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Transgender tide

A professor at the University of Louisville says he lost his job for advising parents to help their children embrace their birth sex

Transgender tide


A little over two years ago, I wrote an article about the growing push to affirm transgenderism in children and teenagers. National Geographic had just published an issue praising the movement, and featured a cover photo of a 9-year-old boy dressed like a girl.

Ken Zucker, a secular psychologist in Canada, had recently lost his longtime position at a mental health center in Toronto for suggesting parents should try to help confused children become secure with their birth sex.

During that time, I spoke with Allan Josephson, a professor and psychiatrist at the University of Louisville, who offers similar counsel. He told me Zucker’s firing had been “an incredibly sobering experience for many professionals to see.” Many realized: “If that could happen to him, perhaps it could happen to me.”

Two years later, Josephson says it’s no longer a hypothetical scenario.

On March 28, attorneys for the legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Louisville on behalf of Josephson. They say the school effectively fired the professor over his once-mainstream views.

The turmoil began in November 2017, when Josephson spoke on a panel at the Heritage Foundation about gender dysphoria and children. By then, Josephson had been chairing the university’s division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology for nearly 15 years.

During the Heritage panel, Josephson said the notion that gender identity should trump biological reality when classifying individuals is “counter to medical science.” He said parents should listen to their children with empathy and then “use their collective wisdom in guiding their child to align with his or her biological sex.”

Alliance Defending Freedom

Allan Josephson (Alliance Defending Freedom )

The ADF lawsuit says a few of Josephson’s colleagues complained to the university and demanded the school take disciplinary action. The lawsuit says the school demoted Josephson to the role of a junior faculty member. (A spokesman for the University of Louisville declined to comment on the case.)

In February 2019, school officials told Josephson they wouldn’t be renewing his contract. ADF attorneys say Josephson had received perfect marks on his performance reviews in the three years leading up to his visit to Heritage.

The ADF lawsuit challenges the University of Louisville’s actions as violations of Josephson’s free speech. The group’s website says school officials acted against the professor “with an eye to ensuring that neither he nor anyone else dares to express viewpoints they find objectionable on medical and psychiatric issues.”

Expect that pattern to continue.

When Brown University researcher Lisa Littman authored a study exploring a phenomenon known as rapid-onset gender dysphoria, activists quickly convinced editors at PLOS One, the academic journal that published the research, to reconsider it.

Months later, Littman successfully resubmitted the study without substantial changes. The study’s republication got little publicity, and it likely serves as more of a warning than a vindication: Professionals who challenge transgender activism on the basis of medical science or moral persuasion are subject to swift retribution.

The professionals I’ve spoken with say they want to promote the good of the children they treat. They’re alarmed to see physicians encouraging children to pursue life-altering, often-permanent changes to their bodies instead of examining mental health issues that could be causing distress.

And they’re alarmed to note how many physicians and psychologists agree with them, but won’t speak up for fear of public shaming.

But the real shame comes with a failure to speak up for vulnerable children.

I’m deeply concerned about a population of unprotected children who are being led down a path that even secular physicians can see is contrary to medical sense.

I don’t write about this issue because it’s the kind of low-hanging fruit that shows the swift decline of a darkening culture. I write about it because I’m deeply concerned about a population of unprotected children who are being led down a path that even secular physicians can see is contrary to medical sense.

And as a Christian, I’m concerned to see children and teenagers being led away from the God who made them in His image.

These aren’t popular messages, and they won’t win popular praise, but let’s hold on to the hope of what Josephson told me two years ago, long before his current troubles began:

“It might not be too late because truth still matters.”


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  • JerryM
    Posted: Wed, 04/10/2019 08:02 am

    "Expect that pattern to continue."

    The actions described in this article are consistent with what has happened to others who dare share findings inconsistent with the LGBT agenda, such as Mark Regnerus and Paul Sullins.   However, I find this statement unsettling, almost like a curse.  

    I am encouraged by stories of parents (activistmommy), elite athletes (Martina Navratilova) and others pushing back.  I am a member of the Heterodox Academy, a growing group which is advocating for viewpoint diversity in higher education.  In the end it is each one of us that needs to pray and act.  But shame on our church leaders that look at this issue, which is so clearly about child welfare, and do nothing.

  • RC
    Posted: Wed, 04/10/2019 01:14 pm

    The LGBT radicals are only too willing to sacrifice other people’s children on the altar of the Trans-Lie.  Hopefully, more parents will start to see the Trans-Lie for what it is, and save their children from a life time of regret.

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sat, 05/04/2019 11:28 pm

    Great article in the Wall Street Journal today on this subject called Standing Against Psychiatry’s Crazes. Dr. Paul McHugh has been fighting the insanity of his own profession for decades and surprisingly still has a job at Johns Hopkins.  He shut down the Gender Identity Clinic and testified against phony ‘recovered memories' and is still fighting the sexual mutilation of children.  The world is against him, but he keeps going into battle even at the age of 88.  He sounds a lot like Caleb (Josh 14:11).