Prominent psychiatry expert: ‘no such thing as transgender’

Dr. Joseph Berger (Photo: Federated Press)

Dr. Joseph Berger (Photo: Federated Press)

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — A Toronto psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Berger, is saying that trans people working for equal civil rights are just appealing to people’s emotions rather than stating scientific facts.

Berger says that terms such as terms such as “gender expression” and “gender identity” are ambiguous and without basis in science. He says trans-identifying people are ‘psychotic or simply unhappy’ and surgery isn’t an appropriate treatment.

Berger: “The medical treatment of delusions, psychosis or emotional happiness is not surgery. . . . . I have read the brief put forward by those advocating special rights, and I find nothing of scientific value in it. . . .”

Berger has been making these comments in an apparent opposition to a Canadian federal bill (C-279) that would offer protection to trans people.


No doubt there is going to be a firestorm over this. I for one, think that if an “expert” doesn’t know that “transgendered” isn’t a word (which he repeatedly uses to refer to us) then he perhaps may not be qualified to speak on the topic.

I’ve not followed this Canadian bill closely so if anyone can update us, please do in the comments section below.

More  Psychiatry expert: ‘scientifically there is no such thing as transgender’ |

Dr. Joseph Berger (Photo: Federated Press)

Dr. Joseph Berger (Photo: Federated Press)


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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Legislative, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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53 replies

  1. This man and what I’ve heard of his past actions on gender variant people (encouraging bullying of transchildren) disgusts me already.


    You can refer to this link for more information.

    Yes Dr Berger is a truly evil person. He advocated for the teasing of trans youth in order to help them establish boundaries. He is also an advocate of reparative therapy for gay and trans people.

  3. Isn’t this the guy who helped John Money try to justify his most heinous bungle that lead to the suicide of twins in Canada after John Money recommended SRS for one of the twins after a botched circumcision?

  4. I’ll update you: He’s a friggin idiot crackpot!!! and his license to “practice” should be revoked. I guess he’s a Canadian Marcus Bachmann.

  5. Im afraid merely writing him off as a crackpot is not terribly helpful. He has impressive credentials and is respected by many in his field. But then he is affiliated with CAMH through the University of Toronto.

  6. I don’t think anyone with any brains can take him seriously. His wild assertions fly in the face of modern science and common sense. This guy obviously has an agenda.

  7. I don’t believe anyone can take this nitwit seriously. His crazy assertions fly in the face of scientific evidence and common sense. He obviously has an agenda.

  8. Somebody give me this mornon’s contact details, I want to write to him and educate him. I think he’s another Dr Phil, I say this because Dr Phil isn’t a real Psychologist either (I did research in him and found he got his certificate revoked so now I don’t watch Dr Phil)

  9. Lots of people take him seriously. He is a serious, highly educated person with many professional credentials. Dont fool yourself, it is dangerous to underestimate people like this. I have dealt with his ilk many times. Everyone has an agenda you and I included.

  10. Wasnt he one of the guards at Auschwitz in 1945, his son maybe ?

  11. I think in reality, if you are not one suffering from this it is easy to deny it exists. Being trans* is an intensely personal personal experience with your core being being challenged everyday until you deal with it. It never goes away, not until you do transition. The proof of the nature of it is in how we feel once we transition. the weight of a lifetime of suffering vanishes.

    • I’ve heard many say it. I say it. it’s dysphoria. Thousands all saying essentially the same thing is all the “real science” we have. That is also the only science Professor grinsalot, er, “Joseph Berger,” has as well. So when he speaks of science, he’s lying!

    • Although I don’t necessarily agree with all his opinions, a lot of the comments on here are complete bullshit. Sorry, but “gender identity” is suchhh an indiscernible term. Do you know there are men that act like women, talk like women, dress like women and even have strongly feminine features yet are attracted to women! And then you also have the exact opposite and everything in between. Gender is not a black and white thing. There are studies of children that were born male (female too, although males seem to be more common) and at a young age seemed to gravitate to much more feminine tendencies, his parents, by asking questions and overall trying to figure out where the kid feels more comfortable, got him to start thinking about which gender he fits in more (do you see the stupidity of this), the child would have never thought to associate himself with either gender until he reached an age where he noticed the line society has drawn between the two, before that the child’s only view is “why doesn’t she have what I have and why don’t I have what he has, i dont know lets go play”. So, back to the case study: the parents believed and “came to terms” with the fact that their child was actually “meant” to be a girl and so they treated him as one and raised him as one, all the while the boy had testicles that were still pumping testosterone through his body and by the time the boy reached puberty and got his second large dose of testosterone he started becoming attracted to girls, by this point he was technically “straight” however in his view he was a “lesbian” (absurd or what!).

      My point is that, due to ENORMOUS political pressure scientists and researchers are mostly forced to have a “pro-gay” (I use that term to encompass all gender minorities) bias because trying to look at things from the other perspective comes with an immediate assumption of a hidden agenda. As a “bi-sexual” myself I fully understand why people feel this way, when your rights as a human being are trampled on it’s difficult to look at things unbiasedly especially when the majority have a biased view against you. I understand, but that is not science. I beg you please don’t push your political agenda into the science world. It is one of the last remaining strong-holds of knowledge. If logic and reason in the science world becomes something that is practiced with obvious bias then I really don’t know what hope there is for the world, seriously, if that be the case then there’s nothing left to say but “fuck it!” and fight until there’s one man standing who will dictate how things will go.

  12. Earlier in my transition, my parents’ priest told them I should talk to NARTH and ask them for a therapist referral in Toronto. This nutjob was one they referred, and it took very little digging to realize I needed to steer clear of his particular brand of crazy.

    I don’t care how educated people are, they’re still susceptible to confirmatory bias stemming from their belief system.

  13. I live in Canada and have been watching Bill C-279 slowly move along. I am not sure it will pass. It is the final stages and facing amendments.

    A prominent Canadian MP started a petition to the Bill a few months ago. I pasted the petition below.

    We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:

    That Bill C-279, also known as the “Bathroom Bill”, is a Private Members Bill sponsored by B.C. NDP MP Randall Garrison and its goal is to give transgendered men access to women’s public washroom facilities.

    And that it is the duty of the House of Commons to protect and safeguard our children from any exposure and harm that will come from giving a man access to women’s public washroom facilities.

    Therefore your petitioners call upon the House of Commons to vote Nay on the “Bathroom Bill”.

    • Rob Anders is a real ass. even a large number of his constituents agree. He only won his Calgary Riding as people were voting for the party rather than the MP.

    • There are some rumors going around that the people who oppose the bill are hoping that time will run out on it and the bill will have to be started all over again.

      • Hate to burst their bubble, but that’s not how Canadian parliament works.

        Only way for a bill to be stopped is for it to be voted down, or the government to be dissolved.

        They may mean time running out at the committee stage, which happened, that would just mean that the bill would pass to the House of Commons for the third and final vote without proposed amendments. The speaker of the house however could choose to allow amendments that were voted on but not reported to be brought to the house anyways.

        Ideally this bill will pass without amendment, that’s the best scenario period. It COULD however, pass with amendment(drops explicit coverage of gender expression, though covers it under Gender identity) which, in my opinion would be next best(though many trans people think it should be all or nothing), or it could fail to pass the 3rd reading and vote, at which point the NDP would introduce the bill again in 4 years with a different government.

  14. I also live in Canada Sophia and there are many of us who think it is better if this bill does not pass with the ammendments that have been proposed. It may well be better to wait until we have a more sympathetic government in power than to accept a diluted, watered down bill. Those are my personal feelings which I have conveyed to my local MP who I know personally,

    • To further the potential reasoning that this bill should wait, is that TECHNICALLY we already have protection under ‘sex’ in our current law, as it was read-in by our CHRC.

      This Bill just serves to explicitly list trans* as protected grounds.

      That said, I personally have hope it will pass, regardless, for a couple of points:

      1. Gender Expression, while removed in the amendment is still explicitly labelled under the similarly amended definition for Gender Identity. So it will be included, just in a different form.

      2. The Conservatives may have done this bill a favour by fillibustering the committee stage, as the bill was reported back to the House of Commons without amendment. This means that the bill has passed Committee without including the removal of Gender Expression, or the added definition for Gender Identity, leaving both as very open terms.

      3. The bill passed first and second reading 150 for and 132 against. A number(15) of CPC MPs abstained from voting, saying they would vote in favour if the amendment passed, but vote against if it didn’t. While this would make the vote close, the bill would still pass, even without those 15 votes, every other MP has declared their solidarity with their original position.

      4. We can always go back and re-amend the criminal code to expand protections(our constitution only prohibits removal of them) so any step towards a clearer law on trans people may be a good thing.

  15. After coming out as transsexual I am much calmer and at ease then I used to be. I don’t get angry as easily and feel a greater sense of self worth. So clearly the best treatment for me is to change, is it not?

    If someone told you if they where depressed because they couldn’t work and felt that they needed to, would you say “You’re Psychotic. You need antidepressants!”? No. That is actually a very cruel and sick thing to say. Especially if that person had a serious injury and was out of work.

    If being a woman makes me happy, then you have no right to stomp on my happiness by trying to make my life as miserable as possible. And yes. There is scientific evidence to support both Homosexuality and Transgender.

  16. He’s a burger? Beware! According to reports in the UK press today – – burgers have been found to contain almost 30% horse’s arse…well, horse, anyway. 🙂


  17. ThisGuy does not have a damn clue-he is just being atagonistic and totally ignorant-we don’t need his kind around

  18. so, some idiot who isn’t transgendered is saying there’s no such thing as transgendered. I hope that nut doesn’t think anyone is going to take him seriously.

  19. Comments from Berger should never see the light of day, as with this article. The writer should have done a lot more research, as should Berger. If that had been done, the human rights tribunal over the reinstatement of funding for SRS would have come up and it would have been found that I had included the most recent scientific research in my testimony.

    For those not aware, there is a very small piece of the Pituitary gland called the BsTC which, in normal women is half the size of the male counterpart. In the TG Brain, the BsTC matches the prominent intellectual gender of the individual.

    This was determined by post mortem inspection of this little bit from TS/TG volunteers in the Netherlands. Results began in the 1990’s and continue now.

  20. This wacko is a member of NARTH, the right-wing Christian group that advocates reparative therapy and suggests sending trans-children to school in the clothing of their gender identity to have them bullied in to “changing their minds”. He’s not worth the dirt he walks on.

  21. the guy is a piece of shit, however I take some insult from this article where Lexi attacks his vocabulary and indicates that this is reason enough to dismiss him. No! I have issues with the language also, does that mean my opinions are trash because of that? No it just means I am somewhat spelling impaired. The guy is WRONG but let us attack him for real shit, not his language skills. Because if thats who we are becoming I am out of the advocacy thing.

  22. If your going to use scientific research with regards to transsexuals it would add considerably to your credibility to use more recent studies. This is an excellent synopsis.

    Click to access etiology.pdf

    • I don’t have a “pony” in this fight, and come in with no preconceived opinion regarding whether transsexualism is biological or not.

      I read the pdf article for which Amber provided the URL.

      The Kruijver et referenced in the article was a very flawed study because of the small sample size. The total sample was 42 human brains: 13 “normal” (i.e., not transsexual) female brains and 21 “normal” male brains, which comprised 34 “control” brains. There were only 7 transsexual female brains, and only ONE transsexual male brain!

      In other words, the study’s experimental group size was only 8; while the control group’s size was 34, more than 4 times that of the experimental group.

      Anyone with any training in science will tell you that ANY supposed findings and conclusions based on this study’s egregiously tiny sample are suspect.

  23. I’ve followed this bill REALLY closely, and have sent a number of letters to Members of Parliament regarding it.

    TECHNICALLY we transpeople are covered already under ‘sex’ in Canadian law, as it has previously been read in via precedent. So there is even some resistance in the trans community to the passing of this bill.

    During the committee stage an amendment to the bill removed explicitly covering ‘gender expression’ in favour of including it as part of the definition of ‘gender identity’, which has caused some trans- push back saying that the bill should be voted down and that the New Democratic Party should reintroduce the bill later with out the amendment.

    That said the Conservative Party managed to really screw with committee proceedings and through some convoluted reasoning(i can explain further if you want) the amendment may or may not be dropped before going back to the House of Commons for the pass/no pass vote.

    As to this guy, his argument(while offensive) will likely be regarded as moot, by most of all 5 parties with members in office, as multiple different provinces Human Rights Tribunals, as well as the Federal one have reviewed cases and determined Trans* to be a real thing that needs to be recognized. Precedent has been set, and a number of other studies have already been reviewed in these proceedings. and accepted.

    Feel free to ask any questions, though, Mercedes Allen(dentedbluemercedes) is the loudest, and probably best informed trans-advocate here in Canada.

  24. There is actually a fair bit of resistance to this bill in canada, even amongst those of us who do not identify and purposely distance ourselves from the trans intelligentsia who love to speak on our behalf. That does not mean we are silent though.

  25. Repubs and radfems must love this guy. I’m just a tad confused why they have a picture of the Crypt Keeper in the article. Oh, that’s the doctor??? Well, I think psychologists should have some education beyond the 1920s if they’re going to give opinions on trans people. Just as an update for him, not everybody has penis envy.

  26. This is the same idiot who previously said he’s never met a patient who was born gay. He’s a mostly retired, discredited quack who the Catholic wingnuts haul out of mothballs for just such validation of their “science.” The sad thing is this character was once a very powerful figure in Ontario’s mental health establishment who, along with the nasty characters at CAMh, bullied generations of trans, gay and gender variant youth.

  27. My, my, my. Such hatred and intolerance for someone who harbors a different opinion than yours! You should be ashamed of yourselves and return your liberal membership cards!

  28. Frank – I hope you are being sarcastic. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  29. This man says that there is no scientific basis for the need to transition. Recent studies have proven that transsexualism stems from neurological chemicals. Need I remind this outdated twit, that neuroscience is a science. So that’s one scientific basis. The second is that the neurological chemicals are governed my biological hormones that cause these chemicals to send the signals the way they do. Biology. Hrmm, another science. These man went high school with Jesus, it’s no wonder his practice is out of touch. How can a cisgenderman say that there is no such thing has Transgender. He has never experienced what we feel, I’m also willing to bet he has never done any significant research or study into the subject.

  30. Thanks for all the comments! It’s been quite an education!

  31. Givn that your premises are set in stone, (according to you), ten of course the conclusions are forgone.

    By attempting to controll the language, you are attempting to control the arguement. Anyone wo disagrees is demonized and dismissed.

  32. No one here has been demonized. Many things are open to debate, the science on what causes transsexuality is not yet conclusive. Im not sure what language is being controlled but respectful discourse is not dismissed. You might be more credible if you post using a name instead of anonymously.

  33. Reblogged this on Jenna Is Me and commented:
    Someone who uses terms like “psychotic” loosely should probably be met with a lot of skepticism. And the fact that he won’t even recognize that there are people who want to be the other gender because that does, to them (Including myself), make them happier. We haven’t made nearly enough scientific advances to be able to say why this is, but to claim “psychotic” is a bit too much, don’t you think? I mean, that would make us fall within the purview of people who needs to be committed. And i think anyone who knows a transgender knows that psychotic isn’t exactly a good description.

    And yea, the fact that he’s against protection for a minority just seals the deal, doesn’t it? Let’s say transgender people were psychotic. Would that make it ok to be against something that would protect them from discrimination (Which there is plenty of, not just against transgender, but also the mentally ill)? I think not. Assuming it is a mental disorder (Which i am highly skeptical about), i think it makes no sense to discriminate against people with mental disorders. I don’t know why i need to tell all this to a person who is supposed to be educated, but apparently, i do. So there you have it.

  34. Reblogged this on Kira Moore's Closet and commented:
    I’m reblogging this because everyone needs to be aware there are people like this in the world who are in positions where their poisonous bigotry can do a great deal of harm.

  35. Why is it that these so called “experts” always look like they stepped out of some horror movie? This guy reminds me of the preacher from Poltergeist. Gives me the freaking willys that not only do these people make a living giving there “expert opinions” but even scareier to think that someone might actually take these evil looking bastards seriously!!

  36. Well..good thing that I do not have to worry about seeing this idiot.

  37. Berger comments show him to be a completely ignorant, bigoted and dangerous buffoon. To claim that he is a medical expert is akin to claiming that Hitler was a humanitarian. If he wants to understand something of the physiological causes of transsexuality (that occur in utero) he would do well to read some of the work by UCLA chair of neurobiology and member of the Nobel Prize Nominating Committee, Dr. Roger Gorsky.
    And yes, Berger does look like the preacher from Poltergeist. What a creep! Anybody that would take this vile cretin’s blatantly inexpert statements seriously needs their head examined.

  38. Dr. Joseph Berger doesn’t really exist. Anyone that believes they are Dr. Joseph Berger is psychotic or simply unhappy.

  39. An expert? Huh? On what? Go read Matthew 19 thorough, you inexpert ..pert

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