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Josephson v. Bendapudi

March 2019
University of Louisville (Public college or university)
Louisville, KY, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Dr. Allan Josephson
    Faculty/Staff
    Other

    Former Chief of the University of Louisville's Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Other
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration not protective of speech
    Faculty responses (e.g., asking student to leave classroom)
    Litigation
  • Incident Status:
    In litigation Federal District Court
  • No protest Occured
  • Was Speech Code incident

Summary

In 2003, the University of Louisville hired Dr. Allan M. Josephson to be the chief of the university’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology. In the fall of 2017, Dr. Josephson participated in a panel discussion at a Heritage Foundation event discussing treatment approaches for youth experiencing gender dysphoria. Dr. Josephson relayed his professional opinion that treatments should be based on seeking to understand and treat the underlying psychological issues these children face, rather than immediately beginning aggressive treatments like puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones. He further pointed out that children do not have the maturity to make these kinds of medically permanent, life-altering decisions. Dr. Josephson also cited research showing that a majority of children claiming to experience gender dysphoria naturally come to accept their biological sex over time. These comments made at the off-campus Heritage Foundation event allegedly angered other faculty members. These colleagues demanded that the university discipline Dr. Josephson, which it did several weeks later—demoting Dr. Josephson to the role of a junior faculty member. Then, in February 2019, the university announced that it would not renew Dr. Josephson’s employment contract in June, effectively firing Dr. Josephson. In response, Dr. Josephson filed a Complaint in the District Court of Western Kentucky alleging retaliation by the university in violation of the First Amendment.