Human Rights: Protecting the individual or the community?

The closure of a respected research and treatment program at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) raises serious questions, says Toronto lawyer Kevin Marshall.  Marshall says he is concerned that an interpretation of human rights that losses sight of vulnerable individuals in favour of a collective, "community-based" perspective, may have led to the dismissal of Ken Zucker, and the resulting closure of the Gender Identity Clinic at CAMH.  Dr. Zucker was a psychologist and sexologist at CAMH and the ran the Clinic for more than 30 years.

"Are we losing sight of what human rights is really about, which is to advance the cause of indviduals, to act in their best interests and to protect their rights?", asks Marshall.

While some activists may dispute the psychologist's research and treatment, Marshall says Dr. Zucker offered "solutions that resolved their distress," without resorting to surgical remedies.  He says only those with a medical background are in a position to assess whether or not his approach was problematic, rather than the shifting lens of what is now considered acceptable by activists without medical training.

"Is a doctor's role to accept a patient's self-diagnosis and to treat accordingly?  Or is to dig deeper, identify underlying problems not recognized by the patient and to ultimately alleviate his or her distress?", asks Marshall.  Read more here.

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