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The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism
The Man Who Would Be Queen, by J. Michael Bailey
What became evident right from the beginning however, was that his knowledge was at such a level that I would have failed him as an undergraduate student.
The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism
by J. Michael Bailey
Published by Joseph Henry Press (2003)
I.S.B.N.-13 978 0309084185
Before receiving a review copy of this book I had already received many emails from different parts of the world from members of the sex and gender diverse community who were outraged by its publication. I did, however, try to give it a fair chance both from an intellectual and academic stance.
Bailey is a professor of psychology at Northwestern University in the U.S.A. and the promotion of the book is very keenly centred on the premise that he uses scientific methodology in both his research and his discourses. Being a social scientist myself I was fully open to his presentations on the origins of homosexuality and transsexualism. What became evident right from the beginning, however was that his knowledge was at such a level that I would have failed him as an undergraduate student.
His literature search is profoundly out of date and he relies heavily on Richard Green's studies of feminine boys to argue that feminine boys were more likely to become homosexual or sometimes transsexual. But Green's studies are now some thirty years-old. Bailey also maintained that Blanchard was clever in his interpretation that primary (development at a young age) transsexuals were in fact homosexual men who wanted to change gender to attract men. He also jumped on Blanchard's and Anne Lawrence's bandwagon of some transsexuals being deluded heterosexual men who were only able to connect sexually by imposing a female form on their on body images during sexual fantasy (autogynephilia).
The book focuses on what Bailey calls male-to-female transsexuals with very little respect for those people's female identities. Sadly his research is so paltry and tragically inadequate that he seems basically to have gleaned nearly all his information from transsexual prostitutes, both pre-operative and post-operative, whom he evidently saw as sad losers. Any sex researchers worth their salt would have known that this was the fundamental mistake Kinsey made in compiling his studies of Americans' sexual habits over sixty years ago. Certainly many transsexuals are forced into the sex industry through the poverty trap of marginalisation but they are no longer the greater part of the transsexual population in many countries. This kind of research error on Bailey's part is indicative of his attempting to make generalisations on humankind by studying isolated populations. Many of his subjects were solicited from America's down market nightclubs.
The majority of Bailey's studies were based around explaining sexual behaviour and sex and gender-identity as a deviation of the male and female bi-polar model. It is unfortunate that an academic should put out misleading work such as this and confer authoritative status on it. I would be terrified to think that one of my young naive students might come across such a poor publication and completely erase the progress that genuine thinkers of sex, gender diversity and sexual freedom have made in the past thirty years. I imagine this book will do well in the recycling bins if the sex and gender diverse community are lucky, before it does harm to too many.
The Man Who Would Be Queen Controversy
Edited from Wikipedia: The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism is a 2003 book by J. Michael Bailey, published by Joseph Henry Press. The first section of the book discusses gender-atypical behaviors and gender identity disorder (G.I.D.) in children, emphasizing the biological determination of gender. The second section deals primarily with gay men, including the link between childhood G.I.D. and male homosexuality later in life. Bailey reviews evidence that male homosexuality is congenital (a result of genetics and prenatal environment), and he argues for the accuracy of some stereotypes about gay men. In the third section, Bailey summarizes evidence for a psychological typology of trans women that says there are two forms of transsexualism: one that he describes as an extreme type of male homosexuality and one that is a sexual interest in having a female body, called autogynephilia. The book caused considerable controversy which led to a formal investigation by Northwestern University, where Bailey was Chair of the Psychology Department until shortly before the conclusion of the investigation. A Northwestern University spokesperson said that his departure from the department chairmanship was not linked to the investigation. Bailey says that some of his critics were motivated by a desire to suppress discussion of the book's ideas about autogynephilia theory on transsexual women, male to female.
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