Zucker closely: British Psychologists to learn how to be homophobic

Is your child gay? Omigod! DO something quick. If she’s a girl, maybe you’d better make sure she wears nothing but itty-bitty pretty pink dresses. Boy? Well, tough him up. Make sure he climbs a few trees and scrapes his knees.

Because after all, according to the renowned Professor Ken Zucker – who is to be a keynote speaker at the Clinical Psychology Conference in Manchester tomorrow (3 December): “Many parents bring their children to me because they dont want them to grow up gay”.

He is also fairly infamous for his controversial “treatment” and diagnosis of children with Gender Identity Disorder, where he attempts to “prevent” patients from becoming LGBT by forcing young girls to wear feminine clothing and young boys to ‘man up’, and for appearing to accept theories around rape which have been accused of being ‘victim blaming’.

His speech is at 11. Those who are less than enamoured of his theories are being encouraged to turn up at 10.30 and make some noise all through his speech. As the organisers put it: “bring a whistle, some rage and your friends”.

One might, of course, wonder why an organisation so outwardly respectable as the British Psychological Society should host such a bigot.

Tha answer, of course, is that one should only be surprised if one believes the BPS to be neutral in its take on sex and sexuality. In fact, the entire psychiatric profession has a streak of heteronormativity running down its back so wide you could park half the readership of the Daily Express on it. From continuing to regard homosexuality as “abnormal” long after it had been legalised, thru to continuing to hold similar views on transgender – and now a rearguard action to try and re-instate some of those bigoted views in the Diagnostic Standards Manaul V – the psychiatric profession as a whole is a hotbed of bigotry and prejudice.

If psychiatry were invented today, chances are that the vast majority of its adherents would be exposed by Watchdog as charlatans – whilst the rest would be run out of town for the damage they do. Why? Because although their knowledge is often promoted as “scientific” you have to search long and hardfor any sign of empiricism in their work.

Rather, the psychiatric profession seems to move from on value-laden paradigm to the next, sustained by mutual back-scracthing and peer-reviewing: a self-perpetuating gravy train, with loads of posh men in suits writing papers to be nodded approvingly at by other posh men in suits.

Is homosexuality “abnormal”? Why, certainly – and to prove it, here we have a paper by someone who thinks it is – and it must b so because its been peer-reviewed by two other psych’s who also think its abnormal.

The damage done is enormous. But government continues to fund it.


Note: The event is at the Lowry Hotel. To get there, i am informed that from Piccadilly Station you should come out the main entrance and take a right towards the city centre/Piccadilly gardens. Walk past Piccadilly Gardens (with the gardens on your left) towards the Arndale Centre in Market Street. Walk past the Arndale Centre (with the Arndale on your right) and continue on Market Street – then go straight ahead at a cross roads of Market Street and Blackfriars Road and across a bridge. Take a left at the next crossroads and the Lowry will be on your left.

Victoria Station is closer – you can walk along Victoria Street then a right onto Chapel street and keep walking and the hotel will be on your left.


About janefae

On my way from here to there
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9 Responses to Zucker closely: British Psychologists to learn how to be homophobic

  1. It’s not just heteronormativity that’s the problem, of course – it’s entrenched sexism. I doubt many feminists would feel comfortable with the idea of restricting children’s options like this. This is an area where we really must all stand together against an approach that is entirely geared toward privileging cisgendered males.

  2. Krissie says:

    It’s important to note the difference between psychoogy and psychiatry though.

    Psychiatry is the clinical treatment of disorders of the mind, whereas psychology is the study of the mind itself.

    As a social science, psychology of course entails listening to all arguments, even if only to disprove them – it doesn’t nessecarily deal in disorders of the mind. As a form of medicine, psychiatry involves being informed by psychology whilst diagnosing, understanding, and discovering disorders of the mind, and then going on to treat them.

    There are things that the science of psychology can learn from Zucker… it can learn about prople’s prejusdices and how they manifest in society, how prejudice can become poor medicine. How people come to accept prejudice as fact, how people fight against prejusdice, and how a persons psychology can be changed/damaged by the attitudes of a homophobe/transphobe with power in his hands.

    Zucker is a veritabe case study for psychoogists in the nastier side of society… I hope that’s what they’re learning from him.

    • Krissie says:

      My god, that typing was atrocious! *blush*

    • janefae says:

      Oh. Well aware of this – my first degree was in Experimental Psychology.

      But i do think the big underlying issue is how the field of psychiatry and in SOME cases, psychology as well, seems to confuse detached study from seeking out support for normative behaviours.


  3. Karen Oughton says:

    If it is the case that those protesting intend to actually disrupt his talk (rather than protest outside) I find it slightly alarming from a freedom of speech perspective. I find his views worrying but I would want to see other perspectives argued rather than trying to silence him by force.

  4. Tom, T says:

    I’m in agreement with karen here. I don’t think that attempting to silence Zucker is the best way forward, by all means we should make our voices heard at the conference/ outside of the conference.
    But ultimatly the best way to tackle such mindless biggotry is through reasoned argument and evidence to disprove his rediculus claims, both of which we have plenty of (gires,pfc, etc..).
    For me, the best way to proccede is to challenge him itellectualy and watch as his ideals and so called science bases claims crumble under the strain of reason.

    • janefae says:

      i’d say i agree with both (you and Karen)…but its a close call (and for someone with a very strong libertarian streak, that’s saying something).


  5. kate says:

    Tom and Karen do not wish to silence Zucker and I would agree with that. Yet Zucker himself attempts to silence his critics by threatening to sue them.

    Zucker threatened to sue OII and Lynn Conway over a factual report that he had been accused of sexual abuse and the allegations had beenn passed on to Authorities. The letter and other documents are reproduced here:


    And there is a video with further backround here:

  6. kate says:

    Just to clarify the above, Zucker threatened Conway for merely linking to the OII website and has not followed through with his threats….

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