Molly Hayes in The Globe and Mail writes:
A controversial Toronto psychologist said he feels “vindicated” and “liberated” after receiving an apology from the country’s largest mental-health centre for erroneously representing his behaviour and work in a public review three years ago.
Kenneth Zucker headed up CAMH’s Family Gender Identity Clinic for more than 30 years before he was ousted in December, 2015. Sparked by criticisms that the clinic had been practising conversion therapy on young people who identify as transgender, CAMH had launched an external review earlier that year.
Although the report also looked specifically at Dr. Zucker’s interactions with patients – including a reference to him insulting a patient – he was not consulted. He was fired the same day it came out. The clinic for children and youth was ultimately shut down as well.
But while his removal was celebrated by many activists in the transgender community, many of his colleagues were outraged – and more than 500 clinicians and researchers signed a petition in his defence.
In Dr. Zucker’s view, it sparked a fear that the field of gender dysphoria – where he says there remains many urgent and unanswered clinical and theoretical questions – has been “poisoned by politics.”
“I think that conflation with politics has made it very difficult for many people in the field to say what they really think,” he said. “And I think that’s really sad, that in a field where there are so many important issues to discuss and work on, that really bright people feel intimidated.”
He disputes the idea that he was practising conversion therapy by not immediately pushing for transition for a child expressing gender dysphoria.