December 17, 2003
Chicago Free Press
The Midwest's #1 Gay Newspaper


By Gary Barlow

Staff writer

Transgenders called on Northwestern University to step up an investigation of NU professor J. Michael Bailey Dec. 11 amid allegations of deception and improper sexual contact by Bailey with research subjects.

"J. Michael Bailey's unethical behavior is staggering," said Lynn Conway, a transsexual woman and professor at the University of Michigan.

The controversy revolves around Bailey's book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen," published in March. In it Bailey, chair of NU's psychology department, alleged that prostitution is "the single most common occupation" among transgenders.

That conclusion, and the book in general, was almost immediately attacked.

"There is very little science in this book," CFP editor Kim McNabb wrote in a review. "It's not science calling up a two decades-old research study and declaring it the truth for all time. It's not science without documentation-there are no footnotes, no references listed and no bibliography."

Conway, University of Illinois-Chicago professor Deirdre McCloskey and Anjelica Kieltyka, a subject in Bailey's book, alleged in their Dec. 11 press statement that Bailey's research "was conducted mainly by cruising Chicago bars frequented by sex workers."

"He then exploited young transsexuals who came to his office to get letters of approval for sex-reassignment surgery, socializing with them and at the same time using them as research subjects without their knowledge," the statement said. "One research subject/patient featured in the book says Bailey had sex with her prior to the publication of the book."

Kieltyka said she felt betrayed after Bailey befriended her and urged her to introduce him to other transgenders, including the person who alleges Bailey gave her a ride home from a Chicago nightclub March 22, 1998, then had sex with her.

"This is all unbelievable, yet it will all prove to be undeniable," Kieltyka said.

A NU committee looking into the allegations against Bailey told Kieltyka, in a Nov. 12 letter, that it was proceeding with a "full investigation of the allegation that professor Bailey did not obtain the informed consent of research subjects."

"I concur, and have directed that an investigation committee be established," NU vice president for research C. Bradley Moore stated.

But the committee decided not to pursue the allegations involving sex, a decision Conway criticized.

"As a scientist and as a transsexual woman, I find Mr. Bailey's behavior beyond all bounds of decency," she said. "It appears he was writing these therapist letters for young trans women, all the while being sexually obsessed with them. He exploited them further by featuring information shared during therapy in his book. He then concludes in his 'research' that young transsexual women 'are especially well suited to prostitution.'"

In a letter to Moore Dec. 10, Conway, Kieltyka and McCloskey urged the NU investigators to let them testify before the committee.

"We worry that without hearing from the complainants the committee will be left with an incomplete and inaccurate picture of professor Bailey's behavior," the letter stated. "It would be strange to decide the case without a hearing-or a hearing only of professor Bailey's account."

A spokesman for the Evanston-based school acknowledged the investigation but refused to comment, citing NU personnel policies mandating confidentiality. Bailey did not return a phone call seeking comment.



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"