Fenway responds to bans on Center for Disease Control use of words including ‘transgender’ and ‘diversity’

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters

The Washington Post reported on Friday that U.S. Centers for Disease Control officials have been banned from using the words “transgender,” “diversity,” “entitlement,” “vulnerable,” “fetus,” “science-based” and “evidence-based” in official documents related to the 2019 budget.

In response, Boston’s Fenway Health issued the following statement today:

“These reports of restrictions on the use of language by public health officials at the CDC are deeply troubling. It does not matter whether there is an outright ban based on ideology, or whether the list originated as a strategy to gain support for the CDC budget among Republican conservatives. Telling public health officials working to prevent Zika, HIV and other diseases what words they can use is Orwellian. It is not what we expect to see in a democracy, and such policies—whether they are formal or informal—harm public health.

“Disease treatment and prevention must be driven by science and evidence. That includes the proper use of terminology, such as ‘transgender,’ which describes a population that bears a disproportionate burden of sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV, and which also experiences barriers to accessing competent and affirming health care. Accommodating intolerance of people who are transgender by discouraging the use of accurate language is extremely dangerous.”