I am saddened and frightened by news that Professor Lynn Conway, a dear friend and outspoken advocate for the trans-community, has been threatened with a lawsuit by attorneys on behalf of the University of Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH, formerly the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry) and CAMH psychologist Dr. Kenneth Zucker. Dr. Zucker is chairman of the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group for the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He and CAMH colleagues played central roles in authoring the current gender pathology categories of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Transvestic Fetishism in the DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR. Zucker's controversial practice of gender-reparative psychological therapies upon gender nonconforming children was highlighted in a National Public Radio interview last May.[2,3]
As Bilerico contributor Mercedes Allen noted last week, "it's pretty reasonable to call this an intimidation tactic."
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.
A January 27 letter to Lynn Conway by Toronto attorney Peter Jacobsen claimed that her Trans News Updates page contained "serious allegations of criminal conduct" and threatened that:
"...you are liable for perpetuating the damage caused by such serious and defamatory allegations to Dr. Zucker's reputation. Furthermore, you are liable for additional aggravated damages for the malicious nature of your conduct."[see 1]
However, I can find no mention of any allegation of criminal or other misconduct on Conway's news feed page. The topic of her January 17 news item that is noted in Jacobsen's letter is a controversial booklet on intersex issues co-authored by Dr. Zucker and published by the American Psychological Association. Advocates for the intersex community, including the Organisation Internationale des Intersexués (OII), have voiced dissent with Zucker's views on diagnostic nomenclature for intersex conditions, including the inflammatory label of "Disorders of Sexual Development." Concerns about intersex policy issues at CAMH, both APA(s) and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) are of broad interest to the trans-community as well.
In my view, CAMH and their attorneys are falsely accusing Professor Conway of making defamatory allegations against Dr. Zucker. It is equally false to characterize Conway's reporting of controversial intersex policy issues to the trans-community as malicious. What is truly malicious is this threat of litigation against Lynn Conway and by implication against all who voice dissent with CAMH policies and gender-reparative treatments. Dr. Zucker's reputation might be better served if he and CAMH reconsidered the extreme conflict of interest that would ensue if a DSM-V Work Group chairman were in the business of litigation for monetary judgment against the very people whose lives and civil liberties were impacted by his Work Group.
 L. Conway, "Conway's Trans News Updates: the Webpage Zucker Attempted to Supress," 2009, http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/News/US/Zucker/The_webpage_Zucker_attempted_to_suppress.html
 A. Speigel, "Two Families Grapple with Sons' Gender Preferences," National Public Radio, All Things Considered," May 7 2008, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90247842
 K. Winters, "Beyond Denial: GID Diagnostic Criteria and Gender-Conversion Therapies," June 2008, http://www.gidreform.org/blog2008Jun16.html
 M. Allen, "Zucker Fights Back, and APA's Special Exemption on Reparative Therapy Remains," The Bilerico Project, February 6 2009, http://www.bilerico.com/2009/02/dr_zucker_fights_back_and_the_apas_speci.php
 L. Conway, "Trans News Updates," 2005-2009, http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/News/News.html
 C. Hinkle, "The Self-Proclaimed Experts on Intersex: Zucker and Lawrence," January 17 2009, http://www.intersexualite.org/APA-booklet.html