Investigative journal article examines Michael Bailey controversy

Michael Bailey of Northwestern University is one of the key sexuality researchers of the last 20 years. Since publication, his book The Man Who Would Be Queen has been at the center of controversy. Specific allegations of personal and research impropriety have been leveled against Dr. Bailey, all of which he has denied.

The upcoming Archives of Sexual Behavior will feature a lengthy investigative report by Alice Dreger exploring the controvery and allegations. The New York Times plans a story regarding the matter, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. I will post a link when it is published.

Here is the abstract:

In 2003, psychology professor and sex researcher J. Michael Bailey published a book entitled The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism. The book’s portrayal of male-to-female (MTF) transsexualism, based on a theory developed by sexologist Ray Blanchard, outraged some transgender activists. They believed the book to be typical of much of the biomedical literature on transsexuality—oppressive in both tone and claims, insulting to their senses of self, and damaging to their public identities. Some saw the book as especially dangerous because it claimed to be based on rigorous science, was published by an imprint of the National Academies of Science, and argued that MTF sex changes are motivated primarily by erotic interests and not by the problem of having the gender identity common to one sex in the body of the other. Dissatisfied with the option of merely criticizing the book, a small number of transwomen (particularly Lynn Conway, Andrea James, and Deirdre McCloskey) worked to try to ruin Bailey. Using published and unpublished sources as well as original interviews, this essay traces the history of the backlash against Bailey and his book. It also provides a thorough exegesis of the book’s treatment of transsexuality and includes a comprehensive investigation of the merits of the charges made against Bailey that he had behaved unethically, immorally, and illegally in the production of his book. The essay closes with an epilogue that explores what has happened since 2003 to the central ideas and major players in the controversy.

Two more excerpts of interest to readers here:

Notably, because it is often scientifically and politically atypical in its claims, Bailey’s work seems particularly inclined to create critics and allies on all sides; so, for example, we’ve seen how he was criticized and praised in both the left-wing and rightwing media. And we find the anti-gay National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) trying, largely through highly selective quotation, to use Bailey’s words on homosexuality to defend their homophobic policies (see, e.g., Byrd, 2006) even while Bailey has been reasonably positioned to debate against NARTH representatives on a Catholic radio program and in academic conferences on homosexuality. (pg. 51)

One of those conferences, I attended and reported on here. And I can relate to this passage:

And Bailey? Undaunted, he plugs ahead, working on more sexual-orientation studies—studies likely to keep angering people on both the right and the left who wish his work fell simply into one of the politicized scientific boxes on which they insist.

The article quite long (62 pages with references) but if you have followed this saga at all or are interested in the human side of research, this is a worthwhile read. Consider this post a kind of open forum, but any allegations or other claims about the players or situation must be backed up with references.

UPDATE: 8/21/07 – Here is Benedict Carey’s New York Times article regarding the controversy.

60 thoughts on “Investigative journal article examines Michael Bailey controversy”

  1. Bailey abused an intersex research subject

    It is very simple to prove this. Bailey insists that he knows more about his research subjects than they do and when his research subjects do not give the answers he wants to confirm his theories, then he states they are just liars. We in OII (Oganisation Intersex International) have proved just the opposite. The person lying and deceiving the public is none other than the psychologist who is projecting his own mythomania onto others.

    In his book, Bailey wrote that Cheryl Chase told him that transsexuals frequently join intersex groups believing they are intersexual. He states that they are not. They do this (he assumes) because they want to believe that there is a real biological woman inside them as well as a psychological one (p. 175). This is discussed in the context of the autogynephile’s self-deception, something that he says has misled gender identity clinics for many years – and why they had not been noticed nor accounted for. He is also known for his “research” which supposedly proves that all men are heterosexual or homosexual and that bisexuals are liars. There are no bisexual men according to Bailey.

    The actual deception involved in his transsexual theory is very ironic. Bailey and Dreger both should have known that the main star in the book, “The Man Who Would Be Queen” was intersexed. We in OII (Organisation Intersex International) have confirmed that she is. When we read Dreger’s paper, we were stunned that a person who prides herself on being an intersex activist would stoop so low as to verbally depict an intersexed person’s genitalia without her consent. Dreger did that in the recent paper in which she defends this lying psychologist, Bailey. When we read the descriptions of Anjelica Kieltyka’s genitalia in Dreger’s article, it should have been obvious to any intersex activist and to Bailey himself that she was born with what Dreger calls a “disorder of sex development.” (See footnote)

    Bailey also published very private details about Anjelica’s sex life without her knowing that the material she was sharing was to be public. This salacious description of her most intimate sex life is humiliating to her.

    Once again, Dreger has come to the defense of another transphobe and has humiliated another intersex person, something she has done many times before. Bailey cannot hide behind Dreger because Dreger unwittingly revealed who was telling the truth all along.

    It was Anjelica Kieltyka.

    Anjelica has never agreed that she was a representative of autogynephilia and furthermore, this outright lie about her has shamed not only the fraudulent historian, Dreger, and the lying psychologist, it has perpetuated a fraud against the whole intersex community by using one of us to prove such a vulgar theory about transsexuals. How can an intersexed women such as Anjelica prove anything about male-to-female transsexuality? The whole theory is based on a fraud and the humiliation of intersex people.

    Bailey is a liar and a deceiver (something he projects onto all transwomen) and he has gotten caught red-handed by:


    In his book, Bailey himself agreed that Anjelica was not only the number one case study of his theory but that she was open and honest. Why was he not open and honest about her facts? She is not a male to female transsexual and she has repeatedly stated she is not an autogynephle. So who is telling the truth?

    Welcome to the intersex community, Anjelica.

    In solidarity,

    Curtis E. Hinkle

    Founder, Organisation Intersex International

    Footnote: Kieltyka explained to Bailey how, before she had sex reassignment surgery (SRS), […omitted because what Dreger wrote is salacious and not necessary to understanding what intersex is] (made easier by having been born with only one testicle), p.7.

    I noticed that Dreger chose to use the word ‘only’ in ‘only one testicle’; why that choice of terminology? Why not just say ‘having been born with one testicle’. Having ‘only one’ might suggest that the author regards having less than two testicles is in some way deficient, or defective. An interesting perspective for an intersex activist.

    I have since spoken at length with Anjelica and there are many other aspects of both her body, her endocrine system and her early childhood that further

    confirm her intersexuality.

    I am not going to further humiliate Anjelica by revealing private medical information about her without her formal consent and Bailey and Dreger should have been even more cautious since they are researchers and Dreger is a professor at a medical university.

    What is Bailey lying about:

    Bailey not only said she was an autogynephile, he makes her his STAR, his main case study and he did that over her repeated objections. That is lying. This would make her out to be lying about not being an autogynephile. We have proved that she does NOT even fit his own definition of an autogynephile. He should have listened to the person who was telling the truth, Anjelica. She is not an autogynephile and it has been humiliating to her to be the main case study for one when she has repeatedly been trying to make him tell the truth.

    An academic complained about my use of the word “liar” when referring to Bailey and couched her opposition to my use of the term by saying that I was using a term that was “anathema to scientific inquiry.”

    My response: Then why does Bailey who claims he is a researcher refer to many of his subjects as liars?

    I agree that researchers should not use the term “liar” when referring to research subjects, especially when the research subjects are NOT lying. My article is not research. It is political activism and I am not a researcher. I am an intersex activist.

    I wish that academics would STOP their political activism which they dress up as scientific research.

    As an activist who has been harmed by these people who are lying, I think that it is very accurate to simply state the truth. These academics are lying.

    Is there something wrong with simply stating the truth to academics?

    Also, it is not OII which is doing a disservice to the intersex and trans community, it is precisely those academics who are spreading lies about us and they do this even when they know they are lying. This is an abuse of power and academic privilege over very marginalized groups and it is time that people denounced it for what it is: ABUSE.

    An analogy:

    Let’s say that Bailey had used you as an example of a pervert that was supposedly a perversion that only affected men (remember women cannot be described by this theory). Even though your genitalia had been described, he went ahead and used you as a prime example of that perversion and you had insisted from the beginning that you did not belong to that category. Then some people here spot that you are intersex. How could an intersex person validate a theory of a perversion that CANNOT affect women? You should have been eliminated from the beginning. The fact that the person keeps lying about you might very well reflect his ignorance and sloppy methods but the fact remains, he would be lying and with your intersex variation, you could prove that you were telling the truth. (This would be trickier to do if this perversion were something that affected the whole population regardless of sex. But this perversion only affects men. An intersex subject could in NO way validate such a theory. Bailey is not only a liar, he is a dumb liar).

    Now here is Dreger’s dilemma and I think she knows it. If Bailey tries to justify this because he knows who is a “genetic” male and who is a “genetic” female, that will just make more and more people in the intersex community feel abused by Bailey and I bet AIS-women are already concerned.

  2. Ann –

    “does it matter what an individual thinks about these things if they don’t allow it to interfere in how they conduct business, their work, friendships, family, etc.?”

    No, people have the right to feel anyway they like on any subject, same-sex marriage included, as long as it would not affect working with someone who believed otherwise. Just because you don’t believe in one thing, doesn’t make you less efficient or apt at your work unless you let it influence you in this way. I think someone with opinions against certain issues are as valued as employees as those who hold them fast. Thus, why there should be no discrimination in employment for the Christian, homosexual, black, etc…

    And, Warren, you might want to clear up those articles…they’re, well, shameful as a professional.

  3. I apologize for all the one or two word responses – but I’m left speechless by the eloquent writings of others- Indeed Timothy – it is just a matter of time. 🙂

  4. Jayhuck –

    Thanks for the compliment…


    “When Jerry Falwell announced that employment and housing were civil rights not special rights, I could see the writing on the wall. It’s all now just a matter of time.”


  5. Louis Brandeis spoke of the structure of the US as laboratories of democracy. Ideas could be tried out in some states and observed by others until there was some national concensus.

    And most social change has used just such a methodology. Mixed-race marriage is a good example. For decades it was allowed in some states until the population – and the courts – recognized marriage as a basic right.

    So too do I favor an incremental approach to same-sex marriage. As much as I would like for it to be legal in all states immediately, that would not change the public opposition or hostility. Only by illustration of the lack of negative consequences can people’s minds be changed.

    I find it interesting that in Vermont, where the first civil unions were established, the legislature is considering following their neighbor and legalizing marriage. And there is minimal opposition from the constituents. Probably because there is no public observation of any negative consequences to recognition of same sex couples.

    In other words, the sky didn’t fall – and chicken little turned out to be quite tasty when roasted with potatoes and carrots.

    I think it is pretty easy to make some predictions about civil equalities. So here goes:

    Non-discrimination laws will continue to spread until passed by congress and signed by the next president, whoever it is. These have support of the majority of Republicans and nearly all Democrats and Independants.

    Either Vermont, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, or New York will be the next state with gay marriage and it will be within the next two years (and I’m guessing in that order). This will slowly spread over the next decade to include all of New England. Then Oregon and Washington will overturn their amendments as will the more libertarian midwestern and great-lakes states. It will be probably 20 years before the SCOTUS declares that marriage laws cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. By then they will have the support of the mainline denominations and of the majority of the people.

    This all just seems too obvious based on recent history, public polling, and demographic aging.

    When Jerry Falwell announced that employment and housing were civil rights not special rights, I could see the writing on the wall. It’s all now just a matter of time.

  6. Warren –

    I am surprised that the authors stated this “It is important, we think, to recognize that social science cannot settle the debate over same-sex marriage, even in principle.” Because the reasons for banning it seem rooted in many social science questions. We are not a theocracy, and thus, such civil institutions cannot be decided on the basis of one faith interpretation, but rather science as to whether or not it does harm. We know from research already that same-sex couples can and do form long-term, monogamous, happy relationships; and that they raise children as healthy as their heterosexual counterparts.

    The post then goes on to say “First, whether same-sex marriage would prove socially beneficial, socially harmful, or trivial is an empirical question that cannot be settled by any amount of armchair theorizing.” The the arguments around “socially beneficial” would seem to be obvious.

    How is it not in societies best interest to promote monogamy between consenting adults, and to create more legal responsibilities within existing families? Same-sex families exist already, I’m not sure what argument can be made that giving them legal obligations to one another is harmful. The only state to legalize same-sex marriage, Massachusetts, has the lowest divorce rate in the country…and I don’t think we can use civil unions as a “test,” because many couples do not get them who would await same-sex marriage. See the rates of same-sex couples in CT who are getting civil unions…much has been written on how most are not taking advantage of those laws because they are inherently discriminatory.

    Legally, it really cannot be argued that these benefits should not extend to the same-sex couples. The ONLY reasons you cannot marry someone of the same gender is due to the SEX of that person. If you are refusing someone based on their sex, then that constitutes sex discrimination…ex: I cannot marry a woman “only because” she is another woman. This becomes particularly difficult to argue in states which have ERA (equal rights ammendments). It’s not about orientation under the law, but gender equality. You have to have a reason for excluding a group of people, and I haven’t seen a good legal argument yet for doing so. It is the government’s duty to protect the civil rights of all people, even when those rights are unpopular or not supported by the majority. Interracial marriage would have certainly lost a “popular vote” in its time.

    I have no doubt that this legal truth will evidence itself in the years to come…until that time, it seems most get so caught up in “orientation,” and forget that at its core, it is an issue of sex equality, not orientation, under the law.

    So folks, banter back and forth about the “social science” or “religious” perspectives…in the end, this issue will be resolved by law.

    A woman can’t marry a woman in this country only because of her sex….that’s sex discrimination, and that’s illegal.

  7. As it happens, the United States is well situated, politically and legally, to try same-sex marriage on a limited scale-—without, so to speak, betting the whole country.

    What exactly is the “bet” here? The sight of gay people marrying might fill straight people with such horror that they’ll abandon marriage in droves? Isn’t that kind of, you know, stupid?

  8. Warren,

    How could Massachusetts and a few other states be any kind of “reasonable” experiment when these gay couples have to exist in a society that still, by and large, treats them as second class citizens – that says that their marriages aren’t good enough to be recognized in other states, that still doesn’t afford them the safety to express their affection in public, that still mostly rejects their relationships???? I’d love to know your response to this!

  9. “The upshot is that the nation is running exactly the sort of limited, localized experiment that can repay intensive study.

    This seems responsible and a valid recognition of concerns regarding same sex marriage.”

    I have to wonder if this is what so-called experts were saying when black and white people were not allowed to marry? These sort of comments are ridiculous when we are talking about granting civil rights to a minority – that you couch it in terms of some kind of experiment is unconscionable.

  10. Warren,

    I am thoroughly shaken by the fact that you attached your name to an article, written by David Blakeslee, that is SO completely full of distorted data and twisted truth. I have never, ever read an article by a respected psychologist that denigrates gay marriage is a thoughtful and non-fearful way. Everything I have read, including this article, is full of half-truths, and facts that have no basis except maybe for one reference or so to a book or another study that one person did.

    There is absolutely NO scientific evidence whatsoever to back up the claims made by David Blakeslee and yourself – and for someone who claims to care about academics and truth, I’m surprised you would allow your name to be associated with this.

    When any so-called researchers speak out against gay marriage, the only thing I am able to see in their writings is a fear of the unknown and a fear of change. They never back up their arguments with sound science – What about the other countries that have successfully implemented gay marriage – to the benefit of their societies???? This isn’t just something that is happening in America, it is something that is global.

    I guess I don’t understand you anymore – so it’s ok for people to be gay, but not ok for them to marry???

  11. Ann – I do think one’s view of gay marriage is not of necessity important to one’s scientific or research work. I know several high profile researchers that are opposed to gay marriage but have never spoken on the subject. Their work is above reproach and will not speak one way or the other because they know they would be hindered by the controversy.

    Why I am scrutinized is because of I have opined on the subject. This is fair as long as the scrutiny cuts all ways.

    My views that I signed on to in the Oregonian have moderated some, especially on the health and mental health correlates of homosexuality. I have spoken to that point here on the blog frequently and did a nine part series exposing the “research” of the Camerons. I think it would be valuable to do research on the family impact, if any, of gay marriage in the jurisdictions where now legal. Meezan and Rauch essentially say the same thing:

    It is important, we think, to recognize that social science cannot settle the debate over same-sex marriage, even in principle. Some people believe the United States should have same-sex marriage as a matter of basic right even if the change proves deleterious for children; others believe the country should reject same-sex marriage as a matter of morality or faith even if the change would benefit kids. Consequential factors are but one piece of a larger puzzle; and, as is almost always the case, social research will for the most part follow rather than lead the national debate.

    Both authors of this paper are openly gay and advocates of same-sex marriage, a fact that readers should weigh as they see fit. In any case, our personal judgments about the facts presented here are no better than anyone else’s. Two points, however, seem to us to be both incontrovertible and important.

    First, whether same-sex marriage would prove socially beneficial, socially harmful, or trivial is an empirical question that cannot be settled by any amount of armchair theorizing. There are plausible arguments on all sides of the issue, and as yet there is no evidence sufficient to settle them.

    And then they advocate a more limited test:

    As it happens, the United States is well situated, politically and legally, to try same-sex marriage on a limited scale-—without, so to speak, betting the whole country. As of this writing, one state (Massachusetts) is marrying same-sex couples, two others (Vermont and Connecticut) offer civil unions, and several more (notably California) offer partner-benefit programs of one sort or another. Most other states have preemptively banned gay marriage, and some have banned civil unions as well. The upshot is that the nation is running exactly the sort of limited, localized experiment that can repay intensive study.

    This seems responsible and a valid recognition of concerns regarding same sex marriage.

  12. does it matter what an individual thinks about these things if they don’t allow it to interfere in how they conduct business, their work, friendships, family, etc.? Isn’t it a privilege to have personal beliefs, whatever they are, and be selective with whom we share them?

  13. Well, I for one don’t want to be judged at all!!! LOL – JAG – don’t play into christian evangelicals hand on the genetic card – I know it is not much comfort but their power is waning and soon the real idea of civil rights will begin again.

  14. Jayhuck –

    I hope also that you are wrong in the above statement…Warren, please clear this up.

  15. Mary,

    “Why can’t gays just have civil rights based on being people instead of their sexuality being genetic.”

    I totally agree with you. It seems that many evangelicals are making the argument that UNLESS it is genetic, then there are no civil rights requirements. Timothy cited such statements above.

    People are discriminated against daily simply “because” of their orientation…when people stop discriminating against them as a group, hopefully, such laws protecting them will become unnecessary.

    Until then, we see GLBT people denied basic civil rights all the time – the right to obtain housing and remain in housing without discrimination, the right to have a job, the right to civilly marry an adult regardless of their gender (as long as they meet the other requirements – such as age, etc..).

    I hope, as you likely do Mary, that we will oneday see a world where people are judged “by the content of their character” (as MLK stated) and not the color of their skin (orientation, religious practices, etc…)

  16. Warren,

    I apologize for all the posts, but you call Wayne Besen on his falsehoods and then attach your name to the article I linked to above that is littered with falsehoods and outright distortions by David Blakeslee – I’m just trying to understand what is going on.

  17. Timothy – Warren –

    Is this statement true? “In all honesty, I wish you hadn’t reminded me of your joint effort with Dr. Throckmorton to advocate against civil equality for gay couples in 2004.”

    Did you, Dr. Throckmorton, advocate against civil equality for gay couples or am I missing something very important here? I am willing to believe I’ve missed something, but I’d like to clear this up!!!!

  18. Eddy,

    I agree with you and Mary – Liberty, justice and equality (which includes the right to Marry) for ALL!!! 🙂

  19. I’m confused.

    Did it appear that I was validating his assertion that civil rights are based solely on genetics?

    I do, however, recognize that this sort of simplistic sloganistic argument works for those who like their world defined by bumper-sticker platitudes. So, to take the wind out of those sails, we have to be consistent with our honest statement that it us irrefutable that at least some or the factors playing into orientation appear to be genetic or – at least – prenatal.

    One can argue away a tendency to left-handedness or even neural pathways. But there just is no post-natal behavioural basis for hair swirls.

  20. Drowssap,

    What you hear in the media is not what you’ll find in the heart. Sorry – but there are some real bad people out there.


    Why can’t gays just have civil rights based on being people instead of their sexuality being genetic. I think we are going to search many years before we have a final answer and I would hate to have any answer determine how we will treat people. Genetic or not – gays are people who deserve equal rights.

  21. Timothy –

    “Obviously this is a nonsense argument. Neither religion nor country of origin are genetic yet they are civil rights issues.”

    I don’t see that we should tailor our arguments to nonsense logic such as those stated that “genetics or no civil rights.” Catering to faulty logic is a slippery slope.

    Holding fast to evidence, research, and truth is ultimately how I would proceed. I feel no need to be hesitant in that for someone elses prejudices.

  22. Eddy

    I don’t believe that Conservative Christians will support aborting children because they have a greater chance of becoming gay. Every Christian in a leadership position that I have heard speak on the subject has come out against it.

    I’m not a religious guy, but that is what I have seen.

  23. “disturbances in the womb”… Hmmm – how about calling it an environment in the womb that does not fall into the range of environmental conditions for most or a majority of pregnancies. The word disturbances might be better suited to fit criminal behavior origination.

  24. It could go some other ways as well…

    A treatment could be developed that would counteract the encoding caused by the mother’s age while the embryo is still in utero.

    Medical treatment of an individual born with such encoding still intact could also be developed.

    I know both ideas are similarly reprehensible but they are possibilities.

    I don’t know…maybe for once we’re not blaming the conservative Christians…but I can’t imagine them condoning abortion so readily. Yikes! I must confess, though, that I’ve seen some pretty serious twisted thinking in my day…and I’ve got to reckon with the possibility that some WOULD justify abortion in the area of homosexuality. The ‘logic’: If the child lives, it will surely pursue a life that will lead it to hell. So, we’ll take its life while its still innocent and thereby gurarantee heaven. (It’s the ‘awkwardness of growing up left-handed’ thing trumped up with eternal values.)

    On the other hand though, I do agree with you that it SHOULD NOT matter when it comes to rights, freedoms and opportunities. “Liberty and justice for ALL.” Not just for those who believe as we do or who belong to our church or club. FOR ALL!

  25. What is my symptom of autogynephilia?

    You denied being autogynephilic. According to Blanchard and Bailey, autogynephiles nearly always deny their autogynephilia. Of course you don’t think you’re crazy, because you’re crazy.

    Kind of like having gay activist review cleint centered therapy????

    I wouldn’t really know, but it seems to me that if one is concerned about the integrity of the scientific process in one area, destroying the integrity of the scientific process in another area is not the proper way to address it. (And this isn’t even a scientific study wherein one can objectively analyze the data, this is puff yellow journalism solicited by the editor of the journal to defend his colleagues.)

  26. jag

    I’m anti-abortion but unfortunately my side lost the debate a long time ago.

    ALL children should be treated with love.

  27. JAG,

    the reason that it is important to be honest and careful about the etiology of orientation is best seen in the recent comment of conservative columnist Kevin McCollough:

    Whatever… there is no known genetic link, cause, origin – though many have looked – every search has come up empty.

    No gene. No civil rights issue.

    Now those of us who care about truth will acknowledge that the sources of orientation are probably a combination of gene and of non-gene factors (whether purely biological or through some post-birth stimulae). But for dedicated anti-gays like McCollough all pre-birth causation must be denied no matter how convincing the evidence.

    Because for him it’s simple – either genetic base or no civil rights.

    Obviously this is a nonsense argument. Neither religion nor country of origin are genetic yet they are civil rights issues.

    But anti-gays will continue to make such arguments – and a continued and unceasing rebuttal to their falsehood is necessary.

  28. I’m wondering Drowssap, why would it matter where sexual orientation comes from? Even if someone was affected in utero, by something as simple as age (per the example you gave, women over 40 are more likely to have left-handed children), etc…it doesn’t or shouldn’t change how we view the resultant child…should it?

    Left handed people are able to get married, etc…like everyone else. People are curious about their life, have cute little stores for special gadgets for them, and they are virtually indistinguishable from their peers in inclusion in social and family activities.

    I hope the same can be said for people of a non-heterosexual orientation as well…regardless of origin.

    My concern is that people develop these theories of “virus exposure,” etc…to say that something is inherently “wrong” with the child.

    It could go two ways:

    1 – People, when aware of the “exposure” (or theoretically tested for it in the future) want to abort the child as developing…

    2 – People will stop continuing prejudicial laws in housing and employment due to the biological origins of homosexuality, and its inherent nature.

    The jury is out.

  29. Boo

    Some more relevant left handed findings.

    Women over 40 are more than twice as likely to have left handed children

    More than half of all premature babies are left handed.

    Translation: hiccups or disturbances in the womb environment switch people from right to left handed.

    Could the same be true for sexual orientation or identity? We’ll have to wait for the science but it certainly isn’t a crazy notion.

  30. Boo

    I don’t know if a prenatal germ/virus exposure has anything to do with SSA. We are a long way from knowing. However the general concept is far from ridiculous.

    Exposure to bacterial meningitis switches people from right to left handed

    From the study

    “Fig. 1 shows that children with a meningitis severity score above the median had a 6.2 times higher risk of becoming lefthanded at school age compared to those below the median (95% CI 2.0–18.6). Furthermore, those who contracted meningitis below the median age of 1.8 years had a 12.3 times higher risk (95% CI 2.6–58.0) compared to a 5.9 times higher risk (95% CI 1.6–21.7) among children who contracted meningitis at older age.”

    I doubt if SSA has anything to do with Meningitis but it supports the general notion that the environment can change basic orientations.

  31. Drowssap

    are you autogynephilic

    I am not autogynelphilic.

    According to the science of Bailey and Blanchard, you have just demonstrated a symptom of autogynephilia. (And thank you for pointing out Bailey’s ridiculous “gay germ” endorsement.)

    However, apparently no body charged with investigating this has found anything.

    Not true. Northwestern found something and took some sort of action but refused to say what it was, as Dreger reluctantly notes in her gossip column- er, “scientific article.”

    Something else interesting is that the editorial board of Archives of Sexual Behavior, which will be publishing this, happens to be packed with Clarke Institute people (the clinic Ray Blanchard and the defenders of his model work at) including:

    Editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior

    Kenneth J. Zucker, Clarke Institute (now known as CAMH, Clarke Division)

    Managing Editor:

    Allison Owen-Anderson, Clarke Institute

    Some of the Editorial Board:

    Ray Blanchard, Clarke Institute

    Anthony F. Bogaert, Clarke Institute

    James M. Cantor, Clarke Institute

    Meredith L. Chivers, Clarke Institute

    Michael C. Seto, Clarke Institute

    J. Michael Bailey, Northwestern University

    Khytam Dawood, University of Chicago (former Bailey student and Bailey supporter)

    Anne A. Lawrence, only Board member unaffiliated with an institution and longtime promoter of Blanchard’s theory|editorialBoard

    So a supposedly scientific journal is publishing a “history” defending a guy who happens to sit on its own editorial board. That doesn’t strike me as quite kosher.

  32. Samantha,

    Having never experienced gender issues – I still agree with you!! How can anyone who has never experienced such a transition or known many, many people who have transitioned and known them as friends I might add, give a good definition.

    And as you say, to consider and put into words all the considerations of any change could not be done so in one book.

  33. Having gone through gender transition, I strongly question the opinions or conclusions of those who have not themselves experienced it. Despite the fact that I have lived with it my entire life and devoted much thought, time and energy to understanding it, I have found it to be far too complex to adequately explain it in any satisfactory way, even at book length. I sincerely doubt Mr Bailey or anyone else can.

  34. “argued that MTF sex changes are motivated primarily by erotic interests and not by the problem of having the gender identity common to one sex in the body of the other.”

    I have to say, I’m not sure why this is even a “controversy,”the literature has been quite clear over the years that individuals attempt to transition to better align their external frame with their internal experience of gender, and as cited even in the DSM, that often erotic interests do not shift with the transformation of physical appearance – for example, FTM transsexuals are almost exclusively female oriented in their interests.

    The thing I continue to be astonished by, is why native american culture with its Berdaches are so much better integrated – seeing someone as “two-spirited” and celebrating this, rather than our “american” approach – which seems to be lagging, but ever so predictably pathologizing.

    Why do we care so much about what someone sees themselves as? It is such a personal thing.

  35. Since this is a Bailey thread I suppose I’ll have to shamelessly plug my favorite quote of his.

    “Greg Cochran has convinced me that this theory [of a gay germ] is at least tenable, which puts it way above competing theories. Most of the evolutionary speculation about homosexuality has been quite lame, even speculation by respected thinkers. The persistence of homosexuality despite the fact that gay and lesbian people clearly reproduce less often than straight people is perhaps the most striking paradox in all of human evolution.”

    08/26/02 J. Michael Bailey

  36. I do not know what the truth is of every allegation. Only those involved do. However, apparently no body charged with investigating this has found anything. I am impressed with the scientific work of Dr. Bailey. Even though we disagree at times about the implications of his work, I think his reports are compelling and his research important.

    I have never faced anything like Dr. Bailey but I have been and am the focus of what can only be described as hatred by groups on the right and the left. It is not a pleasant place to be. However, I suppose it is one price of speaking your views in an independent manner.

  37. Scientists will eventually determine the cause of SSA. The Bailey saga is one reason why its taking so long. Nobody wants to go up against an identity group.

    For most people its too easy to go with the flow.

  38. I read the article in the New York Times. I would like to say that the brief mention of intersex in this article, even though it is very brief, will almost unanimously offend intersex people, regardless of their particular views on intersex.

    We are described by the author of this article as follows:


    Dr. Dreger is the latest to arrive at the battlefront. She is a longtime advocate for people born with ambiguous sexuality and has been strongly critical of sex researchers in the past.


    My only comment (Intersex is not about sexual orientation. It is about the marginalization and patholgization of people because of the body they are born with and most of us do not feel that we are ambiguous.)

    However, concerning my sexuality. This is my only comment to the author:

    Sir, there is nothing ambiguous about my sexuality. It is quite clearly hermaphroditic. But what else would I expect from people working with Dreger and Bailey in order to produce a puff piece but to conclude that intersex is an ambiguous sexual orientation?

    Thank you sir for this ambiguous article.

    Curtis E. Hinkle

    Founder, Organisation Intersex International

  39. And unfortunately the NYT article is also a bit slanted- it mentions the Lambda nomination but not that the book subsequently became the first in history to be withdrawn as a nominee, on the grounds that it was transphobic, and that the “sexually explicit captions” Andrea James used were taken from the book, and that there are a lot of people in the intersex community who think she’s as bad as Bailey:

    (And no, Andrea James did not somehow mind-control the intersexed community into attacking Dreger, they came to her.)

  40. The question in my mind is whether Bailey and Spitzer are examples of a similar kind of hazing from those who are threatened by the way other’s use their data. It is very simple to respect the authors and discredit those who overgeneralize their research…but that does not seem to be enough…my impression is that devaluing and demeaning of authors of research is an important way to limit the conversation…

    Um, no. See, it’s Bailey himself who vastly overgeneralizes his data. It’s Bailey who is making sweeping claims about the sexuality of whole populations based on trolling hooker bars at 2am.

    Nothing angers people like the truth. Go Bailey!

    Ah, so when black people protested Birth of a Nation, it could only have been because they were too threatened to acknowledge The Truth that they all secretly wanted to rape white women. All right then, a simple question for you Drowssap: applying your own logic, and Bailey’s logic wherein denying autogynephilia is considered to be a symptom of autogynephilia, please tell me, are you autogynephilic?

  41. Of course Bailey is guilty and Dreger is telling the truth. Just look at the pictures in the NY Times. Bailey is sanding there quartered to the right not looking at you full face on, his face is harshly and sinisterly lit with a dark shadow on his left side the side he shows to you. Dreger on the other hand is nicely seated on her front porch (at #521), wearing a nice green ankle length dress and she is lit softly and complementary. Of course Bailey is guilty.

  42. Nothing angers people like the truth. Go Bailey!

    As for the allegation that he slept with one of the transexuals that he interviewed for his book he denied it and I hope he is telling the truth.

  43. David,

    In all honesty, I wish you hadn’t reminded me of your joint effort with Dr. Throckmorton to advocate against civil equality for gay couples in 2004.

    I had forgotten how recent it was that strawmen (we’re not a bigots), insult (we can’t trust gay people to tell the truth about gay people), false dichotomies (there’s no gay gene therefore it’s a developmental error), really really bad science (the Spitzer telephone survey), inuendo (gays are inclined to mentally illness), and hopelessly outdated and poorly contrived “research” (100% of gays are non-monogamous within five years) were all thrown together under the mantle of justice and moderation to support denying gay citizens the rights that the basest and worst of heterosexual couple take as their birthright.

    It wasn’t how I wanted to start my evening.

  44. The question in my mind is whether Bailey and Spitzer are examples of a similar kind of hazing from those who are threatened by the way other’s use their data. It is very simple to respect the authors and discredit those who overgeneralize their research…but that does not seem to be enough…my impression is that devaluing and demeaning of authors of research is an important way to limit the conversation…

    We learn from the talking heads on TV how to control a conversation, devlaue a threat and get a point accross, but not to listen and to learn.

  45. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out, as I read the book in 2004 and referenced it in my request that Oregon not move quickly to validate Same-sex marriage, but consider the science thoughtfully.

  46. Having been following this sordid little mess from the beginning, I can say, with references, that quite a lot of what Dreger has to say is one-sided, quote mining, or just outright lies.

    The full texts of the emails she exchanged with Andrea James paint a slightly different picture than what Dreger claims:

    In addition, she claims that Andrea attacks any transwoman who won’t say they’re a “woman trapped in a man’s body.” This is a lie. Andrea believes gender is a social construction:

    (along with tons of other places on her site where she makes this clear that I don’t have the energy to find)

    The only places on her site Andrea even uses the phrase is to call it a cliche:

    (and some other places I don’t have the energy to dig up but you can just type cliche into her site’s search feature)

    Andrea unfortunately let this get too personal, but you’ve got to admit, the whole idea that legions of academics are cowering under their bedsheets in fear that Andrea James might call them a poopyhead is a little, um… crazy. (And she and Lynn Conway obviously forced those “homosexual transsexuals” to file complaints against Bailey by using their evil mind control powers.)

    I also find it interesting that Dreger can drone on and on about Anjelica Kieltyka’s delusional conspiracy theories without once stopping to note that it doesn’t really reflect well on Bailey that he wrote a book mocking someone with obvious signs of mental instability, and promoted her as a prime example of a “type” of transsexualism. Personally, I would never write a book making fun of one of my mentally ill clients and claiming that a black schizophrenic is typical of all black people, but then again I’m licensed.

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