J. M. Bailey's refusals to interact with women
whose lives are counterexamples to his teachings:
In mid-2000, J. M. Bailey's posted an essay of anecdotes about transsexual women on the internet entitled "Women who were once boys". In this essay, which is nearly identical with the material on transsexualism in his current book, he revealed his "scientific theory" of transsexualism for the first time.
Since then, J. M. Bailey has been contacted by numerous trans women who hoped to tell him about their own case histories - histories which they felt were counterexamples to his classification scheme and his caricatures of trans women. In every case we know of, Bailey refused to interact with these women, in many cases blowing them off with claims that their stories must be fabrications.
As an example, I've posted below an e-mail from Sarah Fox, Ph.D. Sarah is a transsexual woman and a scientist who herself recently attempted to interact with Bailey about her own case history after reading his book. Her e-mail tells of his dismissal of her questions in a manner typical of the way he has treated transsexual women ever since his position-piece "Women who were once boys" was posted:


From: "Sarah Fox" <sarah@gendernet.org>
To:"Lynn Conway" <lynn@ieee.org>
Cc: <andrea@tsroadmap.com>
Subject: Re: My communications with Bailey
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 12:38:37 -0400

To whom it may concern:

I was shocked when I learned of Mike Bailey's book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen." That is because I am not only a transsexual woman but also a colleague who attended graduate school with the man. According to Bailey, I transitioned and eventually had surgery for sexual reasons -- either to have sexual access to men or to endulge some strange fetish.

In fact I transitioned because of my anguish over the incongruity between my assigned social role and my internal gender. I had sexual reassignment surgery mostly to establish myself as a woman in the eyes of the law, but also for long-term health reasons. None of my motives had anything to do with sex. Every transsexual woman I have ever known has transitioned for the same reason, although motives for surgery vary widely.

I heard about Bailey's book and the transsexual categories he proposed in late April 2003, and I emailed him soon after -- both as a transsexual woman and as an academic sibling. I told him that I didn't fit into either of his transsexual categories, nor did anyone I knew. I expressed concern as to the validity of his research findings and suggested that he must have stumbled across a very unrepresentative study population. I suggested that we meet, face-to-face, and discuss his work as two colleagues. He did not reply for over a week. I sent him another email requesting a reply, and he replied within 12 min. His response was a "nonresponse," telling me that he's not going to change his mind just because some transsexual thinks his categories are in error.

We exchanged several emails thereafter. In each email, I asked very specific questions about his data, selection methods, etc. He consistently responded with an annoyed tone and refused to answer any of my questions. My understanding from our exchange is that he is still unwilling to discuss transsexualism with a transsexual colleague or to have his rigid views questioned or criticized by anyone.

Having dealt with many hundreds of scientists, I don't recall any of them having been so defensive and closed-minded, unwilling even to discuss their work with colleagues. Of course I may have ceased to be a credible colleague, in Bailey's eyes, when I transitioned, perhaps now being better suited for prostitution. His profound prejudices against the transsexual community would certainly suggest that.

I should note that I have mixed feelings about speaking out against Bailey, as I would against any academic colleague. My discomfort is all the greater when speaking out against an academic sibling. However, knowing the harm he is unleashing on the transsexual community, I could not look myself in the mirror every morning if I were to remain silent. (I'm truly sorry, Mike. It's certainly nothing personal.)

Sarah Fox, Ph.D.



Thoughts on why Bailey has refused such interactions:

For the past few years, many of us have wondered why Bailey would so arrogantly and rudely dismiss so many well-intentioned transsexual women who approached him independently and politely in hopes of telling him about their cases. Many of us assumed that it was only the arrogance of a smug, self-important academic that was keeping him from stooping so low as to talk with a "bunch of transsexuals".
However, we can now make a well-educated guess about an even deeper reason why Bailey so stubbornly resisted all those interactions with well-informed trans women these past years: This guess derives from our investigations in Chicago, which recently revealed that Bailey had NOT done any "original science" on transsexualism in his work on this book. In fact, Bailey himself has now finally caved in and recanted that claim - and he has said as much in his website.
It now seems likely that Bailey refused to discuss his "research" with his critics simply because he had not done any research and was trying to avoid being embarrassed about that. He was especially trying to dodge detailed questions about his methods, data and logic that intelligent, perceptive scientists such as Sarah Fox would have made, just as many other well-educated trans women had tried to do before her.
Instead of lying about details of his methods, he simply turned on such critics and accused them all of lying about their stories instead - taking the easy way out to avoid embarrassment himself - and to avoid hurting his book's chances of publication by the National Academy Press. Remember, we are told right in the National Academy Press website that
- - - Based on his original research, Bailey’s book is grounded firmly in science. - - - "
Bailey, and his literary agent The Wilson Devereux Company (widely known as an agency for popular science "books for dummies"), undoubtedly promoted the book to the National Academy Press by telling them that it was based on his original research. Thus any prepublication revelations that it was not might have derailed its publication there.
However, Bailey can relax now that the book is in print by the National Academy Press. The leaders of large corporate entities such as the National Academies never want to admit errors on their watch, and they are predictably stone-walling the charges that this book is junk science.
Therefore, Bailey is finally free to reveal that his classification scheme involves no new supporting research. He can reveal that he doesn't have to, nor does he plan to, defend this classification scheme. His stance is that he is merely popularizing Blanchard's old scheme by exploiting a small series of anecdotal stories, in order to write a "science for dummies" type of book! And yet, in this book, he teaches about Blanchard's scheme as if it were a scientific fact.
Bailey now has a fait accompli under his belt. He can exploit the Academies' prestige, and their praise of his "cutting edge science", to encourage his book's adoption as a serious book on the "science of transsexualism" in university courses. At the same time, he can exploit the swirling controvery around the book's publication by National Academy Press to bring attention to himself as 'Dr. Sex', and to go on the lecture circuit and sell more of his deliberately controversial books. Quite an accomplishment, eh?
No wonder he didn't want to interview any well-informed transsexual women prior to the publication of his book.