Dr. Susan Bradley: “The trans lobby has got us on the run”

Dr. Kenneth Zucker, who runs the gender identity clinic at the Clarke Institute in Toronto, Canada, and Dr. Susan Bradley, one of its founders, have been vilified as “transphobic”  by trans activists because of their caution in prescribing extreme drug and surgery treatments to minors. In fact, the clinic is currently under  “6-month review,” Zucker has been forbidden to speak to the news media, and the Canadian legislature is considering a bill that would outlaw the work of the clinic–even though Zucker and colleagues do prescribe puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to “a significant minority” of their pediatric patients.


Update: The Globe&Mail story was sent by a reader who pointed me to a critical discussion about these doctors here. Apparently Zucker and Bradley subscribe to more conventional views about gender and sex role conformity than I’m comfortable with, yet they seem to be some of the only medical professionals who are questioning the rush to pediatric transition. Where are the gender-critical, non-homophobic doctors and therapists who are providing an alternate view? Tell us about them in the comments, please.

It is a measure of how lopsided the transgender discussion has become that these professionals–who have decades of experience with “gender nonconforming” children–are hounded by trans activists simply for presenting a nuanced view. These doctors’ only crime is in encouraging a child to simply consider living life without injecting powerful drugs and cutting off healthy body parts. For this, Zucker and Bradley are treated as personas non gratas who could one day be prosecuted as criminals for merely suggesting that it might be better to love one’s biological body than to permanently alter it; that preserving his or her future reproductive capacity might be a worthwhile goal for an 11-year-old; that other psychological conditions and trauma might play a role in the etiology of gender dysphoria.

This piece in Canada’s Globe and Mail (May 8, 2015) is an extremely important and unusual article. The balanced view taken by the story’s author, Margaret Wente, should be the journalistic norm, not the exception. Some excerpts:

“Some of these kids are quite significantly ill,” says Dr. Bradley. “They often have serious family problems and anxiety disorders. Or they’ve had serious trauma. A girl I saw had been raped, and after that she decided she was going to be a male. If you didn’t pay attention to the trauma you’re not doing that kid a service.” …

“The trans lobby has got us on the run,” Dr Bradley sighs.

These days, that eminently reasonable view is being challenged by people who believe that children’s sexual confusion should automatically be taken at face value. The clinic that Dr. Bradley helped to found – which does, in fact, support gender transition for a sizable minority of its patients – is being pilloried as transphobic. …

Dr. Bradley cautions that transition is a radical step – involving surgery and a lifetime regime of hormone therapy – and that the road, under the best of circumstances, is rocky. “The child is going to find himself in a really difficult situation…”

These days the media are overflowing with heartwarming stories about happy transgender kids and their happy families. But hundreds of kids have resolved their issue without changing genders. Their families are appalled by the attacks on Dr. Zucker  …

“My family’s experience with Dr. Zucker has been incredibly misrepresented,” another mother told me. Her daughter was five when they took her to the gender clinic, and strongly identified as a boy. She once asked if God makes mistakes, “because I should have had a penis.” She too was an extremely high-anxiety child. Dr. Zucker advised them that the immediate task was not to remake her into a boy, but to build her confidence and self-esteem. He asked them to dress her in gender-neutral (not boys’) clothing, and to encourage her to play with other girls.

It took us months to find a therapist who wouldn’t try to make it all about being transgender,” says the mom. “We just wanted to give her space.” Today, at 8, their daughter is a happy kid who wears her hair long, says she likes being a girl, and still prefers gender-neutral clothes. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with her in the next few years,” the mother says. “But because of Dr. Zucker she will love herself.” …

Under pressure to be politically correct, we have allowed a small but noisy bunch of activists to undermine a caring and first-rate institution, and to turn the problems of emotionally troubled children into an ideological battleground. It’s time to stop, before we do more harm.

2 thoughts on “Dr. Susan Bradley: “The trans lobby has got us on the run”

  1. ”Where are the gender-critical, non-homophobic doctors and therapists who are providing an alternate view? Tell us about them in the comments, please.”

    The silence so far says it all?


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