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Lawsuit moves forward from professor fired for gender ideology criticism

Professor fired after participation in non-university event about transgenderism

A federal lawsuit against the University of Louisville for the demotion and dismissal of a professor who questioned transgenderism moved forward.

Professor Allan Josephson’s attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom argued his case the first week of November in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The university dismissed him in 2019 after several years of controversy stemming from his participation at a Heritage Foundation event on transgenderism.

In a new court filing from November 14, the university further argued that the firing was justified, claiming that Josephson must prove that he was aware the university was allegedly harassing him to use the alleged incidents as evidence.

The university is asking the court to not allow Professor Josephson (pictured) to use events that were unknown to him around the time of his firing as evidence in the suit.

Josephson and ADF first sued the University of Louisville in 2019 after the public institution fired him for after openly questioning transgender orthodoxy and gender dysphoria, believing it should not be accepted as a mainstream or healthy medical activity. The university had hired him in 2003 to lead its psychiatric and child psychology department.

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ADF told The Fix after the hearing that it “went very well.”

Attorney Logan Spena said colleague Tyson Langhofer “clearly explained, using the defendants’ own words, how the university officials targeted Dr. Josephson for his speech, violating his First Amendment rights.”

“The outcome of this case will impact the ability of professors across the country to participate in the academic marketplace of ideas without facing government retaliation,” Spena stated.

According to the lawsuit, Professor Josephson is seeking to have his firing judged as a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech and be reinstated as a member of the faculty and his position of division chief.

A spokesman for the university, John Karman, declined to comment and cited a university policy on pending litigation.

The sequence of events that led to his firing began in 2017, according to an ADF news release.

“The university hired [Professor] Josephson in 2003 to be the chief of the then-struggling Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology,” the legal nonprofit wrote in an earlier news release.

“Since then, he turned the division around, building a program that now has a national reputation,” the legal nonprofit stated. “In the fall of 2017, Josephson participated in a panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation discussing treatment approaches for youth experiencing gender dysphoria.”

“His remarks angered a few of his colleagues, who then learned he had served as an expert witness addressing similar issues,” the news release stated. “They then demanded that the university take disciplinary action, and university officials responded by demoting him weeks later to the role of a junior faculty member.”

MORE: GWU student paper apologizes for ‘harmful’ transgenderism debate question

IMAGE: Heritage Foundation/YouTube

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About the Author
William Benson -- The Catholic University of America