Prominent Gender Researcher Richard
Green, M.D., J.D.*
cautions J. M. Bailey on his use
" - - - At our site visit, we were scolded by
a psychiatrist who said that calling a girl a "tomboy"
was like calling a black person a "nigger". So, there
was no systematic follow-up. - - - "
- Richard Green, M.D., J.D.
In February 2003, an exceptional Letter to the Editor by
Richard Green, M.D., J.D. was published in the Archives of
Sexual Behavior. The letter is exceptional because it was
the first time 30 years that Dr. Green had written one. It is
also exceptional in its timing and its possible encoded message.
Here Dr. Green cautions J. M. Bailey on his use of language,
using the example of how the label "tomboy" for certain
girls once cost him grant money. He suggests that poor use of
emotionally-laden terminology might lead to funding losses from
"politically correct" funding agencies.
If funding agencies were to ask trans women how we felt about
Bailey's terminology, and about his sweeping caricatures of us,
they might understand one reason why we are so outraged by Bailey.
If only the funding agencies thought of transwomen as human beings,
Dr. Green could then directly warn Bailey that his blanket and
sweeping use of terms that are highly offensive to trans women
might also cost him something.
Is this Letter nothing more than a hint about funding politics,
and the use of the word "tomboy"? Is that motive enough
to write the first such Letter in 30 years? Or is it a marker
placed into the archives, just as Bailey's book was about to
be published, saying: "I see it coming. I see how T's will
react to Bailey's use of language about them"?
We can only speculate about its meaning here. We hope that
it is more than a mere coaching regarding insuring funding by
being politially correct, without any regard to the issue of
emotional sensitivities of research subjects (much less those
of the transgender community at large). Is Green here a keen
observer and astute predictor of human social behavior, or is
he a merely passing a few hackademic tips along to Bailey? You
will have to ask Dr. Green about that.
Do think, however, about Bailey's labels for trans women:
He labels even assimilated postop trans women as either "homosexual
men" or"autogynephiles". He does this even to
those who as women are in loving relationships with partners
who know what fully female gendered, sexually responsive women
many of us are. He does this even to those trans women who are
legally married to men. And in the process he denies us our gender,
and thus our very identity as human beings.
He does this by marking all trans women with one or the other
of the scarlet letters "H" or "A", often
following it with the deep scarlet letter "M" . Talk
about using the "N" word! Well folks you've just learned
about the "H", "A" and "M" words.
Do not use these "HAM" words for trans women, or they
ARE going to get on your case!
Give us a break folks:
Just call us "women", or, when relevant
in context, "trans women".
And to all trans women everywhere:
If anyone calls you an "M" or an "H"
or an "A", take names!
* Richard Green, M.D., J.D. is research director
and consultant psychiatrist
at Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic in London. During the
worked in the USA with Professor John Money and Harry Benjamin
and has been
involved in the treatment of transsexuals and research into transsexualism
for over 35 years. He is past president of Harry Benjamin International
Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA), and researches medical,
legal issues surrounding gender dysphoria.