Appendix 1:
Early reviews and comments on Bailey's book
by transwomen and transmen.
Andrea James' Review
Andrea James is a writer and producer who maintains the TS RoadMap website, which has become the "bible of MtF gender transition".
Andrea's page about the B-B-L sexology clique.
[see more comments by Andrea below]
Becky Allison's Review
Becky Allison, M.D., is a cardiologist who has created and maintains an uplifting and highly popular TS women's support site.
[see more comments by Becky below]
Joan Roughgarden's initial report
Joan Roughgarden, Ph.D. is Professor of population biology at Stanford University
James MacGregor Halleman's comments
James is a steelworker in Pennsylvania , and he also maintains an excellent FtM website (more information, more)
Ben Barres' Comments
Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Biology at Stanford University
Christine Beatty's Review, on her website
Christine Beatty is a senior software engineer who maintains a very uplifting website about her difficult struggle
to survive transsexualism and build a good life for herself.
Christine Burn's Essay - highly relevant in this context
Christine Burns is a computer consultant in the United Kingdom, and is a past Vice-President of Press for Change
A Jewish transgender woman (Donna) tells of her reactions to Bailey's lectures:
Donna recalls her mother's stories about the official caricaturing of Jews in school classrooms in pre-WWII Germany


Comments by Andrea James
People like Bailey may feel as if they are helping, but it's the kind of "help" we don't need in our community. He's like a condescending 19th-century National Geographic writer reporting on "savages." He is like Shelby Adams taking portraits of only the poorest Appalachian families and showing them out of context in New York galleries. These depictions only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes about extremely misunderstood groups of people, often by focusing on the most egregious examples which support the prevailing worldview, no matter how non-representative they are of the demographic as a whole.
When a condition is as sexualized as transsexualism is, the most troubling stereotypes we have to overcome in order to stem the violence and discrimination we face are stereotypes involving our motivations for transition. People like Bailey only serve to validate the stereotype that we are simply promiscuous "gay men" who want to fool straight men into having sex with us. I wish I could convey how utterly inaccurate this assumption is. It negates the identity and desires of the majority of transsexual women I know, not to mention that this theory does not even translate to transsexual men.
There is an enormous silent majority of transsexual men and women who live happily and quietly by necessity, for fear of ostracism, or being fired without recourse, or having their marriages declared invalid, or being beaten and murdered by bigots.
People like Bailey are not coming to this from a compassionate place. There is a reason the Clarke Institute is called "Jurassic Clarke" in our community. These people are very dangerous, to be perfectly frank. They are quite possibly the greatest hindrance we face to making progress toward acceptance in this country and the western world. Similar people at Johns Hopkins managed to set back our progress as a community by about 20 years, and I'll be damned if scum like Bailey are going to get away with that again while I'm drawing a breath.
This isn't some academic exercise for us. This is about gaining equal rights under the law. This is about not having to choose between college or uninsured "experimental" medical expenses. This is about being seen as productive members of society who make positive daily contributions in every trade and profession. This is about being accepted as human beings. Bailey and others actively seek to efface the experiences and existence of anyone who does not fit their prurient stereotypes. Since he feels entitled to opine on my motivations, let me ascribe motivation to Bailey: his is the ugliest kind of bigotry, dressed up in academic robes.
Andrea James


Review by Becky Allison, M.D. 


The National Academy Meets The National Enquirer

"My grandpa wore red suspenders. My grandpa was a Communist.
Therefore, everyone who wears red suspenders is a Communist, even though they may deny it."

That reasoning would earn a failing grade in logic 101, but it makes as much sense as the highly biased and inaccurate opinions of J. Michael Bailey. The book could not be more demeaning to persons who have suffered through the transition experience to achieve peace and success as the women they know they are.

Bailey reasons that a male to female transsexual [he doesn't even acknowledge the existence of female to males] must be transitioning for purely sexual reasons, because, as he has admitted on more than one occasion, he can't understand any other reason. He then biases his interviews to support his position: a couple of young drag performers in gay bars; a crossdresser who admits she's not transsexual; a person who rarely crossdresses but frequently fantasizes himself as having a vagina; and someone who designed a robotic penis to have sex with a fake plastic vagina she strapped on her bottom. From that group he draws his conclusions.

The most offensive quote in the book is this: "...many of us have had the experience of wondering if a particular woman we have seen is actually a man, and most of us who have been to even a few gay bars have seen one. There are also transsexuals who work as waitresses, hairdressers, receptionists, strippers, and prostitutes, as well as in many other occupations..."

I'm wondering where I fit in. I happen to be an interventional cardiologist. Other transsexual women I know are in many other medical specialties; attorneys; clergy; pilots; CEOs; computer programmers; and university professors who are embarrassed by this lunacy. But none of us made Bailey's list. I suppose he ran out of room after "prostitutes."

It is not about having sex, Mr. Bailey. Can you grasp that idea? Many of us do not give a damn about having sex. It is about life. It is about what works versus what wasn't working. It is about going on living versus ending it all.

This book is subjective, tabloid, "junk science" at its worst. Shame on the National Academy for giving it legitimate publication.

Becky Allison, M.D.


Comments by Joan Roughgardan, Ph.D.

Joan is Professor of population biology
at Stanford University


From: "Joan Roughgarden" <>
To: "Lynn Conway" <>
Cc: "Becky Allison" <>, "Andrea" <>
Subject: Re: The publication of an outrageously defamatory book about "transsexuals"
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 15:14:06 -0700

Dear Lynn,

Thanks for the note. I am indeed aware of the book, and recently sent a message such as yours to the TransHistory elist warning of the book, where others have made similar postings as well. As it happens, I was asked to write a review of Bailey for Nature Genetics, with a due date in June sometime. The book arrived last week.

Locally, the problem is exacerbated by several developments. Simon LeVay turns out to be about as dense as Bailey is. Simon was invited by the Human Biology Program, an interdisciplinary undergraduate program here to give a course in human sexuality. His position is a visiting lecturer. Anyway he gave a course last winter and gave substantial coverage to Bailey's theories in class. Furthermore, he invited me to lecture in his class, but tried to pair me in a 1.5 hr slot with a representative from NAMBLA, where we were both to be introduced as specimens of ``minority sexualities'' as he put it.

I was outraged by this from many standpoints, and protested to the provost's office. The word was communicated to the dean, and the NAMBLA invitation was rescinded. (NAMBLA could, of course, speak in the evening or out of class.) LeVay claims that his academic freedom was impinged upon.

Meanwhile, LeVay is quoted on the front cover of Bailey's book as calling it ``absolutely splendid.'' and LeVay has recently coauthored a textbook published by Sinauer on human sexuality. It has a large section, according to the table of contents, all about autogynophelia and the pejorative medical account of transgender that you refer to. Furthermore, LeVay has attacked me in public for denying him the opportunity to invite NAMBLA to his class, and is hiding behind academic freedom.

And, if this weren't enough, the Psychology Dept has actually invited Bailey to give a full-fledged regular lecture here next week, on Wednesday at 3:45 in Room 41, Jordan Hall, on the Stanford main quad. LeVay told me of this and I was aghast. I visited with the chair of Psychology to inquire if this was true and to express my dismay at the legitimizing of the sensationalizing of transgendered people that this invitation might seem to imply. The chair hadn't heard anything about this, but inquired and got back to me confirming the seminar and saying that it was open to the public.

So I'm trying to decide at this moment how to play the situation, because it will be quite difficult from the audience in having the standing to effectively refute the talk. As you may know, I organized a symposium at the AAAS in Denver in
February on evolutionary aspects of gender and sexuality. I'm just finishing the final production-draft of book called Evolution's Rainbow with UC Press, and while in Denver, my editor found the publicity document being handed out by the National Academy Press. The handout quite clearly tries to sensationalize at the expense of transgendered people (and gay people too, making LeVay's support of it hard to understand).

( J. M. Bailey gave this lecture on April 23, 2003. See Joan's report about it here. )

I showed the handout to the chair of psychology, who said it made him embarrassed to be a psychologist, and he was skeptical at first that his department would have anything to do with such a person. Yet, Bailey is apparently about to be the chair himself of psychology at Northeastern (if I recall correctly). So, the integrity of psychology as a discipline is yet again suspect, as if evolutionary psychology weren't enough. So, I'm sure you didn't want to hear all this, but I feel it's important to reinforce the sense that this is really serious.

If Bailey were just giving a lecture or two, it would disappear. But the fact that this stuff is being taught in undergraduate
courses, as it was at Stanford, as well as all courses using LeVay's textbook, means that a serious error is being widely propagated at our expense. I feel that Bailey is no more than a Jerry Springer cross-dressing as an academic, and we have to make that very clear. We have to discredit him as the charlatan he is, and his scholarship as simply vacuous.

Considered at a distance, the book is useless as research, but is an artifact in the continuing cultural war by medicine to control and discipline natural human diversity.

Thanks so much for getting in touch.




Comments by James MacGregor Halleman
James is a steelworker in Pennsylvania
(more information, more)
Dear Lynn,

Some interesting things have happened over the last 2 weeks personally to me. I had spent all day last thursday at 2 universities representing FTMs. I do my education, and outreach, with a loving heart. I am currently helping a MTF prison guard keep her job, we are union workers. At a time within the Bush administation, and with people loosing their jobs at an rapid pace. That we should stick together as one. I have always respected my trans sisters, as well as my cross dressing sisters/brothers.
Within our own movement transmen are painfully slowly gaining ground, to a small degree of pocket resistance. I am proud to be a part of your FTM successful webpage. I think Dr. Baileys work degrades the education we do, to a man whose whole ideology comes from his own experiences, and not the focus of his subject(s) that tried to explain to Bailey from their own experiences.
The author Bailey obviously has a closed mind when he decided to study this subject. Perhaps he should mention that the bulk of his research and his conclusions are based on his own thoughts, feelings and opinions, in a forward section of his book, in fairness to his topic.
Or it should be held within contempt for the ego gratification that it truly is.

James MacGregor Halleman

Female To Male transsexual


Comments by Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D
Ben Barres is Professor of Neurobiology and
Developmental Biology at Stanford University


I find this book offensive in the extreme.

What Bailey is saying, in no uncertain terms, is that he believes that the majority of transsexuals are autogynephilic--the popular translation of which (regardless of what he says) is that they are all perverts (that it is about a sexual fetish and not about gender identity).

There are two additional aspects about this that I find particularly offensive:

The first is that it is junk science: Bailey has no large and representative set of transsexuals and so has no real scientific data of his own and is basing his views on Blanchard's theories which the rest of the world has discounted as being unrepresentative.

The second is, that in his defense for why he is right and everyone else is wrong, he invokes a kind of McCarthyism: "well of course transsexuals would never admit to being autogynephilic as they wish to represent themselves in the best possible light". So how can transsexuals defend themselves from such an accusation? What if I were to say that "Bailey is gay (or a communist or an autogynephile) but of course Bailey would never admit that"--how could he defend himself against that?

Bailey truly doesn't get the gender identity dissonance that transsexuals experience -- it really is hard for people to understand what they haven't experienced themselves. I have talked with many MtFs who have contacted me and have listened to the feelings they have gone through their whole lives and it is always an exact mirror of what I have experienced as an FtM. These MtFs have no reason to lie to me, as I have no power over what treatment they receive. For Bailey to say that most MtFs are primarily doing the gender change because of a fetish rather than a true gender identity issue just doesn't ring true to me or to many other people that have worked in clinics taking care of many MtFs.

So, given that many others who have worked in gender clinics and seen hundreds of MtFs more than Bailey, and given that they have strongly disagreed with Blanchard's position for years, I think that for Bailey to come out with such an offensive position now that he must have quality science to back it up (and publish it in a peer-reviewed journal). Otherwise he causes the transsexual community severe, perhaps irreparable, damage.

We are fighting a very tough battle for our rights and it is tough enough as it is without someone like Bailey saying we are all perverts. We are also fighting for our self esteem, and so being called autogynephilic if it is not true, does not particularly help.

True, Bailey keeps saying how much he really cares about MtFs even if they are all perverts, and I believe him--but with friends like this, who needs enemies?

Bailey even tells MtFs in this book they will never find a partner and marry stably. This is cruel and false beyond belief. I have met them, and know for a fact that many MtFs find partners and quite a few marry very stably. In most cases, they have blended into the community (others don't know they are transsexuals) and are living normal lives. Bailey just doesn' t happen to run into them in the weird Chicago places he hangs out at.

Bailey also asserts that McHugh's ideas deserved more attention to find a way to treat the minds of transsexuals rather than their bodies. I have never met a transsexual that would have any interest in having their "mind" fixed. The very idea seems reminiscent of trying to treat homosexuals with hormones to "fix" them.

Bailey is really quite ignorant about transsexuality and has no business writing a book on it that is published by the National Academy Press.

Instead of "friends" like Bailey, transsexuals need highly regarded, sympathetic folks to look out for them and to defend them against such McCarthyism-like attacks.

In the end, this book left me with a foul dirty feeling such as I have rarely felt.


Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Biology
Stanford University


Rich man, poor man, trans woman ...
by Christine Burns
A child giggles whilst drinking the bath water from an egg cup. It is 1955 and not long since the national press in Britain have reported the story of a Spitfire pilot and racing driver who has "become" a woman through what we now call Gender Reassignment Treatment.
The child's parents have registered and christened her as a boy. How is anyone to know any different? Within three years "he" will know otherwise though ... and the little girl inside will have learned enough about life already not to mention her profound self knowledge to anyone.
In years to come she will learn that people who seek the treatment to release them from this silent hell are labelled as freaks and get hounded by the press. They are shunned by their families and friends. They are treated with less respect than murderers and rapists. Anything they receive from medical specialists or authority is to be regarded as a grudging and contemptuous concession which they don't really deserve. Not surprisingly, she will seek to bury her terrifying self knowledge deep within herself.
As enlightenment gradually dawns on society, sometime in her thirties, she will wince though when she sees women like her described as having been "born a man".
A man? Look again at the photograph. You could no more call the child a "man", than you could label them a "Computer Consultant", "Conservative" or "Rights Campaigner". Yet all of these labels are a part of her development potential, just as her innate femininity means she will not rest until she finds her true self-expression within society.
So, eventually, she will come to the agonising choice which confronts all transsexual people in the end ... made worse for having deferred it until adult life. She will have to decide how to deal with the relationships developed whilst trying to be what everyone expected of her. She will have to put her career on the line. She will lose her home and tens of thousands of dollars through divorce. She will lose some of her friends. For a while she will wonder if she deserves to keep her own self respect. Yet the choice is between that and suicide. For a life which is a perpetual lie ... a life which gets more painful with every passing day of the soul's denial ... is no life at all.
Make believe? No. Increasing research evidence indicates that everything which transsexual people have ever reported about their mysterious juxtaposition of psychological gender and physical sex is true. The more science is inclined to look, the more it finds to substantiate the discovery that children like the little "boy" in the picture above really did already have the brain of a little girl.
Nobody can be blamed for assuming this little girl was a boy. If we have to have a basis for distinguishing how we're going to differentiate the type of upbringing we're to give our children then the appearance of their genitals is no more and no less arbitrary than the colour of their skin or the country they were born in. What matters, however, is how we respond when the child is old enough to turn round and say that we got it wrong in their case.
It helps, of course, to be sophisticated enough to be able to accept such an assertion with the respect it deserves. If society attaches such importance to gender then it's hardly a trivial thing when you know you've been dragooned into the wrong one. Trans people need help, not hindrance, if they are to manage a transition which affects every single way in which they relate to the world around them.
More than that, however, a compassionate and sensible society will recognise that once such a change has occured then there is absolutely no benefit to anyone in failing to accept its social reality. Society only has two social genders to choose from. Man and Woman. To cripple a man by insisting he's "still" a woman, or to say that a woman cannot marry a man because of her long-since-removed birth deformity is to erect a deliberate barrier to the otherwise successful functioning of that individual. It is, in short, like breaking a someone's leg because you don't want to accept that they can walk.
And that is all that trans people the world over ask of the societies they live in. The right to walk. To stand on our own two feet after being forced to crawl for over half a century. It's not a lot, is it?
Christine Burns
(c) April, 1997, updated April 2003
Christine is a computer consultant in the United Kingdom,
and is a past Vice-President of
Press for Change
Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational organisation, which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the United Kingdom, through legislation and social change.


An e-mail from a Jewish transgender woman
concerning her reactions to Bailey's lectures [ 4-30-03 ]:

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003
From: Donna

Dear Lynn,

Frankly, the report of Bailey's lecture disgusts me more than almost anything else I've read about him. As a Jew whose mother grew up in Nazi Germany, it reminds me of nothing more than one of those lectures by Nazi "experts" on "physiognomy" about how you tell someone's a Jew -- by their big hooked noses, naturally. Just like you tell gay people by how they talk. I'm sure such lectures were accompanied by similar gales of laughter.

I (and the wonderful woman who is my partner) had such strong personal reactions to the whole idea of trying to identify and single people out in that disgusting way, that I felt I had to say something. I still remember my mother's story about how when she was a child in Germany, after Hitler came to power but before she was prohibited from attending school with non-Jewish children, a Nazi party official came to her school one day to lecture on the "Aryan" ideal -- and, out of the whole class, actually selected my mother, who had light hair, green eyes, and "Aryan" features, as the perfect example of Aryan girlhood. As you can imagine, he wasn't pleased when he found out she was Jewish. So, you can see, sometimes the "experts" are wrong.

Best wishes,





 Continued in Appendix 2.

 Return to Lynn's Bailey Investigation Page.