Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lynn Conway interviewed on Logo's 365Gay News

"Staying Sane":
Lynn Conway interviewed on Logo's 365Gay News
regarding Ken Zucker's attempt to suppress her website
[Originally aired on February 26, 2009]

Links to the video interview
Background on the interview
Transcript of the interview

On January 30, 2009 Lynn received a letter from Peter M. Jacobsen, an attorney representing Dr. Ken Zucker of CAMH (aka The Clarke Institute) in Toronto, falsely accusing her with libel and threatening her with a lawsuit – in a blatant attempt to disrupt Lynn's postings on the internet and defame Lynn amongst her colleagues.

Lynn called Zucker's bluff by exposing the false accusations in an investigative report on the internet. Chagmion Antoine of Logo/CBS News followed up on the story, in an interview Logo television's 365Gay News on February 26, 2009.

Links to the interview, background on this story and a transcript of the interview follow below.

Links to the video interview:

Background on the interview:

As part of her University of Michigan website Lynn Conway maintains a news-feed that provides ongoing access to news items of interest to the transgender community.

On January 30, 2009 Lynn received a letter 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 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.

The Jacobsen letter threatened Lynn with a lawsuit for libel, 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 Zucker

However, as anyone could easily determine for themselves, there were no "allegations of criminal conduct and sexual abuse by Dr. Zucker" in Lynn's news-feed, nor were there any such allegations anywhere in Lynn's website.

Zucker's threat of a lawsuit was simply a bluff, as part of a rather foolhardy attempt to suppress Lynn's website - leading to the following sequence of events:

Feb. 3, 2009:

Lynn called Zucker's bluff by exposing the false accusation of libel in the following investigative report:
"Lynn Conway's Trans News Updates: The webpage Zucker attempted to suppress"
Feb. 6, 2009:
Queerty then spread the story on the internet in the following article:
"Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders"Feb. 18, 2009:
Following the posting of those reports other women began coming forward who'd received similar threat letters from CAMH, exposing Zucker and CAMH as engaging in a pattern of threats and intimidation to silence their transgender critics:
"Kenneth Zucker's legal threats: Part of a pattern of silencing transgender critics"

Feb. 26, 2009:

Lynn was interviewed by Chagmion Antoine of LOGO/CBS News about Zucker's attempt to suppress her website and her freedom of speech:
“Staying Sane”, 365Gay News, Logo Television
[Originally aired 26 February 2009]

A transcript of the LOGO interview follows below:

Transcript of interview:

“Staying Sane”
365Gay News, Logo
[Originally aired 26 February 2009]

Ross Palombo:
A transgender university professor targeted she says for speaking out, and her fight against a prominent psychiatrist may help others keep their sanity. Chagmion Antoine has that story from New York. Chagmion.

Chagmion Antoine:
Ross, even though homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental illnesses back in 1973, people who are transgender are still diagnosed with gender identity disorder today. And one professor at U. Michigan says that’s crazy talk.

Chagmion Antoine (voiceover):
Lynn Conway has been fighting for the rights of transgender people ever since her own experience cost her her job in the 1960s. Now she’s a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan, and her website is a respected resource for trans people all around the world. So why is she being sued for libel by one of the world’s leading researchers on gender identity?

Professor Lynn Conway:
This isn’t between Dr. Zucker and Professor Lynn Conway, this is between Dr. Zucker and the entire transgender community.

Chagmion Antoine (voiceover):
Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a Toronto-based sexologist, spent his career diagnosing children with gender identity issues as mentally ill. When he was appointed to the APA as an authority on gender identity disorders last year, Conway sounded the alarm.

Professor Lynn Conway:
Dr. Zucker and his clinic are the sources of decades of pseudoscience claiming that transgender people, especially transgender children, are mentally disordered and in need of reparative therapy. I seek to expose that.

Chagmion Antoine (voiceover):
And she did. Zucker’s appointment to the APA’s committee was protested by trans people around the world.

Mishyana: (in a video-clip from this page in Michyana's YouTube site)
To say the least, Dr. Zucker is not appropriate for this position.

Chagmion Antoine (voiceover):
Zucker fired back with this letter to Conway, threatening to sue. He never followed through. Zucker declined to comment to 365, but Conway says his scare tactics are meant to draw attention from the bigger picture.

Professor Lynn Conway:
There are a lot of us out there. A lot of us are actually rather cool people. I think he’d enjoy meeting us all.

Chagmion Antoine:
Here’s an interesting fact. Lynn Conway is also a pioneering researcher in computer chip technology. She literally helped write the book. Ross.

Ross Palombo:
Thanks, Chagmion.

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