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Alexander Chen

  • Legal Fight Brews Over Ban on Medical Care for Transgender Kids

    April 28, 2021

    A legal fight is looming over Arkansas’s new law banning doctors and other health-care professionals from providing transgender minors with gender-affirming care. The law threatens to discipline and potentially revoke the licenses of doctors who flout it. It also bars state and local funds from going to doctors who provide people under the age of 18 with gender-affirming care and allows private insurance companies to deny coverage for gender transition procedures, which is broadly defined to include prescription drugs like hormone treatments...The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution requires states to treat individuals equally under the law. But Arkansas’s law bans providers from prescribing puberty blockers, which LGBTQ advocates say give children, parents, and their doctors more time to assess best treatment options. Puberty blockers are used in all sorts of children who are experiencing precocious puberty, or puberty too soon, said Alexander Chen, founding director of Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic. “This law says it’s so bad for transgender kids to get puberty blockers that doctors have to lose their licenses for it, but it doesn’t say anything about the the use of puberty blockers for cisgender children to treat precocious puberty,” he said.

  • Gender-Affirming Care Doesn’t Just Help Trans Youth Survive. It Allows Them to Flourish.

    April 8, 2021

    An op-ed by Alexander Chen“Where are your gym clothes?” “I lost them.” “Again?” my mom said, exasperated. I knew it would be frustrating for her, replacing my gym clothes for the third time that year as a single mom. I hadn’t really lost my gym clothes, though. I knew exactly where they were—wedged behind the tall bush at the back of the school property, where I’d lobbed them right before PE class. The last two sets had been “lost” in similar fashion—tucked under a stairwell, secreted behind a tree—each time so I wouldn’t have to go to PE that day. The reason I dreaded going to PE was that, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was a transgender boy. All I knew was I hated the changes that were happening to my body during puberty. I hated that we had to change in the locker rooms. I hated having to wear the gym clothes because they were more revealing than the bulky clothes I wore to school every day. And I hated the gender-segregated teams and activities, where I was forced to play “girls” sports rather than “boys” sports. The thing was, aside from the gender dysphoria, I really liked PE. I liked running and hiking. I was an excellent third baseman. I enjoyed developing teamwork and camaraderie with my friends. But the gender-related anxiety would build and build, culminating in these moments of blind panic where I would chuck my gym clothes into a bush right before class.

  • Two rainbow flags waving in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    A milestone in LGBT rights

    June 17, 2020

    In a 6-3 vote, the Court ruled that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act forbids job discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation and gender identity. Alexander Chen ’15, founder of HLS' LBGTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, discusses the significance of the landmark decision.

  • Rainbow flag backlit by sun

    LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic launches at Harvard Law School

    January 28, 2020

    Harvard Law School has announced the launch of the new LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, to be led by HLS Lecturer and Clinical Instructor Alex Chen '15, a tireless advocate in recent years in efforts to protect and expand LGBTQ+ civil rights.