I have gotten useful information from Dr. Conway's website for many years.  The first most useful information I found was that yes a transsexual woman had been a scientist/engineer.  Recently the most useful information on her website has been her "trans news updates".  One piece of information I got there lead me here when it referenced the article "Transsexual Smokescreen: Ignoring Science In “The Man Who Would Be Queen”   This is what got me started here on Science blogging, which has proven to be a powerful platform for the dissemination of scientific information which may be of use to the general public  my thanks to those to make this work every day.   Bravo. 

One of the things she has done lately however is have an extensive header which high lites stories which Dr. Conway finds particularly important. 

Lately much of that has been related to the activities of one Ken Zucker.   The latest line from Dr. Conway on Zucker is.....

A Special News Report by Lynn Conway: "The Trans News Updates: The webpage
Zucker attempted to suppress"

"We are posting this report to alert our news-feed readers
about this situation – and to seek readers' support in maintaining Lynn's
internet access and freedom of speech against what is clearly an attempt to
suppress and infringe upon them. . . 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. By simply spreading the news of Zucker's attempt to
suppress Lynn's freedom of speech, you can expose Zucker for what he is –
and let history be his judge."

Here is the news item she want's disseminated.  She requested that it be disseminated and here I quote it in it's entirety verbatim.  It is interesting that she places a copyright notice on something that she ask to be disseminated.  Her request would seem to me to be a waiver of any copyrights.  My unvarnished opinion to follow. ...

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 2-03-09] 



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

Note the deviousness of the falsifications in theJacobsen 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




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


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


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)


In doing so, Jacobsen claims that cross-website linkage is legally equated with
website-inclusion, but Canadian case law says otherwise:

Crookes v Wikimedia


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 egal '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 or 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
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.





[1] Lynn Conway’s homepage, Lynn Conway, lynnconway.com. http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/conway.html


[2] “Trans News Updates”, Lynn Conway, lynnconway.com. http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/News/News.html


[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. http://www.intersexualite.org/Zucker_against_Conway_s_freedom_of_speech.pdf



[4] “Open Letter to President of WPATH from OII”, Sophia Siedlberg, OII-UK and
Curtis E. HinkleFounder, Organisation Intersex International, May 28, 2008. http://www.intersexualite.org/WPATH.html


[5] IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, Citation: Crookes v. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 2008 BCSC 1424 Date: 20081027 Docket: S072729 Registry: Vancouver. http://www.p2pnet.net/stuff/crookes%20vwikimedia.pdf


[6] “Drop the Barbie: Ken Zucker's reparatist treatment of gender-variant children”, A report by Lynn Conway, lynnconway.com, April 5, 2007. http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/News/Drop%20the%20Barbie.htm


[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. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90247842

[8] “But For Today I Am A Boy”, Marc Lostracco, The Torontoist, May 9, 2008. http://torontoist.com/2008/05/but_for_today_i_am_a_boy.php


[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. http://www.narth.com/docs/gid.html  

[10] “Answering Parents' Questions on Gender  Confusion in Children”, Glenn T. Stanton, Focus on the Family, January, 2009. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/articles/gender_confusion_in_children.aspx

[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. http://www.ifge.org/register/db_wrkshp_one.php?the_id=77


[12] “DSM-V review of Sexuality&Gender to be headed by Zucker&Blanchard”, Trans-Academics.org, May 19, 2008. http://www.trans-academics.org/dsm-v_review_sexuality_%2526a

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

[14] “Psychiatrists Revise the Book of Human Troubles”, Benedict Carey, New York Times, Dec. 17, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/health/18psych.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1


[15] Gender Madness in American Psychiatry, Essays from the Struggle for Dignity,
Kelley Winters, Ph.D., BookSurge Publishing, 2009. http://www.gendermadness.com/


[16] “Joelle Ruby Ryan chairs NWSA panel on  resisting transphobia in academia: The event Alice Dreger failed to stop”, A Report by Lynn Conway, lynnconway.com, June 27, 2008. http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/News/US/NWSA/NWSA_panel_on_resisting_transphobia_in_academia.html


[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, lynnconway.com, August 21, 2007.

I agree wtih Dr. Cownay that what Zuckers lawyer claims in that letter looks specious.  He specifically hi lites  that she provided a link to someone elses website, and quoted a representative/eye catching statement therefrom.  In my humble non-legal opinion don't see how that can be libel on the part of Conway.  If anyone should get sued for that it ought to be the website she linked to.  Fundamentally if one can be held legally responsible for the contents at the other end of a mere link then the whole world wide web will dissolve.

On the other hand, attached to the PDF of the lawyers letter, there is the image of the header of her transnews updates that I mentioned.  Then and now it says, at the very top, the following which may well be the real meat and substance of this lawyers complaint.

updates on the Zucker-Dreger attacks on trans critics:
  In July '07,
Ken Zucker
, editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB),
subverted that journal as a propaganda rag
in defense of editorial board members
Bailey, Blanchard and Lawrence (BBL).  He did this by
announcing and pre-publishing Alice Dreger's one-sided history of the Bailey book investigation.  Zucker promoted Dreger's hit-piece as if it were an independent scholarly work, devoting the entire June '08 ASB to Dreger's defense of Bailey.   Ardent Bailey supporter Ben Carey
followed with a New York Times article on 8-21-07 in which Dreger portrayed Bailey as a great scientist under siege for 'telling the truth'.

Calling the journal "Archives of Sexual Behavior" a propoganda rag.  :-\  Websters dictionary defines propoganda as ...

  1. capitalized : a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions

  2.  the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

  3.  ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect.

I invite my readers to look at Archives of sexual behavior and the definition of propoganda and judge for themselves.   My honest opinion is I don't see how she will be able to legally justify that statement.   On one hand she could say that Zuckers publication of Dreger's paper was an act of spreading propoganda against the people who criticized Bailey herself included. I am not 100% sure but if she can testify that she truly truly belived that Zucker was propogandizing by that publication she may have a case.  On the other hand Zucker or his lawyer  can say well, I called for open comments which anyone could participate in, She could have published a commentary as long as she wanted.  They can say Dreger claims to have tried to reach Conway for comment.  They can point out that Conway had these opportunities, she did not take them, therefore this was not propoganda.   Because then she would have known better.  A judge or jury will have to elucidate just what those facts are.  I cannot and I will not.  But in my humble opinion this is not a clear cut case one way or the other.

My advice to both sides is to hire a lawyer.  Conway should hire a lawyer, not change her website right now (because that could look like some kind of an admission of guilt) and stop writing about this.   Continue on with the trans news  just leave Zucker alone until the conclusion of the legal maneuvers. Let her lawyer do the talking.  Zucker ought to hire a lawyer capable of finding a statement that has a prayer of being considered libel in court. Such as the one above could be, If that is no one can be called to testify that what Zucker has done really constitutes spreading propaganda.  Truth is the best defense to a libel or slander allegation.  If the truth is on Dr. Conway's side she will win out in the end. If not, well,  :-/  She will be out of pocket to Zucker.

What does all of this have to do with science?  This isn't some kind of transgender blog?

Some readers may ask this.  The answer is that this story is about many things,  It's about the subjects of a field of social science research holding the scientist accountable, it is about academic freeedom and the freeedom of scientist to say what their research says is true, it's about a fundamental question of social science and psychology.  The fundamental question being "Are the subjects of an area of social science research ultimately more expert on the matter than the scientist, or are they too close to the phenomena (in this case transsexuals are the phenomenon itself) to make a valueable contribution to it's understanding?  For the social sciences these are deeply important questions. 

Times like this I am glad I am a physicist.  We can burtally slam particles into each other and they will never complain. 

(I totaly expect some criticism for posting this and my comments on it.  The M.O. of Dr Conway and her cohorts as of late has been to respond with a palpable animosity, to anyone  who questions them even a little bit.  All quoted items needed to be edited for formatting.  No content was changed.)