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This distorts the content of a Harvard Medical School class and what it teaches about infants.
The four-week elective course doesn’t discuss gender identity or sexual orientation in infants. Instead, it teaches students how to provide medical care for babies who have physical variations in sex development that can arise in the uterus and are present at birth, according to the school. These include chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical variations.
Harvard University has come under scrutiny after reports that it offers a course teaching students how to care for babies who identify as LGBTQ.
"This is not a joke," a man says in a TikTok video with the label "Harvard med students learn how to care for LGBTQIA+ infants." The TikTok video also was shared on Facebook, and the claim was amplified on that platform by conservative commentator Candace Owens.
The man reads aloud a Jan. 11 story from a conservative blog called Hot Air that claims a Harvard Medical School elective teaches students about babies with various gender identities or sexual orientations.
But the blog post and several other stories from conservative news outlets distort the content of the course, which does not teach students that babies can identify as LGBTQ.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
Harvard Medical School’s four-week course, titled "Caring for Patients with Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities, and Sex Development," trains students to care for patients of all ages, according to its description. The class has been offered since 2016.
When it comes to infants, the class teaches only about the physical development of babies who are born intersex, Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, the associate professor who teaches the class, told The Associated Press.
Intersex is a general term used for a variety of physical conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male. The conditions may or may not be noticeable at birth.
In a statement, Harvard Medical School said the claims "neglected to mention that some infants are born with variations in sex development."
The school’s statement said the course teaches about providing care for infants who have "physical variations in sex development that arise in utero and are present at birth. These include chromosomal, gonadal, and anatomical variations, all of which are relevant to medical care and treatment to ensure healthy development."
A TikTok video claims that Harvard Medical School is teaching students how to care for infants who identify as LGTBQ.
It is not. When it comes to infants, the class teaches how to provide medical care for babies who are born intersex, meaning a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit typical definitions of female or male. Babies born intersex have physical variations in sex development that can arise in utero and are present at birth.
We rate this claim False.
TikTok post, Jan. 11, 2023
Hot Air, "Harvard med students learn how to care for LGBTQIA+ infants," Jan. 11, 2023
Facebook post, Jan. 18, 2023
Harvard Medical School, IND510M.3 Caring for Patients with Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities, and Sex Development, Accessed Jan. 19, 2023
The Associated Press, Harvard med school class isn’t about ‘trans infants’, Jan. 18, 2023
Intersex Society of North America, What is intersex?, Accessed Jan. 20, 2023
Harvard Medical School, Response to reports about HMS medical education course, Jan. 11, 2023
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