A Harvard University office devoted to LGBT issues reportedly has issued a flier telling students that gender identity can change as frequently as “day to day.”
The flier from the Ivy League schools BGLTQ Student Life office, headlined “Get the facts about gender diversity,” informs readers that “Sex assigned at birth and gender identity are not necessarily the same,” Campus Reform reported Thursday.
The flyer adds that “gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, and/or how one is perceived in daily life.”
The document also seems to categorize speech that challenges or disagrees with transgenderism as “violence.”
“Transphobic misinformation is a form of systemic violence,” read the document, which included examples of the alleged verbal violence: “Fixed binaries and biological essentialism, manifest in gendered language, misgendering someone, and the policing of trans bodies, threaten the lives of trans people.”
The reference to “fixed binaries” appears to have in view the notion that a person’s gender identity is dependent on an unalterable binary — male or female — scheme.
According to the Oxford Reference website, “biological essentialism” is “The belief that ‘human nature’, an individual’s personality, or some specific quality (such as intelligence, creativity, homosexuality, masculinity, femininity, or a male propensity to aggression) is an innate and natural ‘essence’ (rather than a product of circumstances, upbringing, and culture).”
It’s unclear the weight the new flyer has in terms of regulating student conduct, but Harvard, a private institution not held to the higher free speech standards of state-owned institutions, has language in its student-conduct policies which permit disciplining students for offensive speech related to gender identity.
“Behavior evidently intended to dishonor such characteristics as race, gender, ethnic group, religious belief, or sexual orientation is contrary to the pursuit of inquiry and education,” reads a Harvard statement on freedom of speech, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a libertarian academic watchdog.
“Such grave disrespect for the dignity of others can be punished under existing procedures because it violates a balance of rights on which the University is based,” the Harvard statement said.