In intellectual and paradigmatic battles, as in all wars, a moment can occur when the tides shift and the ultimate victors become apparant to those in the struggle. Such a moment occurred on July 19, 2003 in the struggle of transgender women to defeat Baileyism, as reported by a source who came forward and sent the e-mail below.
The pivotal moment occurred when John Bancroft, the Director of the Kinsey Institute, confronted J. Michael Bailey in front of an entire International Academy of Sex Research (IASR) conference audience and threw down the guantlet: "Michael, I would caution you against calling this book 'science' because I have read it ... and I can tell you it is NOT science."
This moment was eerily reminiscent of a similar moment back in 1954 when Joseph Welch faced Senator Joseph McCarthy and threw down the guantlet with the statement: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?"
The moment occurred at the high-water mark of Bailey's career as an academic psychologist. He had just been promoted as Chairman of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University. He had just had a book published by the National Academy Press, and was achieving considerable fame and notoriety due to the book being called the "latest science on transsexualism" by the National Academies. He was newly elevated to Secretary/Treasurer of the IASR, a major research community of sexologists. And he was the IASR Conference Chairman on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Kinsey Insitute in Bloomington, Indiana.
And yet, at the moment of his confrontation by John Bancroft described in the message below, Bailey was toppled from this peak. His fate was sealed. As our inside source tells us in a later e-mail, the similarity of Bailey to McCarthy is striking:
As is the case of all bullies, once openly challenged such McCarthyist types crumble. Anjelica Kieltyka had predicted this fate for J. Michael Bailey in her recent essay "The Sinking of the Queen". And now Bailey's colleagues, many of whom he has dissed over the years, will take him down for us. They are no longer afraid of him. In time he will fall as McCarthy fell, into ignominy.
The same fate will also inevitably befall the Blanchard-Lawrence-Zucker clique of sexologists who spawned the despicably homophobic and transphobic scientific virus that Bailey was trying to spread, with the help of his homophobic collaborator John Derbyshire, actively assisted by the publicist Robin Pinnel at the National Academies.
We owe a lot to Anjelica Kieltyka for having the courage to travel to Bloomington and valiantly attempt to alert IASR attendees to the controversy surrounding Bailey's work. Although Bailey called the police and prevented Angie from giving our materials to all but a tiny handful of attendees, our words nevertheless got out, leading to John Bancroft's confrontation of Bailey.
We also owe a lot to our "IASR Friend" who courageously tells the story below of the inside events at the conference. Her message will undoubtedly open many minds among the scientists who have been standing at the sidelines as the news of these events now spreads, thanks to her.
Many scientists have been mesmerized up to now by the one-sided war of institutionalized National Academy science used as terror against transgender women, uncertain of what to do to stop the obviously unfair assault on our very humanity. We predict that many more scientists will now come forward to confront Bailey, to confront the Blanchard-Lawrence-Zucker clique of sexologists, and indeed to confront the National Academies - declaring themselves instead for honesty and fairness in science, and insisting on honorable behavior among the community of research scientists.
PS: We don't know why Prof. Bailey stepped down as Secretariat of IASR after only two years of service. It may have been a coincidental move when he became Chair of Psych at NU - but it took many by of the attendees by such surprise (as the eyewitness reports below) that they suspected at the time that he'd been asked to step down.
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003
From: IASR Friend
Subject: IASR Agrees ... "NOT science"
To: Lynn Conway
Dear Dr. Conway,
I am writing to you as a member of the International Academy
of Sex Research, as a woman, and as a friend. Due to the volatile
political situation in my field at this moment, I cannot reveal
my identity. I can, however, offer my support to you in your ongoing
effort to reveal the "truth" behind J. Michael Bailey's
recent book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen." Also, please
understand that the following observations are my own personal
ones, and are not meant to be on behalf of IASR:
First and foremost, I wish to thank you for all the time and energy you have spent in your investigation. I promise you that we, as sex researchers, are also taking this issue very seriously. I wish to thank Anjelica for her attempt to distribute information at the recent IASR conference in Bloomington. Unfortunately, I was not able to get ahold of her materials as I understand she was unpolitely removed from the building before I had a chance to meet her. However, I can tell you what ensued behind closed doors at the conference during Bailey's "scientific" presentation "Identity Politics as a Hinderance to Scientific Truth" on Saturday afternoon.
Obviously shaken from the recent events, Bailey offered a nearly-unintelligible 30 minute outline of Blanchard's theory of transsexualism. He then briefly mentioned the transgender "attack" on science. He also tried to get sympathy from the audience by showing pictures of his children. Bailey ended his talk abruptly by walking away from the podium, stating there was not time for the scheduled question-and-answer period. The audience, however, was not in agreement with him.
John Bancroft, director of The Kinsey Institute and one of the most respected sexologists in the world, was the first to cross-examine Bailey. His words (which I directly quote) were: "Michael, I would caution you against calling this book 'science' because I have read it ... and I can tell you it is NOT science."
Complete silence fell over the room. It was obvious that, indeed,
a new era has finally dawned on sexual science and the study of
transsexualism. While several people in the room at the meeting,
including Ken Zucker, support Bailey and his "scientific"
speculations, I can tell you that the vast majority of the scientific
community does NOT. In fact, at the end of the meeting in Bloomington,
it was mysteriously announced that Bailey has "vacated"
(?) his position as Secretary of IASR. The new incoming Secretary
will be renowened psychologist Lucia O'Sullivan who specializes
in adolescent sexuality, including GLBT. Is this a sign that the&nbs!
p;good old boys' days in academe are numbered? You tell me.
In short, Lynn, I want you to know that many - if not most - current sexologists support a move away from the archaic views of transsexualism that Bailey represents. Please know that we are with you in your quest for the truth. I hope to someday be able to thank you in person for everything you have done but, in the mean time, please accept my silent and sincere support until that day comes. Thank you sister.