October 29, 2004:


In efforts to gain notoriety and enhance sales of his book

J. Michael Bailey proclaims that gay femininity is "an important scientific fact" 

on ABC News' "20/20", just before the national elections...



On October 29, 2004, J. Michael Bailey set off on another tack in his efforts to generate notoriety and controversy, by proclaiming that gay femininity is "an important scientific fact" on ABC News' "20/20" (see direct quotes from 20/20 website and reference links below).

The interview was conducted by conservative-cause promoter John Stossel, who is biased so far off-center that the national media watch group "FAIR" has an entire section devoted to the guy

From Stossel's point of view, the interview was undoubtedly a calculated "hit piece" aimed at caricaturing gay men just prior to the national elections (thus supporting the frenzy of religious anti-gay sentiment that became a major factor in the incumbent's win).  For an overview of Stossel’s tactics, which are very similar to Bailey’s, see this page and this one too.

In return, Bailey's participation in this orchestrated anti-gay media effort enabled him to tout his poorly-selling 2003 book entitled "The Man Who Would Be Queen" on prime-time TV, as if it were actually a "new scientific book" about gay men. This time the cover scene of a hairy-legged man in high heels was aimed at stigmatizing gay men, instead of being targeted at transsexual women as it has been up to now.

In fact, Mr. Bailey never once mentioned transsexualism (the main topic of his book) during the interview. Of course since he considers gay men to be feminine and then defines transsexual women as being the most feminine of gay men (at least those who aren't "sexual paraphilics" in his viewpoint), this is perhaps not surprising - being just another inventive application of scientific "lumping" ala Blanchard.
It is curious that Bailey claims that something is a "scientific fact" when (i) there is no widely accepted body of scientific journal papers making this very strong assertion, (ii) he doesn't even clearly define what "gay" and "feminine" actually mean scientifically, (iii) the only evidence for this "scientific fact" are commonly-held superstitions and stereotypes, and (iv) Mr. Bailey himself says that we don't "understand it" (whatever "it" is).


This projection of a sweeping generalization of "on-average" stereotypes onto an entire class of people, in which the classification itself has no scientific merit or clear boundaries, is reminiscent of other "controversy-generation" pseudo-scientific books that have defamed various social minorities as being inferior and somehow defective - books such as The Bell-Curve, The g-Factor, Race, Evolution and Behavior, and Alien Nation, all of which were written by members of Mr. Bailey's close intellectual affiliation group, the "Human Biodiversity Institute" (HBI).
The timing of Bailey's TV appearance is quite interesting in other ways. He is now rather desperately seeking funding and research subjects in order to revive his now dormant "research on homosexuality". Could his 20/20 appearance have been an effort to justify and promote Federal funding of his dubious research? 
Does Mr. Bailey perhaps also know something that we do not know yet?  Is he worried because an investigation of his past research misconduct might force him to soon step down as Chairman of Northwestern's Psychology Department, and then have to bring in research funding to justify his existence there?  We may know the answer to this question within a few weeks (although it is possible that we might have to await the results of later follow-on investigations at NU).
The National Academies Press itself has recently been digging in its heels re the Bailey fiasco and is continuing to strongly promote Bailey's book, the sales of which tanked when evidence emerged that the research on which it is based was improperly conducted and when it was also exposed as being transphobic

Could this 20/20 appearance be a coup in ongoing efforts by Bailey and the National Academies Press' Director (Barbara Kline Pope), Executive Editor (Stephen Mautner) and Publicist (Robin Pinnel) to generate sex-based media "controversy" surrounding the book (this time impinging on the gay community), in order to resurrect its sales?  If so, their plans came to naught, for although the book's sales spiked for a couple of days, the Queen rapidly sank back out of sight.


This 20/20 program aired only four days before a national election in which restrictions on gay marriage were on the ballots in many states, and in which an anti-gay backlash played an important role in the re-election of the President. One can only imagine what stereotypical thoughts and deep anxieties arose in the minds of superstitious fundamentalist viewers when they heard a prominent "scientist" proclaim that gay men are "feminine" while promoting the viewpoint that commonly-held stereotypes about gay men are true, no matter what those unspecified stereotypes might be... 


Investigative report completed and filed

by Lynn Conway on October 29, 2004

[Update of 11-16-04]



Bailey discusses "Gaydar" and "gay femininity" on ABC News' 20/20, Friday October 28, 2004:


Below are quotes from 20/20's website (bold used for emphasis)



"Gaydar absolutely exists. On average people do far better than chance," said Bailey.


Bailey's more scientific tests found graders to be accurate more than 70 percent of the time. Even when all they saw was a 10 second videotape, or just listened to the subjects' voices, they were right about who was gay more often than not.


In his book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen," he gives reasons why.


According to Bailey:

* Straight men tend to move in their arms from their shoulders more. Gay men do more movements from their elbows down.

* Straight men tend to slouch, gay men tend to sit a little more neatly.


Some gays have criticized Bailey, saying he's just perpetuating the stereotype that gays are effeminate.



"On average gay men are more feminine in certain ways than straight men. And it's an important scientific fact and we need to understand it better," Bailey said.









Reference links:


For more about Bailey's assertions that gay men are "feminine" (whatever that means), see Paul Varnell's review of TMWWBQ:



For more about Bailey's "Queer Science" and his links to eugenics groups, see the following Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Investigative Report:



For more about the investigation into the publication of Mr. Bailey's book by the National Academies Press, see:






For an investigative file on Mr. Bailey's connections with homosexual eugenics, see:



For more on media-manipulator John Stossel, who orchestrated Bailey's caricaturing of gay men in prime-time TV just before the national elections, see:





For data on the brief spike in Bailey's book sales following his 20/20 appearance, and the subsequent rapid "re-sinking of the Queen", see:




This page is part of Lynn Conway's

"Investigative report into the publication of
J. Michael Bailey's book on transsexualism
by the National Academies"