Lynn Conway's Trans News Updates:

The webpage Zucker attempted to suppress

A News Report by Lynn Conway

Copyright © Lynn Conway 2009. All rights reserved

First posted 2-03-09 [V 3-28-09] 

En Español, En Français



Zucker attempts to disrupt and suppress Lynn Conway's trans news-feed

Note the deviousness of the falsifications in the Jacobsen letter

Consider the timing and context of the attack

What could have motivated Zucker's attack on Lynn's freedom of speech?

Defending Lynn's freedom of speech





Zucker attempts to disrupt and suppress Lynn Conway's trans news-feed:


As part of her University of Michigan website [1] Lynn Conway maintains a news-feed [2] that provides ongoing access to news items of interest to the transgender community.  Each day Lynn receives and posts links to the latest news, often including brief quotes from the articles to alert readers to their contents.


On January 30, 2009 Lynn received an e-letter [3] from Peter M. Jacobsen, an attorney representing Dr. Ken Zucker of the “Centre for Addiction and Mental Health” (CAMH, aka The Clarke Institute) at University of Toronto. The letter was also apparently sent to the University of Michigan's Information Technology User Advocate, in an attempt to disrupt Lynn's postings on the internet and defame Lynn amongst her colleagues and senior University officials as they heard about it.


The Jacobsen letter is posted at this link and more. It threatens Lynn with a lawsuit for libel by claiming that:


“Your website contains very serious false and defamatory allegations of criminal conduct and sexual abuse by Dr. Zucker. These allegations clearly exceed the limits of free speech and public discourse . . . Please be advised that we have also notified the IT User Advocate at the University of Michigan of this defamatory posting. . . Please confirm receipt of this libel notice immediately and advise us immediately of what steps you have taken to have this defamatory material removed from your website” – Peter M. Jacobsen, representing CAMH and Zucker


Jacobsen inserted the following entry from Lynn's news-feed into his letter as 'evidence' to support Zucker's accusations of libel:

01-17-09:  Organisation Internationale des Intersexués (OII): "The self-proclaimed experts on intersex: Zucker and Lawrence", by Curtis Hinkle

"I am sure that many intersex people were aware that the APA had brought out a booklet on intersex. However, I am not sure that many understand how problematic it is to many intersex people to see some of the following names associated with this booklet: Margaret Schneider, Walter O. Bockting, Randall D. Ehrbar, Anne A. Lawrence, Katherine Louise Rachlin and Kenneth J. Zucker. At first glance, the booklet seems apparently harmless. However, that is what's so clever about it. It's a way for the Clarke/Northwestern clique to get their nose under the (intersex) tent and then later "come on in"."


As you can see, there are no "allegations of criminal conduct and sexual abuse by Dr. Zucker" in that news-feed entry, nor will you find any such allegations anywhere in Lynn's website.


On reading Jacobsen's letter most people cannot imagine that it could contain such a bold falsification, even though it is right there in front of their eyes. Therefore, the first and lingering impression is that Lynn must have made those allegations – even though she did not.


We are posting this report to alert our readers and seek their support in maintaining Lynn's freedom of speech against this blatant attempt to suppress and infringe upon it.



Note the deviousness of the falsifications in the Jacobsen letter:


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) [4].


In doing so, Jacobsen claims that cross-website linkage is legally equated with website-inclusion, but Canadian case law says otherwise: Crookes v Wikimedia [5].


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 loose 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.



What could have motivated Zucker's attack on Lynn's freedom of speech?


Why would Jacobsen make these false accusations? Could Zucker be angered that Lynn's site contains investigative reports [6] and links to media articles that are unflattering to Zucker and CAMH – reports such as those on U. S. National Public Radio [7] and in the Torontoist [8] that have widely exposed Dr. Zucker as operating a trans-reparative clinic for ‘curing’ gender variant children?


If so, they should note that Lynn's news-feed links to many articles by or about Dr. Zucker and his colleagues that are extremely unflattering to transgender people. It also links to articles published by groups such as NARTH [8] and Focus on the Family [9] that are supportive of Dr. Zucker’s teachings. By doing so, Lynn's news-feed links to both sides of the story and helps generate healthy debate.


Then too, OII Founder Mr. Curtis Hinkle reports that OII has not received similar threats of lawsuits, even though the OII page in question (an open letter to the President of WPATH) [4] has been posted on the internet for eight months and is widely known about in Zucker’s professional circles.


These facts suggest that Zucker is more interested in suppressing Lynn's website than in addressing the underlying complaint asserted in Jacobsen’s letter. But there is more:



Consider the timing and context of the attack


The timing of Zucker’s action is also suspect – coming on the eve of an important workshop at the IFGE conference [11]. Zucker is aware that the presentations at that workshop will be posted on my website and will question his selection to lead revisions of the gender identity section [12] of the psychiatric code-book of mental illness (the 'DSM') [13].


Zucker's selection for that role is the elephant in the room. That psychiatric code-book currently pathologizes all transgender people as being mentally-ill for life, just as it did to gay and lesbian people in the past – and Zucker appears determined to retain that stance in spite of growing evidence to the contrary (more) and social pressure to depathologize gender variance [14].


For more on the psychiatric and social context that led to the current diagnostic nomenclature in the DSM, see Gender Madness in American Psychiatry, Essays from the Struggle for Dignity, by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. [15]. Dr. Winter's book provides deep insights into the many issues and challenges faced by the trans-community on the eve of publication of the DSM-V, and exposes the reasons for and nature of the community's confrontation with Zucker. 


Zucker’s colleague and close confidant Alice Dreger went to great lengths to suppress a similar panel at the National Women’s Studies Association conference last June, but failed in that attempt - after graduate student Joelle Ruby Ryan stood up to Dreger's attack on Joelle's academic career. My report on those events [16] has since gained wide notice, much to Dreger’s and Zucker’s consternation.


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 [17] 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.



Defending Lynn's freedom of speech:


In the face of this threat, Lynn's seeks your assistance in protecting her Constitutional rights and ensuring her full and open access to the internet so that her website and others like it remain freely available in service of our community.


You do not need to write letters or make demands. You should instead exercise your own right of free speech to widely propagate this news report and the Jacobsen letter, as evidence of Zucker's attack.


By informing people of Zucker's attempt to suppress Lynn's freedom of speech, you can expose him for what he is and let history be his judge.


You only get to keep your Constitutional rights if you fully exercise them.






Feb. 6, 2009: 

Following the initial posting of this page, Queerty spread the story widely on the internet in the following article [18]:

"Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders", Queerty


Feb. 10/15, 2009:

Kelley Winters, Ph.D. comments on Jacobsen's letter in the following article [19]:

"Surrender Dorothy: the Clarke Wags a Broomstick at the Trans-Community",

"Reading both Professor Conway's web page and Attorney Jacobsen's letter, … I feel that [a] misstatement of fact lies in Mr. Jacobsen's letter.

The January 17 news item in Conway's web page was about concerns that OII had raised about the American Psychological Association's booklet on intersex issues. Dr. Zucker was a co-author of this booklet. The link in question from this news item was directed to an “Open Letter to President of WPATH from OII,” dated May 28, 2008. This letter on the OII site objected to Dr. Zucker's position on the “WPATH Committee on Disorders of Sex Development.” It went on to voice concern about stigma associated with the term, “disorders of sex development,” as well as the lack of intersex community input and representation on the WPATH committee. Clearly, the focus of Lynn Conway's news item and her link to the OII page was on intersex community concerns with APA and WPATH policies and policy makers.

The OII statement about allegations of misconduct, ... appeared in an addendum of July 31, below the open letter to WPATH. Nothing on Conway's news page made reference to these allegations at the bottom of the OII page or the topic of misconduct.

Mr. Jacobsen's letter reached so far beyond the truth about Professor Conway's web site, that I can only conclude that the real agenda is about silencing dissent. I believe that my concern about punitive litigation toward those who speak against our own oppression is well founded."

– Kelley Winters, Ph.D.


Feb.18, 2009: 

Following the posting of those reports other women began coming forward who'd received similar threat letters from CAMH, exposing Zucker and CAMH as engaging in a pattern of threats and intimidation to silence their transgender critics [20]:

"Kenneth Zucker's legal threats: Part of a pattern of silencing transgender critics",


Feb.26, 2009: 

Lynn was interviewed by Chagmion Antoine of LOGO/CBS-News about Zucker's attempt to suppress her website and her freedom of speech [21]:

""Staying Sane": Lynn Conway interviewed on Logo's 365Gay News regarding Ken Zucker's attempt to suppress her website," [includes transcript from LOGO/CBS-News]


Mar.3, 2009:

Video of Lynn's Feb.26 interview is posted on YouTube [22]:

"Professor Lynn Conway on Dr. Kenneth Zucker", YouTube


Mar.6, 2009:

365 Gay News Video posted the interview in which Lynn responds to Zucker's attempt to suppress her website [23]:

"Transgender Crusader - A professor at the University of Michigan is taking on the psychiatric community’s ideas about transgendered people and mental illness," 365Gay News


Mar.20, 2009:

When Zucker accused Lynn of libel for linking to OII's letter to WPATH, we exposed the fact that he'd never complained to OII about it, making it clear that his action was a ploy to suppress Lynn's website. In an obvious attempt at damage control, Petersen and Zucker finally complained to OII about that page on March 20th, attempting to retroactively cover up that they hadn't complained about it before. However, when doing so they did not accuse OII of libeling Zucker in the WPATH letter, even though they had accused Lynn of libel for simply linking to it! For more on these bizarre and inconsistent actions, see this report in Intersex News [24]:

"Letter from Zucker's Lawyers at the CAMH", Intersex News






[1] Lynn Conway’s homepage, Lynn Conway,


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


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


[4] “Open Letter to President of WPATH from OII”, Sophia Siedlberg, OII-UK and Curtis E. Hinkle, Founder, Organisation Intersex International, May 28, 2008.


[5] IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, Citation: Crookes v. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 2008 BCSC 1424 Date: 20081027 Docket: S072729 Registry: Vancouver.


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


[7] “Two Families Grapple with Sons' Gender Preferences - Psychologists Take Radically Different Approaches in Therapy”, Alix Spiegel, All Things Considered, National Public Radio, May 7. 2008.


[8] “But For Today I Am A Boy”, Marc Lostracco, The Torontoist, May 9, 2008.


[9] “How Should Clinicians Deal With GID In Children? Psychologist Kenneth J. Zucker explains the current research on children and adolescents who develop a Gender Identity Disorder”, Frank York, National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), September 23, 2004.  


[10] “Answering Parents' Questions on Gender Confusion in Children”, Glenn T. Stanton, Focus on the Family, January, 2009.


[11] “Disordered” No More: Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and Society”, by Joelle Ruby Ryan (chair), Julia Serano, Ph.D. and Kelley Winters, Ph.D., IFGE Worshop, The 23rd Annual Conference of the International Foundation for Gender Education, Alexandria, VA,  February 4-8, 2009.


[12] “DSM-V review of Sexuality & Gender to be headed by Zucker & Blanchard”,, May 19, 2008.


[13] DSM-IV-TR: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition - Text Revision, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.


[14] “Psychiatrists Revise the Book of Human Troubles”, Benedict Carey, New York Times, Dec. 17, 2008


[15] Gender Madness in American Psychiatry, Essays from the Struggle for Dignity, Kelley Winters, Ph.D., BookSurge Publishing, 2009.


[16] “Joelle Ruby Ryan chairs NWSA panel on resisting transphobia in academia: The event Alice Dreger failed to stop”, A Report by Lynn Conway,, June 27, 2008.


[17] "Science Subverted: How a scientific journal became a propaganda tool in the "science war" against the social emergence of transgender women", A report by Lynn Conway,, August 21, 2007.

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


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


[20] "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


[21] ""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. [orig. aired on 2-26-09]


[22] "Professor Lynn Conway on Dr. Kenneth Zucker", posting of the LOGO interview on 'QueerTheDeal' , YouTube, Mar. 3, 2009. 


[23] "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.


[24] "Letter from Zucker's Lawyers at the CAMH," by Curtis Hinkle, Intersex News, Mar.21, 2009.




LynnConway.comTS InformationTrans News Updates > Lynn Conway's Trans News Updates: The page Zucker attempted to suppress [ES, FR]