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more on Kenneth Zucker

A number of blog posts ago I mentioned the ouster of Kenneth Zucker from Toronto’s infamous CAMH institute which was also the former stomping grounds of one Ray Blanchard.

Before I direct you to New York Magazine's very comprehensive story about his dismissal, I wanted to express some further thoughts on the subject of conversion therapy and the diagnosing of very young children with gender dysphoria.

Firstly, I think that children should be left alone to express themselves and in this way I feel what Zucker was trying to do was incorrect. In the article there is reference made to a very effeminate boy who Zucker attempted to “cure” ultimately ending up as a gay male. In essence this boy could have been left to his Barbie dolls and dresses and he likely would have ended up in the same place save for the strife of having his toys taken away by force. One of my own nephews would scoff today at his penchant for barbies and princess dresses during his early childhood.

Conversely the notion that prepubescent children should be put on puberty blockers worries me. There is a fine line sometimes between freedom of gender expression and identity and you are certainly not going to recognize that distinction in a child of that age. Therefore I feel that the best approach is to let the child be themselves but without interference in either direction. This means no conversion therapy but no discouragement of behavior either.

When this individual grows to the age of consent they can do what they will but at least they will not have been swayed one way or the other.

At the end of the day, the CAMH was not really a good place for pre-transition transsexuals or for trans- kids with its archaic practices yielding bizarre and improvable pseudoscience from a sexologist and questionable practices from a child psychologist. Let’s chalk both of these up to errors of the past.

But let’s also be cautious that this new thinking on transgender issues does not result in children being guided towards potentially needless transitions. Because with today’s freedom of gender expression, many people could easily be happy keeping their bodies intact and simply dressing and behaving as they choose.

You can read the very comprehensive article on Kenneth Zucker here.


  1. For me this whole drama illustrates what really causes all the suffering in among trans and queer people. The very people that want to "protect" male assigned kids from social ostracization, are reinforcing the very attitudes that cause that exclusion.

    Indeed, I am sure that many of the parents that seek out people like Zucker are both transphobic and homophobic. That does not mean that they do not love their child, but they do not love it as it is. I fear that many of them are driven by embarrassment. They fear their own social standing more than the one of their child.

    Zucker and Blanchard's crime is that they reinforce these attitudes, causing even more pain and suffering.

    I agree with you: Let the kids explore their own sexuality and identity. Most of them are neither trans nor homosexual. And if they are: Embrace them!

    1. Jack that is absolutely right. Don't push in either direction and let them decide.


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