Formal complaint of academic misconduct filed against Ken Zucker:

Letter from Lynn Conway to Catherine Whiteside, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice-Provost, University of Toronto, June 10, 2009  [PDF]



Date: June 10, 2009


To: Catharine Whiteside, M.D., Ph.D.,

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice-Provost, University of Toronto


Copy to: Cheryl Misak, Ph.D., Vice-President and Provost, University of Toronto

Donald A. Wasylenki, M.D., Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

Peter J. Prendergast, M.D., Executive Vice-Chair for Clinical Services

Allan S. Kaplan , M.D., Vice-Chair for Research

Benoit H. Mulsant, M.D., Vice-Chair and Physician in Chief, CAMH

Kwasi Kafele, Director, Corporate Diversity Program, CAMH


Subject: Formal complaint of academic misconduct against Kenneth Zucker, Ph.D.


Dear Dr. Whiteside:


I hereby file a formal complaint of academic misconduct against Kenneth Zucker, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto.


I maintain an internet news-feed of links to emerging news of interest to the transgender community.[1]  On January 30, 2009 I received an e-letter dated January 27, 2009 from Peter M. Jacobsen, an attorney representing CAMH and Dr. Zucker. The letter (attached) accused me of libeling both CAMH and Dr. Zucker, claiming that my news-feed “contains very serious false and defamatory allegations of criminal conduct and sexual abuse by Dr. Zucker.”[2]


It was immediately obvious to me (and to attorneys with whom I have consulted) that the accusation of libel was blatantly false, for there were no such allegations anywhere in my website.


I responded by posting a report on the internet[3] that led to a LOGO/CBS-News interview about CAMH’s false accusations[45], a series of blog essays[6, 7] and a GLBT media report on “Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s War on Transgenders” (attached) that well-summarizes the situation.[8]


It soon became clear that CAMH’s accusation of libel was timed to suppress my university website during the run-up to the American Psychiatric Association meeting in May, where Dr. Zucker’s practices were expected to be widely protested both within and outside the meeting.[9, 10]


In 2007, my website had widely exposed Dr. Zucker as running a 'trans-reparatist' clinic aimed at ‘curing’ transgender children and forcing them to accept their birth gender.[11]  By late 2008, Dr. Zucker was facing criticism from within CAMH itself, in a Diversity Programs Office report exposing his work as flawed.[12, 13]  At this critical moment in his academic career, Dr. Zucker apparently perceived my website as a threat, leading him to launch CAMH’s false accusation.

My very public report on the situation was sufficient to squelch Dr. Zucker’s accusation and to reveal it as a shameful act. However, we cannot let the matter rest there, for these events raise serious questions about ongoing conflicts of interest and abuses of institutional power.


After all, how could a major medical Centre at the University of Toronto, i.e., a public institution of the Province of Ontario, be lured into falsely accusing a faculty member at a university in the United States of libel? And why would the official accusation of libel on behalf of that Provincial institution be sent not only to that faculty member, but also to her University?




I urge you to promptly investigate and publicly answer those serious questions. In the meantime, I bring this academic misconduct to your attention and file this complaint by citing the University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.[14]  The Code states (italics for emphasis)

3. It shall be an offence for a faculty member and student alike knowingly:

(b) to engage in any form of cheating, academic dishonesty or misconduct, fraud or

misrepresentation not herein otherwise described, in order to obtain academic credit or other academic advantage of any kind.[14, p.3]


By concocting a false accusation of libel against me and causing it to be launched by a public Provincial institution (CAMH), Dr. Zucker has “engaged in misconduct or misrepresentation in order to obtain academic advantage . . .


Not only did Dr. Zucker apparently misappropriate University legal funds to press a personal action aimed at intimidating and silencing a transgender critic, thereby defrauding the people of the Province of Ontario, he also abused his position of authority as a senior faculty member to co-opt CAMH into enjoining this unethical action – i.e., joining into a false accusation of libel.


Furthermore, he has engaged in a pattern of such activities, i.e., repeatedly co-opting CAMH into launching libel threats against his critics – thus terribly frightening and intimidating others too. The evidence of this is quite clear, for several other transitioned women have recently posted legal threats that they have received from CAMH[15] and these are likely just the tip of the iceberg.


This situation has been best summed up by Dr. Kelley Winters, of GID Reform Advocates:

“We trans people who transition to affirmed roles, who do not acquiesce to the bonds of our assigned birth-roles-- we lose our jobs, our homes, our children, our health care and our civil justice to defamatory stereotypes of mental disorder and sexual deviance promoted by the CAMH. Now, those of us who do not acquiesce to these maligning stereotypes, who dare to speak out against our own oppression, are threatened by the same CAMH with the loss of our life savings, our homes and our possessions by punitive litigation.


For those of us who grew up beneath the fists of schoolyard bullies, the message is clear: whenever we are not sufficiently impoverished, marginalized, pathologized, and sexualized into submissiveness toward our psychiatric policy masters, we will be impoverished by aggression through the courts.” – Kelley Winters, Ph.D. [7]

I ask that Dr. Zucker be officially reprimanded for this academic misconduct and restrained from ever again exploiting CAMH’s institutional power to threaten, intimidate and silence his critics.




Ms. Lynn Conway

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita
3640 CSE Building
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2121, USA
Member, National Academy of Engineering



Attached:  (i) “CAMH re: Ken Zucker and Lynn Conway”, File No. 300566, Peter M. Jacobsen,

   Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada January 27, 2009.

                 (ii) “Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders”, Queerty, February 6, 2009





[1] “Trans News Updates”, Lynn Conway,


[2] “CAMH re: Ken Zucker and Lynn Conway”, File No. 300566, Peter M. Jacobsen, Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada January 27, 2009.


[3] “Lynn Conway's Trans News Updates: The webpage Zucker attempted to suppress”, Lynn Conway,,  Feb. 3, 2009.


[4] ""Staying Sane": Lynn Conway interviewed on Logo's 365Gay News by Chagmion Antoine regarding Ken Zucker's attempt to suppress her website", by Lynn Conway,, Mar. 1, 2009.


[5] "Transgender Crusader - A professor at the University of Michigan is taking on the psychiatric community’s ideas about transgendered people and mental illness," by Chagmion Antoine, 365Gay News, Mar. 6, 2009.


[6] “Dr. Zucker Fights Back, and the APA's Special Exemption on Reparative Therapy Remains,” by Mercedes Allen, The Bilerico Project, Feb. 6, 2009.


[7]  "Surrender Dorothy: the Clarke Wags a Broomstick at the Trans-Community," by Kelley Winters, Ph.D., The Bilerico Project, Feb. 10, 2009.


[8] "Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders," Queerty, February 6, 2009.


[9] “Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?”, by Lois Wingerson, Psychiatric Times, May 19, 2009 


[10] "GID Reform Now Protest At Annual APA Meeting - Speaker Madeline Deutch, M.D.", by Autumn Sandeen, Pams Houseblend, May 20, 2009. [includes video]


[11] “Drop the Barbie: Ken Zucker's reparatist treatment of gender-variant children”, A report by Lynn Conway,, April 5, 2007.  


[12] "The War Within: CAMH battles notorious reputation of Zucker’s and Blanchard’s gender clinics with scathing report", by Lynn Conway,, April 30, 2009.


[13] “Strategy to Build Relationships and Partnerships with LGBTTTQQI Communities” (Executive Summary), Diversity Programs Office, CAMH, Toronto, Canada, August 11, 2008.


[14] “The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters”, Governing Council, University of Toronto


[15] "Kenneth Zucker's legal threats: Part of a pattern of silencing transgender critics", by Lynn Conway,, Feb. 18, 2009.'s_pattern_of_silencing_transgender_critics.html




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