing so and disregarding transgender people. Hooven's insistence to use the term 'pregnant women' instead of an accomodating 'pregnant people' was what sparked Lewis's response. 

Talking about educators who believe in two sexes only, Christian teacher Byron Cross from Virginia was placed on administrative leave by the school district for saying he won't affirm trans kids as it would mean defiling the image of God. He got his job back after the school received pushback from parents who sided with Cross's views. Former Olympian and mayoral hopeful Caitlyn Jenner was dragged on social media for saying trans girls should not compete in female sports. On the other hand, actress Jamie Lee Curtis said she and her husband Christopher Guest were proud to watch their son Thomas transform into a woman. Curtis's younger child now goes by the name Ruby


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Who is Carole Hooven?

Carole Hooven is a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. According to a report, she has been at the prestigious university for 18 years and has been awarded multiple teaching awards. According to her Facebook profile, she studied at Harvard till 2004 before taking up the teaching position. She is from Weston but is now settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "My research Interests include behavioral endocrinology and evolution of sex differences in humans (physiology, behavior and cognition)," her bio on Harvard's website states.

Hooven appeared on Fox and Friends on July 28 where she said the university insisted educators use gender-neutral terminology and were discouraged from using the words male and female. "I've been feeling pretty frustrated over the last five years or so. It's been gradual," she said. "I've been feeling pretty frustrated over the last five years or so. It's been gradual," she said adding that her lessons were focused on hormones and behavior, sex and sex differences. She went on the show to shine a light on a book she published on July 13 titled 'T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us'. 

"Part of that science is teaching the facts. And the facts are that there are in fact two sexes - there are male and female - and those sexes are designated by the kind of gametes we produce. Do we make eggs, big sex cells, or little sex cells, sperm. And that's how we know whether someone is male or female. And the ideology seems to be that biology really isn't as important as how somebody feels about themselves, or feels their sex to be." 

In another interview, Hooven said she didn't have an issue with addressing people with their preferred pronouns and respecting their gender identity. However, being asked to use gender-neutral terminology was what she didn't agree with. She said political correctness was "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 it wasn't right to "start backing away from using certain terms that they are afraid people will find offensive and that fear is based in reality. People do find these terms offensive; they do complain on social media; they do shame people and even threaten to get people fired. So it's no wonder that a lot of people are caving and yielding to social pressure. But we are doing students and the public a great disservice, and dividing the populace," she added. 

Her comments didn't settle well with Lewis who took to Twitter on July 30 to denounce them. "'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's first tweet read. In a follow-up, she wrote, "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."

"Inclusive language like 'pregnant people' demonstrates respect for EVERYONE who has the ability to get pregnant, not just cis women. It is vital to teach med students gender-inclusive language, as they will certainly interact with people that identify outside the gender binary," Lewis wrote in another tweet after which she said many like her were trying hard to make the department a better/safe place for everyone. "I respect Carole as a colleague & scientist. But this dangerous language perpetuates a system of discrimination against non-cis people within the med system. It directly opposes our Task Force work that aims to create a safe space for scholars of ALL gender identities and sexes," Lewis tweeted. 





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