Transgender issues: Petition decries closing of CAMH clinic

Jillian Page
LGBT Perspectives editor

QUEBEC — One Julie Bindel from the United Kingdom is among the 500 or so people who have signed a petition so far decrying the closing of a controversial child and youth gender clinic at Ontario’s CAMH, and what they feel is the besmirching of its former head, Kenneth Zucker.

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente has a column, with the headline Kids pay the price of transgender politics, decrying the clinic’s demise as well, and she links to the aforementioned petition.

Personally, as an objective newspaper journalist and commentator, I can’t take a position about the clinic’s closing because I have no direct knowledge of what went down there: I’ve heard positive reports and negative reports from transgender people over the years. But the clinic was thought by many to be practicing “conversion therapy,” which is now banned in Ontario — and one has to hope the government there is on top of things, and that CAMH board members had good reason to shut down the clinic; obviously, they felt they did.

But there is a lot of second-guessing going on, by people with expertise in the field of gender studies and by others who simply don’t buy into transgenderism and see the clinic’s closing as just another “victim in the raging battles in  gender-identity politics,” as Wente puts it.

And, as Wente points out, an “external review of Dr. Zucker’s clinic was both pro and con. It acknowledged outstanding research and happy clients, contained a lot of picky criticisms, and quoted a couple of highly inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims by former patients. It did not say the clinic did so-called conversion therapy. It didn’t recommend the closure of the clinic.”

She also quotes some of the experts who feel the clinic should not have been shut down — but none who agree with the decision to close it — and then concludes that CAMH simply caved in to leftist “political agitators du jour.”


Are CAMH board members so weak and shallow? Or did they have more insight on Dr. Zucker and his clinic than Wente and company have?

I can’t say. But I feel it is safe to say there is more to this than meets the eye of Wente and Bindel — and me.


3 thoughts on “Transgender issues: Petition decries closing of CAMH clinic”

  1. Would be interesting to read the report too understand why?? After all read over the years about Zuker I think the right decision was made Finally.


  2. I would point out that in the review, the point was made that the practices at Zucker’s clinic were grossly out of step with WPATH Standards of Care (strange, since Zucker had been a long time member), and that would raise ethical concerns about whether the practices were doing more harm than good. There were also significant record keeping problems identified, which would further exacerbate concerns over whether the clinic was acting ethically.

    Those concerns should rightly have made CAMH management stand up and take note as it opens them up to lawsuits and accusations of inadequate oversight. I see the closure of the CAMH youth transgender clinic more as a matter of legal and ethical prudence than “caving to political activism”. If it was caving, I don’t think that CAMH would have allowed it to drag on for as long as they did, nor would they have had an external group do the review.

    Liked by 2 people

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