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Protest against transphobic psychologist Kenneth Zucker in London, 1st October

transfeminist | 24.09.2008 19:15 | Gender | Health | Social Struggles | London

Kenneth Zucker, transphobic doctor who supports repression and torture of gender-variant children has been invited to speak at the Royal Society of Medicine. Protest against Zucker and for the right to seld-determination of gender identity, October 1st, 8.30am, The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE

Demonstration against Ken Zucker (the man who proposes reparative therapy for gender variant kids)

October 1st, 8.30am, The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE

The demo is organised in cooperation with the Metropolitan Police and will take place outside the Royal Society of Medicine

(Just behind Debenhams/House of Fraser, Nearest tubes are Bond Street and Oxford Circus)

Please come if you can.

Natacha Kennedy (Official Organiser)

#### NB. This is not a Press for Change organised event, but Press for Change encourages its members to take part if they can.###

This is an important demonstration and it is vital that you attend if you are able. As it is on a Wednesday at 8.30am there are quite a few people who would like to come but are unable to make it because of work commitments.

It is important to come for two reasons;

1. to show opposition to Ken Zucker's 'treatments' being used on children and

2. to oppose the nature of the Royal Society of Medicine's highly political conference on trans identified adolescents.

Ken Zucker is a psychologist (not a psychiatrist) at the Clarke Institute in Toronto. He promotes his so-called "reparative therapy" which is little more than torture for gender variant(GV) children and trans identified adolescents. It is suggested by research that around 75% of born male bodied children who manifest GV behaviour (sissy boys) do not become trans adults, but it is worth noting that this research has never considered born female bodied GV children (tomboys). Yet he promotes his 'therapy' for all GV children and trans identified adolescents.

Ken Zucker also proposes to use "reparative therapy" on these young people, regardless of their parents' wish or the young person's legal right to access this treatment. In the UK, a young person (YP) has a variety of ways in which they can request treatment and give full consent to it; with their parent's approval, and if required, regardless of their parents' wishes i.e. when the YP is 16 (under the Family law Act) or even younger when they are 'Gillick Competent' which requires
far greater competence than is every required of an adult accessing treatment, i.e. they understand the nature of the treatment, what it does, what it doesn't do, all the side effects and other consequences, and the health risks they are taking.

For the 25% who will become trans identified (and the unknown proportion of the rest who are actually suppressing it or hiding it as a result of bullying, parental pressure etc.), the results of treatments like Zucker's can be catastrophic. Victims of this therapy are left traumatised for a very long time afterwards. They experience frequent feelings of depression and suicidal tendencies. This is not surprising since this treatment involves constantly telling these YPs that they are wrong, everything they do, are or feel is bad, and clothes, toys and other possessions relating to their preferred gender are taken away and they are punished for engaging in activities which reflect their own true identities. They are also rewarded for any behaviour which reflects
the gender their parents wish them to be. This is just crude psychological and emotional bullying and exertion of power over those unable to defend themselves.

This treatment is not just wrong, but has no basis in psychological theory and is considered by many psychologists and psychiatrists to be the equivalent of voodoo or unproven 'alternative' medicine. It is also wrong because it is a response to the wishes of the many homo & trans
phobic parents who demand their child is 'normal', rather than to the needs of the YP. Although parental wishes may be taken into account, when a YP is under 16, the YP is the patient and any doctor is bound by ethics to consider the YP's needs as paramount. We do not believe this
is happening in Zucker's clinic.

It would also appear that this therapy is related to some of the ideas of the extreme Christian right-wing political lobby in the United States which has sponsored this type of therapy to "treat" homosexuality. This therapy is designed to pander to parents who would like to have a
'normal' child. Children are, however, not a fashion accessory. We believe that this therapy violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Secondly, the Royal Society of Medicine describes itself as an "apolitical organisation", yet this conference seems to have been set up by its organisers in the most political way possible. By inviting Zucker to contribute regarding his 'therapies' and not allowing any representation from anyone to oppose him this is clearly a political move. Even Mermaids, the organisation for trans children & young people, and their parents has not been allowed to contribute. Given Zucker's
highly controversial place on the DSM-5 committee on GID this alone is an extremely political act. The only likely opposition is from Professor Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam but she is on the same DSM-5 committee as Zucker - can they really give a fair view point between them. And there is no legal overview given, Professor of Law, at Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Stephen Whittle from Press for Change who has written on the legal issues (see *** below) has not been invited.

Furthermore, the welcome address is being given by Dr John Scadding, Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine and Professor Philip Steer, President Elect, Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, RSM is reviewing questions of prognosis and long term follow up.

However it appears to go further than this. The conference seems to have been set up to push a UK-based treatment protocol for GV children and trans identified adolescents. This protocol will not involve the use of hormone blockers to delay the onset of puberty. Puberty can not only be
extremely distressing for some GV YP's particularly those that grow up to be trans adults. Furthermore, as legal research has shown the refusal to consider this treatment means that trans adolescents develop secondary sexual characteristics, such as beard or breast growth that
ultimately lead to major health interventions, in the future, which could have been avoided. In this sense it seems that it is also particularly politically motivated and as such as large presence outside is vital to make our feelings known and to distribute leaflets to delegates to make sure they understand the other side of the story.

It is rather ironic, but Professor Melissa Hines, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge will be contributing information on Endocrine influences. She is the wife of Professor Richard Green, who has himself been so perturbed by this conference that he has arranged an
alternative conference; Conference on Medical Care for Gender Variant Teenagers, on September 28th at Imperial College in London, to challenge it. (for further details go to: )

Demonstration against Ken Zucker (the man who proposes reparative therapy for gender variant kids)

October 1st, 8.30am, The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE

Please Join Us

Natacha Kennedy

*** Whittle, S., Downs, C., 2000, Seeking a Gendered Adolescence: ;Legal and Ethical Problems of Puberty Suppression among Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria In E Heinze, ed. Children's Rights: Of Innocence and Autonomy, Aldershot: Dartmouth Press, pp 195-208, pages: 13



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  1. Contact "Doctor" Zucker — -