NU investigating whether professor got consent from transsexuals
J. Michael Bailey's latest book is called "The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism." It includes stories from several transsexuals.
A Northwestern spokesman says an investigative committee will be formed to look into the allegations, which could violate university ethics guidelines if true.
Bailey didn't return telephone messages left at his office today seeking comment.
Critics say his work is based on outdated research and presents a skewed perspective of the transsexual community that is popular with religious and political conservatives.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
NU investigates charges over book
No consent to use stories, critics say
By Robert Becker
November 18, 2003
Northwestern University officials will convene "a full investigation" into charges that a professor did not obtain the informed consent of research subjects before including their stories in his recent controversial book.
Critics charged that Northwestern psychology professor J. Michael Bailey included--without permission--the accounts of several transsexual women in his latest book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism."
In a Nov. 12 letter to one of the women, Northwestern's vice president for research, C. Bradley Moore, said the dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences recommends proceeding with a full investigation into whether Bailey obtained "the informed consent of research subjects."
"I concur," Moore wrote, "and have directed that an investigation committee be established."
In an e-mail to the Tribune, Bailey said he was unaware of Moore's letter and could not comment.
But in an interview in July, Bailey said that the critics of his book are attempting to censor his research.
Angelica Kieltyka, one of the women who brought the complaint against Bailey, views the university's action as a positive step.
"I think it definitely gives credence to the complaints and the evidence that we were presenting," said Kieltyka, whose experiences were a mainstay of Bailey's book.
Northwestern spokesman Al Cubbage said the formation of an investigative committee is the next step in the process of evaluating the complaints against a researcher.
Cubbage said "the investigation and the attending details are confidential, which is standard operating procedure."
Bailey's book has become a flash point of controversy surrounding transsexual research.
Relying on interviews with young Hispanics seeking sex-change surgery and other transsexuals he has talked to over the years, Bailey in his book weaves a narrative that he says reflects the transsexual experience and is supported by the latest research on transsexuals.
But critics charge Bailey's work is based on outdated research and presents a skewed--and needlessly lurid--view of the transsexual community that is popular with religious and political conservatives.
Bailey's supporters, however, say his work presents an accurate picture of male-to-female transsexuality.
Bailey also contends his work is based on the best science available.
Copyright © 2003, Chicago Tribune