Email Exchange from WMST-L: 
 
 

 
 
First Email to WMSTL by Alice Dreger: Sept. 19, 2007:
 
On Monday, Joelle Ruby Ryan posted a CFP for the NWSA meeting for a  
session called "The Bailey Brouhaha: Community Members Speak Out on  
Resisting Transphobia and Sexism in Academia and Beyond."  Ms. Ryan's  
call contains a number of interesting questions, but is,  
unfortunately, laden with factual errors and misrepresentations about  
the history of the Bailey controversy and my work. Those who wish to  
read my scholarly history of the matter can find a preprint at:
http://bioethics.northwestern.edu/faculty/work/dreger/controversy_tmwwbq.pdf
 
I also encourage interested women's studies scholars to consider the  
call for commentaries on the work:
http://bioethics.northwestern.edu/faculty/work/dreger/controversy_tmwwbq_cfc.pdf
 
Archives of Sexual Behavior will publish my paper, commentaries, and  
my response to the commentaries in mid 2008. I'm gratified that over  
60 scholars from diverse fields have already expressed interest in  
providing commentaries on it. I hope Women's Studies scholars will  
be represented among them.
 
In this work, I trace what happened to Bailey, a sex researcher who  
said some politically unpopular things.. What happened to Bailey was  
shocking and important enough that my findings were covered in the  
New York Times a few weeks ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/ 
health/psychology/21gender.html   I encourage scholars in Women's  
Studies to read my paper because I think they are in danger of  
similar things happening to them, since they often say politically  
unpopular things.
 
Alice Dreger, Ph.D.
 
Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
personal website: www.alicedreger.com
program website: www.bioethics.northwestern.edu
a-dreger@northwestern.edu
 
 

 
 
A response to Dreger by Emi Koyama: Sept. 20, 2007:
 
Alice,
 
On Sep 19, 2007, at 6:40 PM, Alice Dreger, Ph.D. wrote:
 
> In this work, I trace what happened to Bailey, a sex researcher
> who said some politically unpopular things.
 
[snip]
 
> I encourage scholars in Women's Studies to read my paper because
> I think they are in danger of similar things happening to them,
> since they often say politically unpopular things.
 
As someone who has been wrongly associated with Bailey and
received some of the nasty attacks due to my supposedly unpopular
position (see <http://eminism.org/archive/2007/05/10-8.html>,
<http://eminism.org/archive/2007/04/25-5.html>), I would still
caution this equation of attacks against Bailey with those often
faced by Women's Studies scholars.
 
There is definitely a difference between members of a
marginalised group (transsexual people) overreacting (however
excessively) to an "expert" whose publications about them are
perceived to reinforce the oppression against them and therefore
as a threat to their lives, and the sort of backlash from the
dominant group often experienced by Women's Studies scholars
for exposing and confronting oppressive institutions.
 
Emi Koyama <emi@eminism.org>
http://eminism.org/
 
 

 
 
Response by Alice Dreger: Sept. 20, 2007 
 
I respectfully disagree, Emi, both as a feminist scholar who is now  
being attacked (in truly weird ways, I must say) for her scholarship  
on this and as someone who believes there are, in fact, key  
similarities between what happened to Bailey and what sometimes  
happens to Women's Studies scholars who expose and confront  
oppressive institutions. In both cases, there are profound  
misrepresentations by "critics" about the work of the scholar and, in  
both cases, claims about identity are taken as being more important  
than indisputable facts. In both cases, "critics" have tried to get  
the scholars' institutions to censure and censor them. I do think  
that Women's Studies scholars are more likely than, say, straight  
white male scientists, to be attacked via these methods, and that's  
why urge them to be aware.
 
To state the obvious, marginalization doesn't make you right, any  
more than being in power makes you right.  Alice Dreger 
 
 

 
 
Response by Emi Koyama: Sept. 20, 2007
 
Alice,
 
I don't think we disagree, or at least what you wrote below
doesn't contradict anything I've said. I stated that they
are similar but not the same, and you are saying that they
are similar, which I am not disputing.
 
Being marginalised doesn't make one's behaviours right--and
I've never suggested that it did--but it does call for some
empathy, especially when the person doing the judging isn't
part of that marginalised group.
 
Just so you know, I challenged Joelle's characterisation of
your work when it came up on another list (trans-academics),
and told her that she was putting herself at risk as a
scholar working within a controversial field (trans issues)
by tolerating tactics that breed fear and stifle academic
freedom. I don't disagree with you at all here. I'm just
concerned that you do not seem to recognise the important
difference between a marginalised group overreacting to
outside "experts" and the dominant group silencing
inconvenient scholarship.
 
- Emi Koyama emi@eminism.org
 
 

 
 
Final response by Alice Dreger: Sept. 21, 2007
 
Emi,
 
You're right -- we agree. (I.e., there is certainly a difference  
between a marginalized group and a dominant group in these  
situations.)  Below is a relevant excerpt from my article, evidencing  
our agreement.
 
I also appreciate your advising Joelle Ruby Ryan " that she was  
putting herself at risk as a scholar working within a controversial  
field (trans issues) by tolerating tactics that breed fear and stifle  
academic freedom." I would add that one is not acting like a scholar  
when one repeatedly misrepresents facts and the work of other  
scholars, as Ms. Ryan did in her CFP.
 
Thanks very much, Emi.
 
Alice