Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s War on Transgenders

650_child_2Lynn Conway is one of the trans community’s great heroes. An inventor and computer chip researcher, in the late ’60s she was fired from her job at IBM when she began to transition from a man to a woman. She decided to go “stealth” and start her life over again as Lynn. She quickly rose through the ranks and the Department of Defense began using her work on top secret projects. Her textbooks became canonical works on computer chip research, earning her tenure as professor emeritus at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In 1999, researchers linked Lynn’s current work to her earlier work at IBM and she came out as transgender. Since then, her website has been the go-to place for transgenders looking for the latest news about their community.

On Jan. 30th, she received a letter from Peter M. Jacobson, a lawyer for Dr. Kenneth Zucker, who is leading the revisions to the DSM-V, the standard text used by clinicians and psychologists to determine mental disorders. Zucker is accusing her of using libelous language in one of her web posts. The only problem? There’s nothing libelous on the site. Why is Dr. Kenneth Zucker trying to silence Lynn? And more importantly, why is he determined to make sure the psychiatric code book keeps saying that gender identity is a mental disease?

“[Zucker] was last year appointed to the DSM-V working group to help craft its sections on gender identity.”

The head of the child and adolescent gender identity clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, has made a career promising the parents of intersexed and transgender children that he can make them “normal”. His method, called reparative therapy, in which children are pushed into assigned gender roles and discouraged from behaving or dressing in a way that’s counter to their ‘assigned’ sex, was once standard practice, but in recent years, has been increasingly scrutinized. A 2003 report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry called his techniques “something disturbingly close to reparative therapy for homosexuals,” and author Phyllis Burke has questioned the idea that transgendered children should be treated as mentally ill, saying, “The diagnosis of GID in children, as supported by Zucker and [his colleague J. Michael Bailey] Bradley, is simply child abuse.”

And yet Zucker is not some fringe lunatic. In fact, he was last year appointed to the DSM-V working group to help craft its sections on gender identity, where he intends to use his position to further the idea that trans children can be shoe-horned into gender identities. The APA, responding to criticisms by LGBT activists, point out that Zucker does not advocate reparative therapy for teens and adults, not for gays and lesbians at any age, but only for the trans community. He is Public Enemy Number One to trangenders, who maintain that Zucker’s views that trans people are mentally ill are not just based on bad science, but harmful.

In January, Conway posted a link to a story on the website of the Organisation Intersex International (OII) which stated that the organization had been told by an individual that Zucker had sexually abused a child and that it had passed along that information to authorities. Days later, Conway received a letter from Zucker’s lawyer:


Zucker’s lawyer told Conway that they had contacted the University of Michigan and requested they shut down her site, but as Conway points out in her response:

“After boldly claiming that the allegations against Zucker are located within Lynn’s news-feed (which they are not), Jacobsen does a quick shuffle of the deck. He now says that the presumed allegations are actually contained in another website that Lynn simply links to – i.e. a page in the website of Organisation Intersex International (OII).

In doing so, Jacobsen claims that cross-website linkage is legally equated with website-inclusion, but Canadian case law says otherwise: Crookes v Wikimedia.

However, even that point is moot, because not even that secondarily-linked webpage in OII’s website makes the allegations against Zucker that Jacobsen alleges. Instead it simply reports the fact that such allegations had been previously received by OII personnel from a third party and had been turned over to Canadian authorities.

As readers struggle to follow Jacobsen’s tangled legal “logic” – and as they click on links from site to site trying to figure out what it all means – they can easily lose focus and simply assume that Jacobsen must know what he’s talking about. This is a well-known effect of “the big lie”: The bigger the lie, the more likely it is to be believed.”

So, Zucker’s threatening to sue not for anything Conway said, but because she linked to a site that said something that was factually accurate. But there’s more to this than a simple case of a lawyer not understanding basic case law. This week, the International Federation for Gender Education is having it’s annual conference in Washington D.C. and Conway is leading a panel today challenging Zucker’s inclusion. The panel will:

“Examine the stigmatizing Gender Identity Disorder (GID) diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the need for the elimination of GID from the DSM-V to oppose the continued pathologization of trans youth and adults; the sexualization of transwomen in the controversial theories set forth in the taxonomic classification known as autogynephilia; and the exploitation, colonization and appropriation that many cisgendered academicians have engaged in when researching and writing about transpeople’s lives.”

In short, the lawsuit isn’t about the website Conway linked to (which incidentally, has been posted on the internet for over eight months), it’s about discrediting a vocal and respected critic of his methods and his position at the DSM-V.

Conway writes:

“And as many news-feed readers may recall, as editor in chief of the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB) Zucker previously stooped so low as to exploit his power-position to subvert that journal into a propaganda tool to support his ASB colleagues against widespread complaints and internet blogging by the transgender community. In the process Zucker was exposed as conducting his own personal vendetta against Andrea James and Lynn Conway, two women who’ve been effective in exposing his reparatist treatment of gender variant children (more).

Zucker’s series of actions suggest that he is now motivated to suppress Lynn’s right of free speech (and especially Lynn’s ability to publish on the internet) by any means possible, in order to minimize his exposure as a trans-reparatist and suppress the escalating questioning of his selection to lead the DSM revisions. “

We see a lot of crazy homophobic and transphobic people here at Queerty, but rarely do we come across someone with as much power to do harm as Dr. Kenneth Zucker. His position at the DSM gives him huge influence on how transgendered and intersexed children will be treated by doctors for years to come and in light of his scare tactics, intimidation (never mind the allegations of child abuse), it’s shocking that the APA would allow someone with such dubious ethics and unsubstantiated views to rewrite the DSM.

Less than a generation ago, gays and lesbians were considered to be mentally ill and in need of treatment to cure them of their homosexuality and while there are still doctors treating gays and lesbians with “reparative” witch doctor therapies, the practice is considered immoral and scientifically unsound. The trans community, however, is still stuck in the dark ages, and Dr. Kenneth Zucker would like to keep it that way– and he’ll sue anyone who tries to challenge him.

Why is Zucker still at the DSM? Do you think the APA should remove him? How can the wider LGBT community support Conway and other trans leaders who are struggling to change the institutionally accepted view that they are mentally ill?

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  • ChristopherJ

    Wow, you ask the questions…

  • Brian Miller

    Jacobsen claims that cross-website linkage is legally equated with website-inclusion, but Canadian case law says otherwise

    Who cares what “Canadian case law” says? Conway is a US citizen, resident in the United States, and her web site is hosted here. Canadian law ends at the border, and Conway should invite Zucker and his lawyer to both consult the First Amendment — which, last time I checked, did not support their claim that criticism “exceeds the limit of free speech and public discourse.”

  • Hope_WA

    I think this is the most important part of the article: Why is Zucker still at the DSM? Do you think the APA should remove him? How can the wider LGBT community support Conway and other trans leaders who are struggling to change the institutionally accepted view that they are mentally ill?
    Why is Zucker still on the task force and chair of the Sexual and Gender Identity group?
    The trans community has spoken loudly and clearly on this issue, but hasn’t received support from the broader LGTB community or from the general public. For those who don’t think this is a gay or lesbian issue, any child who shows gender variance fits the criteria for GID in children. Many in the gay and lesbian community displayed this kind of behavior as children. A majority of children diagnosed with GID are not trans. The evil Dr. Zucker wants all those children treated with reparative therapy. He needs to go. The trans community has led the charge, now it is time for the broader LGTB community to respond as well.
    Do you think the APA should remove him?
    Yes, and they also need to remove his colleague at CAMH, Ray Blanchard.
    How can the wider LGBT community support Conway and other trans leaders who are struggling to change the institutionally accepted view that they are mentally ill?
    Start by writing the APA at 1000 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1825 Arlington, VA 22209 or calling them at 1-888-357-7924 and asking them to remove Zucker and Blanchard from the DSM V work group on Sexual and Gender Identity.

  • Jonathan

    This is of fucking disturbing:

    Why is Zucker still at the DSM?
    They obviously haven’t come under enough public pressure to get rid of him, and they are cowards without common sense or ethics.

    Do you think the APA should remove him?

    How can the wider LGBT community support Conway and other trans leaders who are struggling to change the institutionally accepted view that they are mentally ill?

    This post is a good first step, but I would urge that people post about this on other blog sites, and write to the APA. The address again is: APA at 1000 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1825 Arlington, VA 22209 (1-888-357-7924).

  • dgz

    haha! Good luck trying to get the University of Michigan to take action, Zucker ;) He’s in danger of waking the liberal-academic beast, including their ginormous psychology dept.

    And Brian is right, Canadian law (besides being generally wack, except for LGBT issues) is completely inapplicable — there isn’t a court in this country that would even consider it as serious persuasive precedent.

    But as for removing Zucker… that would be hard going. I wonder what level of control he really exerts over the DSM’s revisions, and whether it might be more meaningful if he simply lost the academic debate? Perhaps a review of his data would be helpful in bringing him down?

  • blake


    Actually, Americans can be sued in other countries’ courts. If the Americans fail to appear to defend themselves, the foreign courts can pass judgement (or in a criminal case pass sentence).

    For instance, several executives of Google and Yahoo! have been indicted in European courts for posting on their sites.

    The legal theory is that information may be posted on an American site but it is accessible via persons in Canada, for instance.

  • helen boyd

    FYI: using “transgenders” as a noun is unfortunate. as an adjective, e.g. “transgender people” is better.

  • Hope_WA

    If I was queen of the world, I would retitle the article “Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s War On Gender Variant Children” or “The Evil Dr. Zucker’s War On Everyone Who Doesn’t Fit Into The Stereotypical Models Of Masculinity Or Femininity.”

  • AladinSane

    @helen boyd:

    It’s the same as any plurality of people: gays, lesbians, blacks, whites, Democrats, firefighters, etc. Need I go on?

  • jhkvf

    From this article, it seems that the more-or-less undisputed facts are that someone accused Zucker of pedophilia, and Conway’s website provided a link to that accusation. Is that correct? Has the charge against Zucker been investigated? Is there any proof? Has he been convicted of anything?

    I think that the “all I did was provide a link to another website” defense is disingenuous. That would be like handing out leaflets or newsletters with the information (or disinformation) and then claiming innocence because you did not write or print the newsletter yourself.

    We all know that with charges such as these — pedophilia, rape, domestic violence, etc. — that the accusation itself can be terribly damaging, even if later proved false.

    I say this as a transwoman who has serious concerns about the methods that Zucker advocates. But I think that what’s called for is a thoughtful discussion of his methods and their outcomes, not an attempt to smear Zucker with personal accusations.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Brian Miller: Conway actually cited Canadian case law in her defense – it’s not Jacobsen using it to attack her.
    The precedent may not have any legal weight across the border, but if there is no contrary precedent in U.S. law it might be something they would consider.

    I re-read the article and didn’t see anywhere that Jacobsen had actually sued Conway in Canada or the U.S. (please correct me if I am wrong). It looks like his lawyer is just waving letterhead at her and at the U.S. university.

  • Hope_WA

    @rick: “as for trannies and bisexuals, i wish they would get off the gay/lesbian bandwagon. they are holding us back.”

    The issue here isn’t just a trans issue. From the DSM IV-TR, GID “In children, the disturbance is manifested by four (or more) of the following:
    (1) repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex
    (2) in boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing
    (3) strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex
    (4) intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex
    (5) strong preference for playmates of the other sex.”

    So, any effeminate gay child or masculine lesbian child could be diagnosed with GID In Children and tortured with reparative therapy. It isn’t a trans inclusion issue, it’s an issue that affects gay and lesbian children whether they are trans or not.

  • jacobsladderpa


    dear Hope_WA,

    i appreciate your informative response. i will write and phone the APA. I also think I can garner a great deal more support from the LBGT community and wider via facebook :)

    please contact me

    [email protected]

  • Distingué Traces

    Here’s me displaying my ignorance:

    Isn’t it the case that sex changes, hormones, and the various associated costs of transitioning are covered by insurance only because GID is considered a disorder requiring medical treatment?

    So, if Conway gets her way and GID is removed from the DSM-V, won’t transitioning then be classified as an elective surgery by insurers, and so not covered?

  • Evelyn

    @ Distingué Traces:

    Unfortuantely, the costs of transitioning AREN’T covered by almost all insurance plans. They are specifically excluded, despite GID’s inclusion in the DSM.

    @ Porky Poon:
    So having your tonsils taken out, removing a “sixth” finger or toe, or operating on a cleft palate are all smacks in the face to nature? They happen naturally, after all.

  • kelli Busey

    Zucker and his ilk have caused many transgender people as myself many, many years of pain. Transgender people thank you Japhy Grant for your article. Zucker must be removed. Now.

  • tavdy79

    @Brian Miller: & @dgz: European precedent (specifically Dudgeon V UK)was used as precedent in the Lawrence V. Texas decision.

  • Kid A,

    @rick: Fuck you, Rick. I’m a bisexual male in a 5-year relationship with a woman; I could play it straight, but instead I choose to live an honest and open life, putting myself into a situation immeasurably more difficult than what I’d have to go through otherwise. In my entire clique of queer friends, I’m probably the 2nd most politically and socially active. Fuck. You.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @dgz: Just noticed your swipe at Canadian law. There are certainly flaws in our system, but neither is U.S. Justice a perfect machine (though it does work very nicely in building a huge prison factory system).

    The Patriot Act? DCMA? Your recent Supreme Court ruling preventing juristictions from implementing firearms control? The Death Penalty? Three strikes?

    Even the “wacked” culture of attack litigation that inspired Zucker is a recent U.S. import to Canada. Please take if back; it’s not helping us.

    Seriously I like Americans, and I don’t want to distract this thread with a debate on our respective legal systems, but please don’t assume that yours is the pinnacle of design.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @strumpetwindsock: …scuse me… DMCA.

  • Kim

    “Do you think the APA should remove him?”

    Yes. And his german colleague Friedemann Pfäfflin too. These people do not respect “gender identity”. For example Pfäfflin believes that only a genital swap will change the gender of a person – so he describes transsexual women as “men”… “men with a psychic disorder”. If you speak german you can find some informations here:


    In this book-sequence he talks about “transsexual desire” – the “desire to become a women”. He and his evil friends of the DSM-group still don’t recognize, that if a transsexual girl speaks out “I am a girl”, that this sentence can be just a simple truth. It’s the denial of biological facts that not only the presence or absence of a penis shows what sex you are born, there are much more factors. It is interesting too, how many of these pseudo-experts are psychoanalyists – it’s a kind of a psychological school who is more ideology than science. In the 60ies they believed that homosexuals are mental ill, today they tell the world “transsexuals are mentally ill”… time to fight for your rights. Look:


  • Henry Hall

    In his letter to Lynn Conway, Kenneth Zucker’s attorney Peter Jacobsen writes: ” … the allegations [made] are false and highly defamatory to Dr. Zucker. Further more the posting has resulted in IRREPARABLE harm to his professional and personal reputation.” (EMPHASIS added).

    Either Dr. Zucker has instructed his lawyer to tell porkies on his behalf or we will soon see Dr. Zucker step down from DSM-V activity. After all, neither Dr. Zucker nor anyone else would want to see the revision of the DSM-V clouded and tarnished by being, in significant part, directed by someone whose professional and personal reputation has been harmed in a way that cannot be repaired.

    We will soon see, either attorney Jacobsen is telling the truth or he is not.

  • Brian Miller


    Actually, Americans can be sued in other countries’ courts. If the Americans fail to appear to defend themselves, the foreign courts can pass judgement (or in a criminal case pass sentence).

    And the US government has in the past, and should in the future, pursue sanctions against countries that abuse the legal process by trying other countries’ residents for “crimes” not committed in that country.

    It’s hilarious to watch the EU courts bitch about Gitmo when so many of them are willing to charge a California resident who runs a California company for a business decision made in California that they don’t like in Lickballs, Belgium.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Brian Miller: I agree with you in principle Brian (since I don’t know the exact case you’re referring to), but the U.S. is probably one of the more aggressive countries in that department.
    How about convicting a Canadian for doing business between Canada and Cuba? I fail to see how our foreign business policy is any of the U.S.’s concern.

  • Kathryn

    @Distingué Traces:
    So you are in favour of the likes of Zucker torturing innocent babies just to get medical insurance to cover transition costs?
    I don’t think I could state what I think of that idea without using language that would get this posting deleted (grin).
    I have heard that argument before, and it is something to take up with the insurance companies…..
    You will lose a lot more than insurance cover if Zucker et al prevail, and the effects of him succeeding will be global, so you are not in this alone in the US. It affects everyone in the Western world (there IS a world out there you know….grin).


  • Hope_WA

    @Distingué Traces: @Evelyn: @Kathryn:
    GID doesn’t need to be in the DSM V for insurance purposes since it is in the ICD 10:
    “F64.0 Transsexualism
    A desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one’s anatomic sex, and a wish to have surgery and hormonal treatment to make one’s body as congruent as possible with one’s preferred sex.”

    The ICD also does a much better job defining GID in CHildren that the DSM does:
    “F64.2 Gender identity disorder of childhood
    A disorder, usually first manifest during early childhood (and always well before puberty), characterized by a persistent and intense distress about assigned sex, together with a desire to be (or insistence that one is) of the other sex. There is a persistent preoccupation with the dress and activities of the opposite sex and repudiation of the individual’s own sex. The diagnosis requires a profound disturbance of the normal gender identity; mere tomboyishness in girls or girlish behaviour in boys is not sufficient.”

    Thanks for the info on Friedemann Pfäfflin. I had no idea he had similar beliefs to the BBLZ Axis of Evil.

    (BBLZ = Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence, and Zucker)

  • Lisa

    Aaahhh, The Zucker NASTI-GRAM. A threat to free speech, at least. Offensive, for sure.

    Joelle Ruby Ryan’s workshop at IFGE this week was a tremendous success. Lynn Conway, Joelle’s Point Foundation Mentor, Video’d the presentation and will be reporting on the workshop soon.

  • Henry Hall

    Hope_wa writes: The ICD also does a much better job defining GID in CHildren that the DSM does:
    “F64.2 Gender identity disorder of childhood

    Oh yes? Now given that in the ICD-10, F64.2 falls under the general classification of “Disorders of adult personality and behaviour (F60-F69)”, then please tells me, how are psychiatrists able to keep a straight face when claiming, as they do, that the ADULT personality of a CHILD is mentally disordered?! GO AHEAD, tell me.

    Who would ever have thought that CHILDREN even have ADULT personalities to become disordered? And what is goddess’s name is a young child’s “adult personality” in the first place?

    Of course the real answer is that the mental illness section of the ICD is just as much stuff and nonsense as the sexual and gender sections of the DSM. Psychiatry related to sex is, at best, a waste of time and money, and at worse toxic in the extreme. It is outrageous that in some places public money is thrown away on sex psychiatry aka hocus-pocus.

  • SuzyQ

    @Distingué Traces:

    Very few have sex reassignment surgery covered by insurance as many insurers see it as a pre-existing condition which is appropriate since it is something one is born.

    GID is a vicious pathologicalization just as having homosexuality in the DSM was. It is no more or less than the writing of a Biblical passage in pseudo scientific terminology.

    For what it is worth many of us who were treated for transsexualism such as Lynn Conway and myself were treated many years before these bigots invented GID.

    Also many of us shun the term transgender in its various permutations. When we describe ourselves in terms of having been treated for transsexualism some of us used WBT for women born transsexual while others use women of transsexual history.

  • Distingué Traces


    Yes. I am always in favor of torturing innocent babies whatever the circumstances. Babies just piss me right off.

  • Brian Miller

    How about convicting a Canadian for doing business between Canada and Cuba? I fail to see how our foreign business policy is any of the U.S.’s concern.

    I agree with you!

    I hate abuse of the legal system.

    However, Canada isn’t helping its case against those sorts of things by entertaining the idea of claiming sovereignty over a non-citizen blogging outside Canada about a truthful item on a web site hosted outside Canada.

    Additionally, it’s a dumb strategy. Let’s be honest — the power relationship between the USA and Canada is not one of parity. Canada is dependent on US consumption for about 2/3 of its economic activity — it shouldn’t do things to piss off its biggest customer… especially to protect an idiot like this guy.

  • alan brickman

    It’s amazing how many mediocre guys are suddenly transforming themselves into bigger than like drag queens instead of just hitting gyms…..it’s not a medical issue….just an easier attention seeking one….ps….it’s still called..free speech.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Brian Miller: It’s not the government of Canada threatening legal action. They have no control over what this fool and his lawyer do, and it’s really none of their business.

    I agree peaceful relations between our countries is a good thing; Canada is your biggest trading partner too, and we provide more of your oil and electricity than any other country.

    This Canadian idiot threatening to sue someone down there is not the stuff of international incidents. People pull stupid shit like this every day; the only reason why you may not see it so often is because your country is 10 times our size, and not as aware of what is going on outside your borders.

    You should check out what the Westboro Baptist Church “God Hates Fags” hate group has to say about gay rights in Canada. They tried to come picket the funeral of a poor fellow who was decapitated on a bus this summer. He wasn’t even gay, and they claimed it was God’s vengance for Canada allowing same-sex pmarriage and other “evils”. People were outraged, but nobody blamed the U.S. as a nation for these wackos

    I don’t think anyone here blames your government for Charles Kopp’s shooting of an Ontario abortion doctor in the 90s.

    Pat Buchanan called us “Soviet Canuckistan” a few years back. Nobody threatened to turn off the gas taps and cut the powerlines to the states.

    So I agree what this Zucker fellow is doing is outrageous and an invasion, but it has no relation to our country or the rest of our people. It’s just as bad as people blaming all Americans for the stupid things your government sometimes does.

  • Henry Hall

    Some of the posts seem to be written with an assumption that Kenneth Zucker is a Canadian. Actually he is a USA citizen living in Canada.

  • peet

    Yeah, quick note: as a Canadian, I’m honestly shocked and appalled by the level of arrogance exhibited by you Americans. I would have thought that as liberal queers, you wouldn’t have bought into all the supremacy bullshit that you’re fed, just like you’ve allegedly not bought into the homonegativity. That being said, fuck you. Yeah. Fuck you, you dumb American fucks.

  • Hope_WA

    @Henry Hall:
    Just to clarify:
    I didn’t say the ICD’s version of GID in Children was perfect, just better than the DSM’s. There are three positives as I see it, and I acknowledge there is ample room for improvement. The first positive is since GID and Transsexuality are in the ICD; they can be removed from the DSM without fear of losing insurance coverage for the few that actually have it. The second positive is that the ICD defines GID in such a manner that it excludes children who display behaviors that defy gender stereotypes that are not trans. The third positive is that the ICD is mainly a medical resource, not a psychiatric one, and given the AMA’s stance on transsexuality I find that encouraging.

    FWIW, I believe there is ample evidence to show that transsexuality has a biological basis and is a medical condition that can be treated with hormone therapy and surgery. I do think that GID is a valid psychological condition caused when a person is coerced into presenting to the world a gender expression that is inconsistent with their innate gender. A person can be trans and not have GID.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Henry Hall: Thanks. I did not know that. So I guess this has nothing whatsoever to do with us, except that most Canadians would say Zucker is behaving like an ignorant bully.

    @peet: I wouldn’t use as strong language as you have, but I can understand your anger. If Canadians had interfered in U.S. healthcare, justice, business and foreign policy the same way they regularly do in our country Bush would have invaded by now. You should hear some of the ignorant shit your ambassadors have said in recent years.

  • Bobbi

    We’ll ‘bash you’? I’m I think you fired the first shot right there. Should we apologize to you for ‘dragging gays and lesbians down? Are you for real? I’m aghast at your blatant disreguard for the least valued of our society. You were in our shoes 20 years ago but I guess your attitude can best be somed up as ‘I’ve got mine, so up yours’! Sad. some of us never learn.

  • Elise Hendrick

    “The [Canadian] precedent may not have any legal weight across the border, but if there is no contrary precedent in U.S. law it might be something they would consider.”

    Technically, it would be possible for Zucker to sue in Canada, where he would have a much better chance of not being immediately laughed out of court. There is Commonwealth case law (e.g. the Dow Jones.com case in Australia, the citation of which doesn’t come to mind just now) stating that a “publication” for defamation/libel purposes occurs anywhere where the claimant has a reputation, so even if the complained-of claim is posted by a US citizen and resident on a server located in the US, Canadian courts could assert jurisdiction. (It should be noted that just about every country in the world has a provision in its laws allowing for the assertion of jurisdiction over some crimes and torts committed abroad by foreign citizens, the US included).

    However, the US authorities would have to be involved in order to enforce any judgement obtained in Canada, and that is why Zucker’s threatened lawsuit, whether filed in the US OR Canada, is utterly pointless. In the US, a public figure such as Zucker can’t even get into court unless he proves that the complained-of statements are not only untrue but either made in the knowledge that they were untrue or made with “reckless disregard” for the truth. People with much better cases than Zucker (i.e. people who are suing for claims that are actually false) have been laughed out of court in the U.S. Since NY Times v. Sullivan in the 1960s, it is all but impossible for a public figure to win a defamation or libel case in US courts except in the most egregious cases.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Elise Hendrick …whereas in Canada a cabinet minister managed to get a judgement against a political cartoonist over a picture of him pulling wings off flies:

    I think that was a particularly outrageous case though, in a particular place (British Columbia); even back then (1978) I saw much more scathing editorializing than that.

  • Andrew

    @Distingué Traces:

    That’s actually been raised as a legitimate objection. (Another similar objection is that transgendered people might be covered under anti-discrimination laws that ban discrimination based on medical conditions.) Unfortunately, since insurance usually doesn’t cover the cost of transition anyway, it’s generally a moot point.

  • Kathy Padilla

    One would think that as an academic and a Native New Yorker, Zucker would have a greater appreciation of the issues involved & their rather long history. Quite sad, really. Perhaps it’s an indication of the level of his academic rigor.

    1735: John Peter Zenger
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Peter Zenger (October 26, 1697 – July 28, 1746) was a German-born American printer, publisher, editor and journalist in New York City.

    He owned the second newspaper in the city, ‘The New York Weekly Journal’. He printed another man’s document that criticized William Cosby, Governor of New York, who had him arrested on a charge of seditious libel. Zenger claimed in his “apology” for missing an issue, that even though he was in jail without supplies, he could still publish by speaking through a hole in the door with the help of his wife and servants. It is unclear just how seriously Zenger personally took the material published in the Weekly Journal. -snip-

    Zenger was most likely a convenient target to use in an attempt to end criticism. His defense attorney, Andrew Hamilton, was from Philadelphia, and won a case most local attorneys were confident would be unwinnable, and over which prior attorneys had been disbarred. His success may have resulted in the addition of the expression “Philadelphia lawyer” to the language

    A notable aspect of the case is that Hamilton challenged the legality of the crimes for which his client was being prosecuted. It was one of the first times in American history in which a lawyer challenged the laws rather than the innocence of his clients. The jurors were stunned and didn’t know how to, or even if they were allowed to, address whether the law itself was “legal.” See also Jury nullification.

    At the end of the trial on August 5, 1735, the twelve New York jurors returned a verdict of “not guilty” on the charge of publishing “seditious libels,” despite the Governor’s hand-picked judges presiding. Hamilton had successfully argued that Zenger’s articles were not libelous because they were based on fact. Zenger published a verbatim account of the trial as A Brief Narrative of the Case and Trial of John Peter Zenger (1736). “No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves” stated Zenger.

    Hamilton had served for free. In gratitude for what he had done, the Common Council of New York City awarded him the freedom of that city, and a group of prominent residents contributed to the production of a 5½-ounce gold box that was presented to him as a lasting mark of their gratitude. On the lid of the box the city’s arms were engraved, encircled with the words “Demersae leges — timefacta libertas — haec tandem emergunt” (extracted from Cicero’s “Quamvis enim sint demersae leges alicuius opibus, quamvis timefacta libertas, emergunt tamen haec aliquando,” “For let the laws be never so much overborne by some one individual’s power, let the spirit of freedom be never so intimidated, still sooner or later they assert themselves” [De officiis 2.24]); on the inside were the inscriptions “Non nummis, virtute paratur” (“Acquired not by money but by virtue”) and “Ita cuique eveniat ut de republica meruit” (“Thus let each receive what he has deserved of the republic,” an altered quote from Cicero’s Second Philippic, where it reads “…ut de republica quisque mereatur”).[3] The box was preserved as a family heirloom for many years and is now in the custody of the Atwater Kent Museum near Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Each year the Philadelphia Bar Association presents a replica of the box to the outgoing Chancellor of the Association.

  • cathy

    I think one simple thing should be remembered. Mental health profesionals need patients with mental health issues.
    As crazy folk we pay the mortgage (theirs)……… if we are sane they have to get a regular job. Am I wrong ? we havev all dealt with htese guys and my own experiwnce with a Famous london doctor was not different. But they have the power so you have to play thier game to get what you want. That should and must change.

  • cathy

    @porky poon: Porky that was a very shallow view……….But then as you must have hair down over your eyes (not cut of course)I forgive your limited vision

  • atransman

    It is interesting to note that in the (recent) past, a male child whose genitals were inadvertently mutated during a botched circumcision, would be given sexual reassignment surgery. At the time of puberty the child would be given hormone replacement therapy, as well as psychotherapy, to encourage the belief that the child was in fact female. Thereby creating a transgendered individual without the consent of the child, or concern of how that would make the child feel in later life. How is it alright to make someone transgendered, as long as they have no choice in the matter and it is to cover another medical screw up, but it is somehow NOT alright for someone to be transgender if it is of their own choice?
    Most insurance policies implicitly state that any and all procedures/ medications related to transgenderism, or the changing of ones gender are NOT covered. In fact a lot of insurance companies do not cover any mental health disorder. Things like depression, eating disorders, or anything considered a mental “defect” are 100% out of pocket expenses. Insurance policies with a price cap also stop paying for things like cancer treatment after a “lifetime benefit amount” has been reached.
    Medical coverage policies in general need a serious overhaul! South America has the right idea, transgender care and SRS are 100% covered and is considered a “lifethreatening” condition, as there are many cases of transgendered individuals that commit suicide because they cannot bear living “in the wrong body.” It is time for a change in how we view psychological disorders. A transgender quote, “There is nothing wrong with my mind, it is my body that has something wrong with it.”

  • Carl

    I find it hard to believe that the selection boards of the APA and DSM are either incompetant or part of a conspiracy.

    Every report i have seen on this mans work (from non hate groups who accuse him of falsifying his results…a claim the APA found SO absurd they totally ignored it) shows he cures around 80 to 90% of the children he treats that then go on to lead happy lives, now considering the high suicide rate of transgenders and the suffering they can go through i think this guy is doing a lot of good.

  • Hope_WA

    @Carl: I have yet to see a positive report on Zucker’s work that wasn’t generated either by Zucker, Bailey, or Blanchard, and none that weren’t published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior, a journal which has Zucker as its Editor-In-Chief.

    Would you care to share any of your references?

  • Carl


    The reports are about him and his methods and results so i cannot find any that do not involve him in some way and i have seen that the other two doctors you mentioned are connected to his work in most cases one way or another.

    Are you claiming that Zucker and the other two Doctors you mention are part of fraudulent report on his studies?.

    From the times and dates of his reports i would say that the 50 patients in one report would be between 30-40 years old by now but i can find no complaints from these or others that he treated.

    This is extremely important to me so if you have any material that proves this man is a fraud.

  • Élise Hendrick

    The Archives of Sexual Behavior was once a respectable journal, but has become more or less a house organ for the pet theories of Ray Blanchard, Kenneth Zucker, J. Michael Bailey, and Ann Lawrence. Essentially, they can’t get their papers published in peer-reviewed publications – because their theories are rejected by the scientific community due to the lack of evidence – so they use the ASB, where they review each other’s work and pretend that that’s “peer review”.

    To show that Zucker is a fraud, one need go no farther than to point out that he performs so-called “reparative therapy” and receives money for it, even though “reparative therapy” has long been known to be – at best – useless, and at worst a major suicide promoter.

  • Carl

    @Élise Hendrick

    While you obviously have strong opinions on this issue it is far too important to me to take someones word for these claims, perhaps this is the wrong place to ask questions regarding the subject.

  • Hope_WA

    @Carl: Yes Carl, I am a member of the huge chorus that consistently points out that Zucker, Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence are engaged in academic fraud.

    Zucker’s method for treating gender variant children is to use reparative therapy on them, the same type of therapy that the APA has stated is ineffective and harmful. The reason why most of his patients don’t “grow up to be trans” is that most of them aren’t. Many gay, lesbian, bi, queer, and even straight children will display atypical gender behavior at some time during their development. To treat non-trans children with reparitive therapy and then to claim that they have been “cured” of being trans is the same as treating healthy children with chemotherapy and claiming to have cured them of cancer.

    Being trans is not a psycholigical condition that can be cured, just as homosexuality isn’t a psychological condition that can be “cured”. Being trans is a medical condition that can be cured, usually with hormones and surgery.

  • Carl


    Can you please post a link where the APA have said Zuckers treatment is ineffective and harmful. As well as one to where Zucker, Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence are engaged in academic fraud.

    And if it is so why did the APA selection board ignore the petition against him and make him chair in regards to the next DSM regarding GIDIC amoung other related things?.

    I do respect the fact that everybody is entitled to a opinion i must say that after reading some of the things this person has been deliberatly and falsely accused of on here just to discredit him (like pedophilia and torturing innocent babies) i think it does no favors to the more rational individuals.

  • Élise Hendrick

    http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_changing.html (The APA position on “reparative therapy” like that favoured by Zucker)

    The thing to remember about the DSM is that the standards and procedures are virtually nonexistent. Just to provide an example for another area, have a look at the “assessment” for personality disorders (the most severe and stigmatising diagnosis in the DSM, because personality disorders are considered untreatable):


    This thing is entirely subjective, and doesn’t reach the intellectual rigour of most Cosmo quizzes, and yet it’s being proposed as a diagnostic assessment for personality disorders. One should not be surprised about anything coming out of the DSM revision process.

    The APA also ignored years of their own research to keep homosexuality in the DSM as long as they did, even though the few studies that were used to justify keeping homosexuality as a diagnosis had serious methodological flaws (like comparing a gay patient population to a straight non-patient population to arrive at the conclusion that gays are more prone to mental illness – you’d get an F for that study design in first-year research methods).

    A discussion of the current findings on the causes of transsexuality by the leading researchers and clinicians in the field, pointing out that the available data support a very different model from the BBL model.

    (Open letter of British psychologists condemning Bailey – who regurgitates Blanchard’s views in his book)”).

    Critique by Dr Joan Roughgarden, noting that:

    “Blanchard’s studies suffer a flawed design because he projects onto his subjects his own presumption that cross-gender expression is about sex and only sex. Blanchard is only interested in finding out what turns people on. Blanchard’s research, like Bailey’s and that of the Clarke Institute generally, suffers from failure to disclose the conflict of interest between the Institute’s staff and their clients who depend on them for letters authorizing surgery, and even in some cases for financial support.”


  • Hope_WA

    Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation
    Adopted by the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives
    August 14, 1997: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/resolution97_text.html

    STATEMENTS BY PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND THEIR LEADERS: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_expr.htm

    Drop the Barbie:
    Ken Zucker’s reparatist treatment of gender-variant children: http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/News/Drop%20the%20Barbie.htm

    Zucker and Bradley believe that reparative treatments (encouraging the child to accept their natal sex and associated gender) can be therapeutic for several reasons. They believe that treatment can reduce social ostracism by helping gender non-conforming children mix more readily with same sex peers and prevent long-term psychopathological development (i.e., it is easier to change a child than a society intolerant of gender diversity). Reparative therapy is believed to reduce the chances of adult GID (i.e., transsexualism) which Zucker and Bradley characterize as undesirable.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Zucker

    Dr. Zucker Fights Back, and the APA’s Special Exemption on Reparative Therapy Remains
    Q: When is reparative therapy not reparative therapy?
    A: When the patients are gender variant children.

    You know those reparative therapy “experts” who influenced the homophobic death penalty legislation in Uganda? For sex and gender minorities, that movement is not led by religious zealots, but by a handful of Toronto psychologists like Kenneth Zucker who still get taken seriously in their field.: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/01/07/toronto-global-epice.html

    For those who are concerned about the establishment of an adherent to reparative therapy (Dr. Kenneth Zucker) and another seeking to entrench “autogynephilia” (a pathologization of treatment of non- “homosexual transgender” transfolk) in the DSM-V, there have been some new happenings.: http://www.transadvocate.com/update-on-zucker-blanchard-and-the-revision-of-the-dsm.htm

    Ken Zucker is a psychologist (not a psychiatrist) at the Clarke Institute in Toronto. He promotes his so-called “reparative therapy” which is little more than torture for gender variant(GV) children and trans identified adolescents. It is suggested by research that around 75% of born male bodied children who manifest GV behaviour (sissy boys) do not become trans adults, but it is worth noting that this research has never considered born female bodied GV children (tomboys). Yet he promotes his ‘therapy’ for all GV children and trans identified adolescents.: http://biodiverseresistance.blogspot.com/2008/09/protest-against-kenneth-zucker-in.html

    “At this point, I cannot make any statement about how therapy affects later sexual orientation,” Zucker says, clearly choosing his words carefully. “But certainly many parents bring their children to me because they would prefer that they not grow up to be gay.”…He pauses. “My job is to help them accept their gender. The success of treatment is subjective”: http://www.brainchildmag.com/essays/fall2001_wilkinson.htm

  • Henry Hall

    >> Can you please post a link where the APA have said Zuckers treatment is ineffective and harmful.


    APA President Rodrigo Muñoz, M.D., “that this position opposing reparative therapy has been adopted on the 25th anniversary of the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the DSM. There is no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation.” He added that “THERE IS HOWEVER EVIDENCE THAT THIS TYPE OF THERAPY CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE.” …
    [emphasis was ADDED]

    There you have it, there may or may not be evidence that Zucker’s therapy is beneficial to transkids, but there most certainly is evidence that Zucker’s therapy is harmful to everyone it is inflicted on.

  • Carl

    Henry HallThere you have it, there may or may not be evidence that Zucker’s therapy is beneficial to transkids, but there most certainly is evidence that Zucker’s therapy is harmful to everyone it is inflicted on.

    Rubbish that quote is in regards to sexual orientation not gender and does not even mention Zucker or his methods.

  • Élise Hendrick

    Carl seems to be a bit confused about how these things work. It’s on the proponent of a new therapy or therapeutic agent to show – by scientifically verifiable means – that it’s effective, not on others to prove that it isn’t. Apart from Zucker’s own self-serving statements (and those of his equally disreputable cronies at ASB), there’s no evidence that his “treatments” – which consist of the same forms of abuse known from anti-gay “reparative therapy” – have any effect at all. If he can show that these methods do anything but increase the risk of suicide and other self-destructive behaviour, it’s his responsibility to come forward with it.

  • Henry Hall

    Carl, you are just trolling.

    Reparative therapy is proven destructive. It makes no difference whether the purpose of the therapy is to change gender orientation or to change sexual orientation. The damage is caused by what is inflicted on the victim, not by the cures that the psychologist claims. And it does not matter that the APA did not specifically call out the types reparative therapy (shaming effeminacy etc.) used by Zucker, it condemned all reparative therapy.

  • Carl

    Carl, you are just trolling.

    I am not trolling and i consider this subject more important than you can imagine.

    You pull the APA card out and are trying to compare it to his treatment but the fact is we do not know how simular his treatment is and il not accept speculation as proof. And not only that but they only specify homosexuality and it is from 1999.

    But in 2007 the same APA chose Zucker to be a member of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Gender Identity, Gender Variance, and Intersex Conditions.

    And in 2008 was named chair of the APA workgroup on “Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders” for the 2012 edition of the DSM-5.

    So the way i see it is that if his methods were the same or had been causing harm why would he be getting these promotions to the top of the professional hierarcy?.

  • Kim

    @Brian Miller:

    Dr. Zucker resides in Canada. Therefore the case would be in Canadian jurisdiction. That’s what the Canadian case law bit is about, since he’s the one filing the lawsuit.

    On a side note (my personal feelings of the matter), Dr. Zucker needs to be stripped of the title of “Doctor” and tossed in jail for all the children he’s damaged the minds of over the years. What he’s done is no different from any other child abuser out there.

  • tyciol

    I’d like to learn more about people’s objections to Blanchard, I’ve seem his name come up a lot in the DSM (I think in relation to paraphilias?) and am interested in criticisms and defenses in relation to his research.

  • Louise

    BEWARE is a new short film about Dr Zucker.

    You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLwSeAVT1DA

    Plz Rate, comment and Retweet.


    Beware is a short movie made by What The Film! (2012)
    If you want to screen the movie or just for more info,
    please contact us at [email protected]

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