A professor at the University of Louisville is suing his employer after being fired from a top position for expressing views on gender dysphoria and saying children who insist they are transgender should not instantly be believed.
Dr. Allan M. Josephson was formerly the head of the school’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, but was demoted to a junior faculty position after university activists “sounded the alarm” over views he expressed during a 2017 panel discussion on gender dysphoria in children – and in February the university decided not to renew his contract.
Josephson’s lawsuit alleges that activists and a few of his colleagues demanded that he be “disciplined” for the comments which had “troubled” them. But what were the egregious comments which sparked the professor’s demise?
Speaking at the panel in 2017, Josephson said that children as young as seven, eight and nine years old could not necessarily be trusted to decide they are a different gender.
“We don’t let them vote, we don’t let them drive — and so we’re going to let them at the age of eight or nine decide that they’re no longer male or female? Unbelievable.”
Josephson hit back against the idea that if a child is insistent about being a different gender, then it must be true, saying there are many other psychological issues that could be causing them to express those feelings.
He gave the example of one female patient who had been “abused badly” as a child and decided she wanted to identify as male because “bad stuff happened” when she was a girl. “I didn’t want anything to do with that person and what had happened to me,” he said, quoting the patient.
But with transgender activism, parents are now getting the message that they should instantly accept and “affirm” what the child says about its gender without question. He also said that transgender “ideology” can be “neglectful of the need for developing the coping skills and problem-solving skills” that children require.
Referring to activists who say that using bathrooms for their genetic sex is “too stressful” for these children, Josephson said that “in the process of development, we’re always subjected to some kind of stress and developmental crisis” and that is “part of human development” and shouldn’t always be dodged to avoid ever feeling “uncomfortable.”
Josephson also claimed that transgender activism can prevent the accurate diagnosis of other mental health issues.
“Depression, anxiety, substance abuse – it’s abundantly clear that these youths have multiple more psychiatric problems than other patients – and why is this? We need to explore it.”
Societal stigma, he added, is “not enough to explain all the mental health problems” and “not a unitary hypothesis that explains everything.”
Josephson’s lawsuit claims that staff at the university continued to “belittle and berate” him for months following his demotion to junior faculty member. It alleges that the situation “inflicted irreparable damage to his professional career and reputation” and notes that he had been awarded “perfect marks” in his 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual reviews.
Josephson is being represented by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Travis Barham, senior counsel for ADF told Campus Reform that Josephson’s case sends a bad message about free speech at universities, where tolerance “should be a two-way street” and which should be “a marketplace of ideas, not just assembly lines for one type of thought.”
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