I'm now conducting an extensive series of field trips to learn everything I can about how Bailey conducted his "research" and about how this strange alignment of Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence and others managed to push the publication and promotion of the Bailey book by the National Academies - a book that is so misrepresents the realities of the identities and the life trajectories of trans women.
I'll conduct later trips to investigate why the Academies continued to very actively promote and push this book as "cutting edge science" when there was clear evidence that it was merely anecdotal storytelling. It seems clear on the face of it that this book's writer is trying to curry favor with his "scientific heroes" LeVay and Blanchard, while simultaneously seeking self-aggrandizement by deliberately writing controversial, prurient, stigmatizing defamations of a minority group ill-prepared to defend itself against his McCarthyist verbal attacks.
The Academies' continued support and publicizing of this book is an extremely disturbing development. We especially wonder why so many people in the elite Academies bought into the Baileyian stereotypes in the book to the extent that they will not take seriously any complaints from widely known and highly respected trans women that the book is unscientific and does not accurately represent them? This is all very reminiscent of McCarthyism, in which once accused of "being a transsexual", one is so stigmatized that people do not want to meet you or listen to your views, no matter how reasoned those views might be.
Initial field trips to Chicago:
I've begun making field trips to Chicago to meet and interview in depth several of the women who are discussed in Bailey's book and others who have interacted with him too. I am learning from them many details about their meetings, interviews, and in some cases their interactions with Bailey in social settings. These interviews are already revealing evidence that strongly counter Bailey's claims to have done cutting edge research in the area of transsexualism, and I'll sketch for you here about what I am now uncovering.
As a result of interviews I have already conducted, it appears that Bailey has done no original scientific research whatsoever when researching and reporting the "case studies" of those women. It seems that he merely took the old 1980's "theory of classification of transsexuals" conjured up by Ray Blanchard of The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, Canada, and tried to "prove it" by exploiting carefully selected anecdotes from the stories from the lives of a tiny handful of young latina transsexual women whom he used as research subjects, but from whom he did not bother to obtain complete case histories. From his viewpoint, all the transsexual women he met seemed to "fit" Blanchard's categories - and therefore this reporting on a small number of "classic" subject's cases may have seemed adequate to him for exposition of and "proof" of Blanchard's theoretical classification scheme.
Perhaps it is understandable how this initially happened. Back in 1994, when Bailey started his work on transsexualism, he had already been influenced by the existing theory of Ray Blanchard to think that "classic" transsexualism is actually a form of homosexuality. As a researcher on homosexuality who had not previously done research on transsexualism, Bailey may have unwittingly felt qualified to work in this area of gender studies without additional preparation.
In other words, he might have assumed these classic cases were simply "homosexual men", without really thinking too hard about what that meant. Then, once his interactions with these transsexual women got underway - and seeing them through the lens of Blanchard's classification scheme -he may never have thought to ask or check into other aspects of their past lives that did not fit Blanchard's scheme, including aspects that had been by then elaborated by Zucker (the theory that transsexual women who are attracted to men are of low IQ, are poorly socialized and are from and live on the marginal edges of society, and thus are unable to control their urges to be female).
Bailey only saw these women for interviews when they came to his office to get letters of approval for sex reassignment surgery (SRS). Bailey did not compile detailed research files on the past histories of these girls from those interviews - he did take care to write down the correct spelling of their before/after names (for those SRS letters). However, although the girls were used as research subjects and he gathered up many anecdotal stories about their lives (especially focussing on their sex lives), the girls did not fill out any detailed research questionnaires or write down their detailed case histories. Thus Bailey did not learn about or document the actual detailed gender trajectory of these women (their behavior and presentation and social role as a function of time since childhood).
Under pressure of this investigation, Bailey himself has admitted that he produced no original research results based on his research using these research subjects. Instead he only interacted with these girls during meetings related to writing their SRS letters and during a few social encounters with them - such as attending weddings, etc.
Bailey did not meet any of these trans women on his own - they were all brought to him by one postop trans woman, Anjelica Kieltyka ("Cher" in his book) who was mentoring a local group of young latina and hispanic trans girls to help them through their transitions. The only exception to this rule is "Alma" in the book; Alma knew Anjelica and was a friend of "Juanita" (one of the other girls who saw Bailey), and she went to see him on Juanita's suggestion.
Bailey was willing to write free SRS letters for women who had limited financial means, and he encouraged Anjelica to bring latina trans girls to his office for those letters. The conduct of the meetings gave no indication that anything else was involved. Bailey did not tell either Anjelica or the girls that they were research subjects as that time, and did not tell them that details of their case histories would be reported widely in his scientific writings and later on in a widely publicized book. This alone is a major breach of scientific research ethics and regulations on the use of human subjects in research.
Such SRS interviews by the "second letter writer" are usually of an overall observational nature, rather then in-depth interviews - with the letter writer helping to confirm that the girls are really ready for SRS. In these cases, the girls that Anjelica brought to see Bailey were all very far along in their hormonal and social transition and they were all young and pretty. Thus Bailey would have not needed to do in-depth questioning of them, but would more naturally have concentrated on gaining an overall impression of them at the time of the interview.
However, Bailey was later able to give the impression that he had "done cutting edge research on transsexualism" by meeting and talking with this small handful of "homosexual transsexuals" and writing SRS letters for them. Bailey had thus found his research subjects for his "cutting edge" research as an expediency. Anjelica brought them to him.
Cher brought the first young Latina girl to meet Bailey in 1994 - and the then one by one brought the others up through ~1998. Bailey never went out looking for transsexual women himself, and he never followed up on any trans women who later tried to contact him and offer their stories as subjects. He thus did his science the expedient way - only spending about two hours each with each of about a half dozen latina trans girls over a 5 year period! And he only interviewed them when Anjelica brought them to his office - then later adding into his recollections various anecdotes about these women's lives that Anjelica shared with him.
This all seems in character for Bailey, for he is widely reported to be outside the classroom a very shy, inhibited, socially awkward individual who has difficulty meeting and interacting with people. With Anjelica bringing him a small trickle of trans women over a period of five years or so, Bailey could claim to be doing serious research studies into transsexualism, while not being "confused by the facts" of encountering large numbers of randomly selected trans women. Therefore, Bailey struck a gold-mine when Anjelica first approached him in 1994, after hearing about him on TV, in hopes of conveying her insights into transsexualism to this then self-described "important sex researcher".
Bailey may have felt that he was doing these young Latina trans women a valuable service and was being humane by doing so, and they perceived him that way too - at the time. The "medicalization" of transsexual transition in the mid-90's had developed to the point that it usually took several years of expensive counseling before someone was willing to write SRS letters - and thus those letters were very expensive to get. Anjelica was very grateful to Bailey for helping the girls she was mentoring by writing those letters for free, and saw this as a very welcome reward for her having sought out Bailey.
Anjelica is a very intelligent woman who had thought long and hard about her own experiences and those of the girls she had been mentoring. She originally went to see Bailey in hopes of sharing her observations and extensive field work with him, so as to educate him about transsexualism - hoping to assist him in educating others about the topic.
This chance meeting with Anjelica apparantly led him to realize that he had stumbled onto a set of "transsexual case studies" that would fit the old theory of his sexologist hero Ray Blanchard. Many of us now speculate that he wanted to find ways to support Blanchard's theory in order to curry favor with Blanchard, in order to be able to publish more research papers and to get Blanchard's political support for career advancement in the field of sexology.
Anjelica is very outspoken and enthusiastic when speaking on the topic of transsexualism. She "tells it like it is" in very earthy language from her experiences, and over the years was a source of a large amount of imagery about her own case and of many anecdotal reports about the lives of trans women she has known - all of which she was trying to use to teach Bailey about transsexualism.
Anjelica had many contacts in the trans community in Chicago when she approached Bailey in 1994. She knew transsexual women from all across a wide cross-section of society, from suburbia to the streets. She was mentoring a group of young latina girls at the time, focussing her attention on them because they lacked the resources and connections that most of the other Chicago trans women had.
Bailey must have instantly recognized that Anjelica had wide connections to many trans women. He could have had access to those many women if he had wanted to include them in his research studies. Instead, Bailey simply agreed to write SRS letters for the girls that Anjelica brought to him - realizing that this highly skewed subset of the trans women's population could be used as "case studies of Blanchards' Type-1 transsexuals". To Bailey, to Bailey's colleagues and to Bailey's students, Anjelica and those girls were research subjects. However, Bailey never told Anjelica or those girls that he was "conducting research" on them - and all along they thought those interviews were simply for SRS letters.
Furthermore, Bailey selectively "mined the data", i.e., recalled only those fragments of the girls' interview, of anecdotal stories about them and of glimpses of them in social encounters in such a way as to support the Blanchardian theoretical classification scheme. Bailey "cutting-edge book on the science of transsexualism" thus consists simply of retelling those anecdotal stories, and using language in such a way as to give readers the feeling that Blanchard's scheme is intuitively obvious and far-reaching in its scope.
For example, he never mentions that "Teresa" had been living, working and passing as an apparantly normal man in a "man's job" just a few years before Bailey met her. He either never asked her about even this most basic aspect of her past life, or neglects to mention it if he did. Thus this information, which conflicts with the naive Zuckerian view that "homosexual transsexuals" are out-of-control effeminate men of low IQ who cannot pass as normal men, is not present in his book.
When Bailey interviewed the "Maria" in his book, he found her to be strikingly feminine. Thus he would have no difficulty extrapolating backward that she was "always effeminate". How could it be otherwise, in Bailey's simplistic appearance-based world? He never thought to ask Maria about her life trajectory, or he would have learned to his astonishment that she had been a male body-builder a few years earlier - in a stage where she was trying hard to so if she could "be a guy".
Significantly, he deliberately leaves out of the book one latina women, "Victoria", from this same close circle of friends for whom he wrote an SRS letter for in 1998. Victoria is a very beautiful woman whom Bailey definitely considered to be "a homosexual transsexual". However, she had never worked as an escort, was not promiscuous, had socially transitioned from passing in "boy" mode to passing as a girl on the job - and later went on to an excellent career position after completing her transition. She could have been included in the book. She went through the same SRS interview, etc., that the other girls did. However, since she could not be force-fit into the profile that Bailey is trying to reinforce, she is excluded from the book and is thrown away from Bailey's tiny set of data points!
Therefore, the imagery in Bailey's book purporting to support the Zuckerian/Blanchardian view of classic early-onset transsexualism as being co-equal with effeminate male homosexuality is nothing but data-mining from among a small sample of highly selected young trans women, which was done in interviews which seem designed to avoid even hearing about past life events that might conflict with Zucker's and Blanchard's views. And in the one case where the visible life-trajectory is in direct conflict with the Zuckerian/Blanchardian model of "homosexual transsexualism", Bailey simply leaves the woman out of the book.
Anjelica reports that Bailey did the same form of data-mining about her own case, during his many interactions with her over the years - not taking detailed research notes, but instead just mentally accumulating juicy tidbits of information about her case which supported Blanchard's type-2 classification.
Thus the sociological and ethnographic horizon within which the ideas in this book were conceived is easily seen to be an incredibly limited one. The book is totally blind to the stories and experiences of the many trans women outside the tiny group of young latina/hispanic trans women and the one older trans women whom Bailey actually interviewed. Bailey could have easily had access via Anjelica to many more trans women from a much wider cross section of society, and thus could have gotten a much broader introduction to the transsexual condition even just via her connections. But he didn't do that. And he didn't tell her that he was exploiting his SRS letter-writing interviews for young latina girls of modest means as an expedient way to prop up Blanchard's type-1 classification with "anecdotes" about effeminte gay men.
Anjelica reports that she feels incredibly exploited by all this. All the while she thought she was functioning as Bailey's collaborator, and in that capacity tried to help him understand and teach him about the deeper aspects of the transsexual transitional experience. He reinforced this notion in his deferential treatment of her and in inviting her to lecture to his classes on transsexualism. She assumed that when the book came out, her role would be acknowledged and that many of her ideas would be included in the book.
When she first read the drafts of the book a couple of years ago, she was deeply hurt and disappointed to see that she had been exploited as the poster child for autogynephilia. Instead of being a viewed as a major contributor to a book about transsexualism, based on her keen observations and insights, she'd instead merely became a sexualized object in the book and the sole "example case study" for describing Blanchard's type-2 classification.
Worse yet, the way Bailey chose to represent her (a prurient portrayal of certain visual and pagan fetish imagery that she had shared openly with Bailey in her enthusiasm for teaching, and which he completely misunderstood) meant that many people might ridicule her for the rest of her life.
Anjelica pleaded with Bailey to correct the misimpressions created in the book by her being forced to fit into the Blanchardian schema. She pleaded with him to correct many subtle but profound misinterpretations that Bailey had made not only her case study, but also regarding her insights and observations. Bailey totally refused to do this. Anjelica then insisted that he take her name out of the book. Bailey then chose the pseudonym "Cher" for her.
Bailey went on to publish the book without making any changes whatsoever in response to "Cher's" many criticisms of his misrepresentation of her experiences. She was left with the eerie feeling that he had used all her teachings and her stories about trans womens lives as his sole source of field knowledge about her inputs into something that supported the "theory" that he started out with, namely Blanchard's classification scheme.
Anjelica now sees this as a bizarre case of "field-work theft", in which the stolen materials were so misunderstood, misrepresented and morphed that it cannot be called plagiarism, because the result is such a distortion of the original!
Needless to say, Anjelica is very hurt by all of this and is very concerned about the way her story is being used by Bailey, Blanchard and Lawrence to hurt others in the transgender community. For more about Anjelica's - in her own words, interviews and photos, see the following link:
I myself perceive that Anjelica has been exploited and victimized by Bailey in the deepest of ways, and without any forethought or compassion whatsoever about what this book might do to her emotionally. This complete lack of compassion and failure of emotional sensitivity regarding his key research subject is very shocking. Bailey is a shy, inhibited, withdrawn, aloof person who himself seems unable to make any lasting intimate connections with other people in his personal life. Perhaps simple human compassion and empathy are beyond the mental horizon of a cold person such as Bailey.
Most fortunately, Anjelica reached out to the transsexual community for help - e-mailing me and Andrea James on May 4, 2003. I immediately began extensive telephone interactions with her and began to help get her story posted on the web. Anjelica has been the key to understanding the details of Bailey's research activities. I have since visited her in Chicago and interviewed her in great depth. She introduced me to several other women who were Bailey's unwitting research subjects, and I am in the process of compiling detailed information about Bailey from interviews with all these women.
So far I've made two trips to interact with these women (June 3-5 and July 19-22), during which we've all been able to much more clearly map out how Bailey recruited his research subjects using SRS letters as the lure, and then how he exploited these women by using his easy access to them, and by accumulating and using fragments of their stories, as evidence he was doing serious research on transsexualism.
By reaching out for help - and finding it - Anjelica has come out from under Bailey's control and is speaking for herself, and is telling the whole sordid story of Bailey's exploitation of these women during the mid-to-late 90's. As a result, she is quickly coming out from under the cloud of exploitation and defamation that Bailey placed her under.
At the same time, Bailey seems truly mystified about why trans women are so upset with him. He must have felt supported all along in his ideas by the fact that he was on good terms with the young Latina trans women and with Cher. Several years ago, when he first put some of his essays about trans women on the web, he began to get a lot of e-mail from well-situated well-adjusted trans women who did not fit into his classification scheme and who felt that his science was flawed.
Sadly, Bailey did not take this feedback seriously, and generally dismissed these women's e-mails, often doing so rather rudely - in many cases accusing the women of "fabricating" their stories.
It's too bad that he didn't check into those women's concerns, for they were the tip of the iceberg fully revealed when his book came out. Maybe he could have avoided the present clash over his use of anecdotal stories to caricature all trans women, if he had only realized how many of us there are and how inaccurately his scheme and his book characterize us.
Meantime, the news is spreading fast among the latina trans women in Chicago that Bailey is calling them all "homosexuals", and this has stunned and angered them - further evidence that Bailey has no clue or care about the deep emotional trauma that his writings are causing in many trans women.
For example, I was present when "Juanita" read Bailey's book for the first time, and watched as she found (on the top of page 210) his words that her "engagement story was a romantic one, in an odd, transsexual sort of way".
I watched as Juanita read those words, and then read them again, initially disbelieving what she was seeing. I observed as the words sunk in, as the expression of pain and hurt came over her face, as she realized that Bailey was pubicly making fun of her love-story in his book. I could see that she was left feeling violated and abused by those words, struggling to keep a brave face on.
Anjelica had suggested that Juanita invite Bailey to her wedding, and Juanita had eagerly done that. It was a time when she was feeling very validated as a woman. She wanted to share her happiness with Bailey - he had signed her SRS letter, and she considered him to be an authority figure and a representive of established society. He in turn had appeared to be fully accepting of her and behaved cordially at the time. She never dreamed that Bailey would later call women like her "homosexuals", and then go on to make fun of her and her romance in his writings.
Meantime, it is easy to refute the verbal caricatures Bailey paints of young transsexual women like Juanita as being "homosexual men". We do this not with words but with pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, as seen in the following photographs of "Juanita" by Anjelica Kieltyka - photographs that show the inner grace and beauty of a young transsexual woman:
In later detailed reports on my interviews of the participants in Bailey's "research", I will gradually reveal the many ways in which Anjelica's story and the stories of the latina trans women Bailey had met were artificially distorted to support the Blanchardian classification scheme. Key aspects of these women's lives that directly conflict with those classifications were not included in Bailey's reports, and other aspects that could be "spun" to support the classification scheme were taken out of context and highlighted - suggesting that Bailey deliberately mined the data in his anecdotal stories in such a way as to support Blanchard's old classification scheme. Furthermore, he deliberately did NOT ever mention details of the lives of two women who were among his research subjects but whose stories he later found out did not at all parallel his initial "diagnoses of them", one as an "H" and the other as an "AG".
One of the most amazing things to recognize is that Bailey never told Anjelica or those girls that he was "conducting research" on them. They opened their hearts to him, and told him the most intimate things about their lives - being especially guided by Bailey to focus primarily on their sex lives (not their relationships, or detailed life trajectories) - and did so out of hopes of explaining transsexualism to this "respected scientist" who showed "compassion" for them.
Now that these women realize what Bailey has done and how terribly his book is hurting the transsexual community, they are coming forward to tell their stories and also to file formal complaints about Bailey's research conduct. The first of these formal complaints was filed with the Vice President for Research at Northwestern University on July 3, 2003 by Anjelica Kieltyka.
Since then, three more women have come forward and have filed formal complaints with Northwestern that they were used as research subjects by Bailey without their knowledge or permission. They all thought that they were merely being interviewed as part of getting their SRS letters signed by Bailey. Instead, they now find anecdotes from their lives scattered through Bailey's book and exploited by "data-mining" to "prove" his so-called scientific theory of transsexualism.
These women now have pro-bono legal representation to press their case against Bailey and Northwestern University regarding Bailey's research misconduct and his interference in and publications about their private, intimate lives. We anticipate that additional formal complaints of research misconduct will be filed against Bailey in the near future by even more of Bailey's past research subjects.
Updates will be added here soon - the situation is developing very rapidly now - please follow the "Breaking Events" section of this Investigation website to keep posted on the latest developments!
Bailey's long immersion in gay club culture and his fascination with effeminate gay men, drag queens and shemale prostitutes:
The Bailey story is further complicated by the fact that Bailey himself had been "doing research on homosexuality" long before he started doing "cutting edge" research on transsexual women.
As a divorced white male in his forties, Bailey lives an area of Chicago on the edge of Boy's Town - a primarily gay area of Chicago. He is reported as often frequenting gay bars in the area near his home, presumably to do his research on homosexuality. He is reportedly well known in that area as being especially interested in drag queens and she-male prostitutes.
As a result of frequenting those bars and of his self-reported voyeurism regarding drag queens and she-male prostitutes, the gay bar/drag queen culture permeates his writings and his thinking about sex and gender; his writings quite literally exude obsession with this gay male sexual subculture.
Bailey reports in his book on his own sexual attaction, and that of his graduate research assitant, to she-males and preop transsexual women. We can only speculate what Bailey's preoccupation with drag queens, shemale prostitutes and preop trans women says about his own sexual orientation, sexual desires, and gender issues. Such speculations are not intended to be personal affronts, but instead are quite reasonable when thinking critically about possible research biases and conflicts of interest.
It is clear from all of Bailey's writings (and from many reports of his social activities and encounters with people) that he is someone who is obessed with sex, and who never talks about intimacy, partnering, love-relationships, or life-partnerships. These other aspects of human desire, motivation, and goal seeking behavior seem to be completely off his radar screen.
Therefore, it is odd that he feels personally qualified to make professional and scientific assignments of motivations for other people's major life decisions, when all he seems to be motivated by himself is sexual gratification in his personal relations with other humans.
There are no reports of Bailey ever asking those young transsexual girls questions about their hopes and dreams for intimacy, love, partnering, etc. The only information he has about that came when they accidentally volunteered bits and pieces of it. Perhaps if he had focussed more on those girls long-term hopes and dreams for love, he might have gotten an entirely different set of insights into their really deep motivations for gender transition- as I have begun to do.
It is also odd that Bailey almost always begins his lectures with the statement that he "is heterosexual".
We all wonder why he does that? All of the women I interviewed observe that he has a Boy's Town reputation of being quite a "trannie sniffer". Men don't usually get that kind of reputation just for wanting to talk to trannies to do scientific research.
Perhaps Bailey is rationalizing to himself that shemales and preop women are "enough like girls" if they are attractive enough so that men who are attracted to them aren't really homosexual. Maybe he figures that if he is gets the hots for them, he "really isn' t homosexual - even though he considers those women (and also postop trans women) to be homosexual men.
But wait a minute: How come they are "homosexual" when he himself "isn't homosexual" when he feels lust for them? And how can he call postoperative transsexual women "homosexual", just because they are attracted to men? Shouldn't he call them "heterosexual"?
It is in this area of thinking that we see many inconsistencies in Bailey's use of language, especially in the context of his own actions and motivations.
Many of us wonder what it is that motivates Bailey to keep going to those gay bars and drag shows and to be fascinated by shemales? We wouldn't accuse him of actually using those girls for his own sexual gratification. He wouldn't do that, would he? Remember, he is very shy and socially inept, and he keeps telling us he is heterosexual.
While I was in Chicago, some of the girls speculated that he is trying to sort out what he himself is thinking while he lusts after pretty young transgender and transsexual girls. In other words, perhaps he hangs out at those places to do "thought experiments while he is aroused" - a kind of Baileyan "scientific" psychological investigation of his own sex urges, so to speak.
But in that case, why wouldn't he see the obvious: Maybe he really is heterosexual after all, and needn't keep protesting all the time that he is heterosexual. Maybe he is simply being attracted to those women because they are, quite naturally attractive women!
Ah, but such is the power of a scientific theory to cloud men's minds once it is internalized - Bailey just can't let go of the scientific view that those beautiful young trans girls he so lusts after are really "homosexual men" under Blanchard's classification scheme. Thus he is caught in a conundrum, of Blanchard's making.
Of course there are other possibilities, such as that Bailey himself is struggling with deep gender identity and sexual identity issues himself, and is attracted like a moth to a flame to be around and voyeuristically observe women who have yielded to this sort of inner nature - and then, in a kind of "purging" of feelings arising from deep within, writing defamatory things about them so as to prop up his own fragile identity as a "male". Something to think about, eh?
How Bailey's thinking about the trans women in his book was biased by gay culture and Blanchardian theory:
As it turns out, several of the trans girls whom "Cher" introduced to Bailey had performed in gay clubs as a way of trying out their wings in their new female identities. Performing as if they were gay male drag queens in order to start out in their new lives as women has long been the custom among latina and hispanic trans girls, many of whom have immigrated from countries where that such performing as "travesti" the only way trans girls can legally dress as females.
Thus Bailey at the outset biased his thinking about the young "androphilic" transsexual girls (trans girls who like boys) in his "research study" by conflating their female identities with the male homosexuality of gay male drag queens who performed at the same clubs - a male homosexuality that he had long been preoccupied in observing, thinking about and overhearing conversations about while hanging out in those bars.
Bailey also listened to lengthy descriptions by Cher of her own experiences in coping with transsexualism, experience that as an artist and photographer and collector of artifacts she often put into visual frames of reference - and went into another exercise in data-mining to mentally log (he never took actual notes) any and all aspects of Cher's kaliedoscopic experiences during her transitional years in such ways as to use her as a poster child for autogynephilia (the other type-2 paraphilic male category in Blanchard's old classification scheme).
Given all this background: Bailey's interest in supporting Blanchard's old classification scheme, his isolation from contact with any trans women other than Cher and the girls Cher brought to his office, his fascination with drag queens and shemales, and his conflation of the latina trans girls with drag queens because a few of them performed in the same bars - and then his data-mining of their experiences and of Cher's life experiences - all this gave Bailey the ammunition to use to write what would appear to be a popularization in a modern science book of "the cutting edge scientific theory of transsexualism".
In his book Bailey simply reports as if it were scientific fact that transsexuals are one of two types (whether preop or postop): (i) extremely effeminate homosexual men, or (ii) a type of body fetishists he calls autogynephilic men. He then uses anecdotes about the young trans girls Cher brought to him for SRS letters to paint a sweeping picture of all "type-1s", and he uses anecdotes of Cher's story alone to paint a sweeping picture of all "type-2".
And that is the extent of his "cutting edge" scientific research on transsexualism. And as we will see over the coming months, he didn't even get those limited stories right - but mined them for data that fit the Blanchardian stereotypes and ignored many other aspects of those women's stories that conflicted with Blanchardian theory.
Futhermore, although Bailey gives lip service here and there in his book to sometimes calling these people women, he never updates his labelling of them to place it into the past tense for postop women by, for example, saying that "so-and-so was autogynephilic", or that so and so might have seemed to be "homosexual". He simply maintains his labelling intact in the present tense for postop women too, saying "so-and-so IS autogynephilic", or so and so is a "homosexual transsexual". Therefore, he always projects a pretransition male identity classification onto all of these women's postoperative, post-transition identity.
How did Baileys' book, so very far behind the current-day paradigm of thought about gender identity dysphoria, so far behind in its using of pretransition male-gendered terminology when referring to postop trans women, and so exotic its advocacy of autogynephilia as a replacement for GID as a major cause of transsexualism, ever get published by the National Academy Press in 2003?
How did so many people including well-educated scientists at the Academies "buy into" the ideas in this book, and not see through the shallowness of it?
Some explanations are already taking shape from our initial investigations, and seem to "make common sense". In this section we'll explore some of the factors that keep many people, including Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence themselves, from catching onto the GID model. We'll also, by going back in time, realize that when Blanchard and then Bailey first thought about classifications schemes, they were blinded by existing stereotypes of early-onset transsexualism as a form of homosexuality - and have never gotten beyond that stereotype. They were then confused by the increasing emergence of later transitioners, and sought an explanation for them, never thinking that many of these trans women had simply had to suppress their need to transition under the incredible social pressures for gender conformity - and now in a more liberal age were finally able to go ahead and transition.
There are many other factors that we will see also blinded these researchers: They only saw subjects in the narrow time window of transition, and often incorrectly extended gendered identities backwards and forwards in time - based on the appearance of subject when they first arrived for interviews. I.e., they often did not get or did not believe subjects reports of early life experiences, nor did they follow-up over the long term to find out what happened to these women after they transitioned.
Furthermore, they were blinded to the need for larger sample sizes by an existing gross underestimation in the prevalence of transsexualism - their estimates were off by about a factor of 100 - and thus they continually to this day think that very small numbers of subjects are sufficient to test theories that generalize to the entire population of trans women.
We will also see that these researchers very often engage in a type of "gender phrenology" (phrenology is a long-discredited theory which proposed that the external shape of the cranium reflects the internal characteristics of the brain), in which they react to the masculinity vs femininity of subjects' facial featuring and overall physicality as the main basis for classifying them.
Based simply on present appearance, they extrapolate childhood histories and sexual habits without even interviewing subjects. They will even accuse subjects of lying about their histories if their feature-based classification does not coincide with those extrapolated histories. As we will see below, the modern innovation of facial feminization surgery totally shatters these feature-based classification schemes. Of course, Blanchard and Bailey are totally ignorant of the empirical evidence of feminization effects of FFS, and thus blindly go on classifying people by gender phrenology.
Then, as males, they (iv) focussed on what they consider to be the major motivations and preoccupations of males (which they see transsexual women to be), namely finding as many sex partners as possible, or if unable to do that, finding interesting ways masturbate. Somehow, these males "just know" that the sexual deviancy of transsexuals is somehow related to one or the other of those deeply male motivations, and so they focus on asking questions and making obervations primary to uncover the "truth" about transsexual's behaviors in those areas. By doing this, it seems to me that these researchers are projecting onto transsexual women their OWN sexual fantasy lives and mental preoccupations (lots of sex partners or wild ways to masturbate).
All of these critical oversights and biases - (i) the narrow time window of observations of subjects, (ii) the factor of 100 underestimate in the prevalence of transsexualism, and (iii) the attribution of motives, life-histories and sexual habits based on facial features, and (iv) focussing on explaining major life-decisions as being motivated by either seeking lots of sex partners or finding exotic ways to masturbate - built up a narrowness and shallowness of view that amounts to a "paradigm trap" in which these researchers cannot see beyond their classfication scheme.
Also keep in mind is that many of the young trans girls back then would themselves have identified as "gay", especially if they were immigrant latina, hispanic and caribbean girls who were not familiar with the new word "transsexual" that most trans girls were using for themselves here in the U.S. The only identities available to them in their native countries and cultures was "gay boy" or "travesti (drag queen)". The social recognition within the gay world that trans did not equate with gay had not yet evolved. Thus the actual trans girls that Bailey encountered were mislabelling themselves back then with respect to our understanding now.
Although some of the young "homosexual" trans girls may have been called "drag queens" by some of their gay friends, these trans girls were unlike the other drag queens. They wanted desperately to actually be girls, and they had no doubt that they would be women after their "sex change".
Clearly these girls did not seek SRS to have lots of sex partners! They were so beautiful that they were swamped with adorers while preop. Many of them worried whether they would still feel sexy and arousable and be orgasmic after SRS - so instead of doing it for "more sex", they were actually fearful it might mean a loss of sexual feelings - but still wanted to do it anyways to resolve their gender angst.
Some of the girls were "escorts", and would openly wonder whether their "business success" would be better or worse after SRS, and perhaps Bailey confused such speculations as being about "desire for lots of sex partners", when in fact the numbers were only related to business prospects.
When Bailey wrote the SRS letters for these girls, starting in 1994, he wrote in those letters that they were "homosexual transsexuals". This demonstrates that he had already and permanently bought into Blanchard's classification scheme way back in 1994! Ever since 1994, he has simply been accumulating various anecdotal evidence that supported this classification scheme, and ignoring or claiming as "lies" any evidence that went against that scheme.
And then, since that time, Bailey apparantly hasn't noticed the paradigm shift about trans that has swept throught much of the gay community. Many gays have been through the sudden "aha - I get it!" feeling when they finally grasped the GID model. However, Bailey hasn't heard the message out there, nor gone back to question whether there are data points on trans people that might fall way outside his limited set.
These paradigm shifts occur out there, in real society, as a sociological phenomemon - as large collections of people grapple with things they don't understand and try to make common sense out them in everyday life. In this case we see the gay community trying to finally understand trans women, and finally "getting it".
The lag in recognition of the reality of GID transsexualism in the gay community also suggests why the psychology community only comprehends the BMM paradigm of GID right now. How could academic psychologist think any other way, unless they'd had direct contact with GID sufferers or caregivers? They simply haven't yet gone through the education and the paradigm shift that the gay community recently went through. Therefore, most academic psychologists will automatically buy into Bailey's type-1 categorization of GID trans women - i.e., automatically think of them as extremely effeminite gay men who finally caved and had a sex change.
Being gay and being trans are two different things. It's just that simple. This is made even clearer by the fact that some postop women are lesbian, and some postop trans men are gay males. There are four combinations: straight, gay, trans, and gay-trans. And this is true for both MtF and FtM trans people.
However, Bailey denies the existance of GID, and he never even mentions FtM transsexualism, nor the many combinations of gay and trans that are by now well known on the streets. He sees only explanation for the so-called "primary MtF transsexuals", the ones who act out dramatically very early in life and who try in every way they can to live as and to become girls. He calls these GID sufferers, girls like Danielle and Gwen, "homosexual transsexuals".
What about Type-2's? Do they really explain all the rest: But what about "autogynephiles", the type-2 transsexuals under Baileyan theory: This old and almost defunct classification category arose in the work of Ray Blanchard. Blanchard, who for many years headed up the gender clinic at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, Canada. "The Clarke", as it is known, became the major "clearinghouse" for diagnosing and recommending treatment for trans women from across much of Canada, under Canada's centralized medical system. Trans woman who wanted treatment could go to The Clarke and have it covered by the government's medical system.
There is growing evidence that the funneling into The Clarke of all trans women who needed government-funded treatment led to the co-evolution of (i) a specially self-selected pool of subjects and (ii) Blanchard's AG theory of transsexualism. In other words, the protocols of treatment at The Clarke increasingly attracted fetishistic tranvestic men and discouraged other trans women. Over time The Clarke became notorious among all but the few transsexuals who seemed to fit its unusual treatment protocols. Thus most trans women in Canada tried very hard to go elsewhere - into the U.S. system for example - rather than suffer at the hands of The Clarke.
Blanchard had found that a fraction of the gender-disoriented people presenting at his psychiatric clinic seeking SRS were, upon closer interactions men who were highly fetishistic crossdressers who were increasingly caught up in fantasies of wanting to be women. We all wonder why he found this so surprising - this phenomenon has always been around.
Anyways, unlike the GID sufferers he and others had seen, these men never talked much about "feeling like women". This new class of subject frankly admitted an addiction to fetishistic masturbation while thinking of themselves as women, and a few of them appeared to be seeking SRS. Blanchard then elevated this vague diagnosis into a distinct, labelled class of "transsexuals" that he called "autogynephiles" (AG). He says he did this out of "compassion" for these individuals. By naming and assigning this "diagnosis of AG", he could justify approval for SRS in some of the most intense of these cases. Over time, Blanchard further elevated his label "autogynephilia" into a "scientific discovery" (kind of like Columbus discovering America).
Transsexualism (in Blanchard's mind) means "anyone who seriously wants to be a woman", by which he means they "think they want to undergo SRS", and thus his definition includes many men who in the past would have simply been called crossdressers, because many of these men don't actually plan to go through with SRS - it just figures highly in their fantasy life.
Blanchard then triggered an inexorable process of increases in the numbers of fetishistic crossdressers who came to his clinic, to the extent that they began to displace the GID sufferers. This co-evolution of theory and subject stream must have felt like a "verification of theory" to Blanchard, as more and more "transsexuals" in his patient stream seemed eager to talk to him about their "autogynephilic" urges. What he must have missed is how highly socially networked is the trans community - and as the word got out that the Clarke would approve non-GID trans people for SRS, and government-paid SRS at that. Of course in response, The Clarke established draconian treatment protocols that AG's were willing to suffer through (one year working as a man very feminine attire - without hormones, etc.), but that those suffering from GID couldn't endure (and so they went elsewhere, outside The Clarke), and then Blanchard began recommending some of these people for SRS.
In this process, Blanchard came to believe that "AG was the underlying cause of most transsexualism", seeing only that ever evolving stream of clients going through his clinic. He then began writing about the "theory of autogynephilia" as explanatory for all transsexualism except for the already well-known "early-onset" transsexualism which he had relabelled as "homosexual transsexualism".
Viewed from the male mental illness/sexual deviance model of MtF transssexualism, which denies a female gender identity, almost any TS woman (other than pretty, early transitioners) who ever masturbated and had fantasies is diagnosed as an autogynephile by Blanchard and Bailey. Gads, from Blanchard's viewpoint, many born-women would be called autogynephiles!
Autosexual behavior is thus pathologized by Blanchard and Bailey, as if it were capable of causing "mental illness", i.e, capable of causing transsexualism. But doesn't almost everyone masturbate? Why the big deal about it? Why is it that "scientists" obsess on questions about masturbation when interviewing transsexual women? How it is that autosexuality during times of absence of partners and during the turbulance in transgender lives came to be pathologized is one of the strange warps of late twentieth century "science".
Recognize that Blanchard and Bailey do this overextension of "mastubation as pathology" without realizing their error - because they do not see over the horizon beyond their local data sets. They simply are unaware of the tens of thousands of trans women who have transtioned that do not fit either of the Type-1: Chicago drag queen (in which they erroneously label minority cross-dressed trans girls as "homosexual transsexual men") or Type-2: The Clarke's autogynephile models. And they are apparantly unaware that many, if not most, healthy women masturbate just as much as trans women do if they don't have lovers at the time (check out women's sex toys some time: See the Good Vibrations webpage).
Bailey exploited his encounter with Cher in 1994 and her subsequent bringing of a series of young trans women to meet him as an opportunity to reinforce Blanchard's classification scheme - and thus perhaps to win favor with Blanchard whom he thought of as a kind of "hero" in the field of sexology.
And then in the late 90's, Anne Lawrence, M.D., a postop transsexual who had built up an extensive website in support of the medical aspects of MtF transition - hormones, surgery, etc. - found herself in Blanchard's old classification scheme, and came out as being an "autogynephile". She did even more than that: She began to discuss and describe autogynephilia as being the primary cause of transsexualism, so sure was she that almost all other transsexual women's experiences were just like hers.
An intensensely sexual person whose admitted motive for SRS was ongoing autosexual gratification, Anne Lawrence then became very notorious within the trans community. She attracted a minority following of later transitioners who misunderstood her to be saying that it is OK to admit that "you are sexual beings", and it is OK to be an older transitioner, etc. Thus a number of older transitioners began to take on the label of AG, without realizing how Blanchard had defined it.
Anne's reinvestment of the good will from her website into the mission of making AG the cause of transsexualism resurrected the old, dying Blanchardian classification scheme. More than that, Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence, and several others at the old Clarke Institute (Zucker and Bradley) all joined forces to prove that they were right all along with their old scheme.
Holding positions of importance in HBIGDA, these BBL people mounted a formidable political campaign to force the acceptance of their ideas as "scientific truth", including the influencing of new language in the DSM, while suppressing all voices and evidence that conflicted with their point of view.
Many tensions have developed between Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence and trans women who have tried to "become data points outside BBL's current field of view". Many women have tried to contact them over the past few years, in hopes of providing new case-study information for their research. However, instead of welcoming new data points into their data set, they almost always insist that their data is accuate and adequate and that their theory is now proven to the point of being scientific fact. They simply refure all reports that appear in any way to disagree with their classification scheme as being "fabrications".
Many people see Blanchard's, Bailey's and Lawrence's activities as a scientifically unwarranted overpromotion of the AG masturbation theory as explaining almost all of transsexualism. Many see it as a naive effort to eliminate the existance of GID as a recognized description of the gender angst often expressed even by young teens. They also ignore the fact that the GID model is working as guide to therapeutic treatments: Many caregivers in both Europe and the U.S.now provide humane treatment for GID sufferers, and there have been many successful gender transitions by GID sufferers, most of whom report considerable improvements in their quality of life after transition.
The overpromotion of the theory of AG also implicitly encourages men who are intensely fetishistic crossdressers to begin to think of themselves as "transsexuals". This is a very dangerous concept, because it can lead people to undergo SRS who will have great regrets later on. As discussed on my TS Warning Page and shown through examples there, anyone who undergoes SRS for non GID reasons faces very grave danger of a poor social and psychological outcome.
Worse yet is the damage now accumulating as GID trans women who have difficulties passing are increasingly being called "AG" just based on their physical appearance, even though they are perceived as women and "vibe" as women by those who know them. This is a very cruel extra burden to place on poorly passable trans women who are already suffering enough hardships in life.
Amazingly, Bailey now claims to be able to diagnose the AG condition with a very simple 12 question test. He also claims that he diagnosis a case by himself - at a distance - by just knowing a few facts about the person without ever having met them. He might be advised to only label as "homosexual transsexuals" those trans women who outright say that they are "homosexual" and to only label as AG those people who outright say that they are AG. After all, AG is a diagnosis of mental illness that may soon to be listed in the DSM. Bailey seems to be treading on dangerous legal grounds when he publicly diagnoses someone as having a mental illness that they have not admitted to, and in fact may not in fact have.
I think that you may now sense have a sense of how BBL, stuck in their flatland view of transsexualism, and preoccupied with sexual deviancy as the only possible cause for wanting to "change sex", gradually deep-ended into coming up and then proselytizing their two-type classification scheme. However, there are three more crucial factors that will cement the picture for you:
One is the fact that gender researchers usually only see trans women during a very narrow year or two time window in their lives, and must make extrapolations backward and forward in time based on what they see then. It appears that it is through great errors in extrapolation backward and forward in time - i.e., not believing reported early histories, and in never doing long term follow-ups that Blanchard and Bailey remained totally blindsided to and could not believe in any counter-evidence that came forward about their classification scheme.
Another factor is the "prevalence" of transsexualism - and any big errors in estimating this factor can lead to great errors in estimating the utility of sample sizes and in characterizing the quality of sample selection methods. It appears Blanchard and Bailey both made huge errors in estimating the prevalence of transsexualism. Believing in a value of prevalence that was in error by almost a factor of 100, Bailey then assumed that very tiny numbers of cases were useful for generalizing to all transsexual women. He was also blindsided regarding the huge biases introduced by the highly non-random manner of selecting his cases.
The finally there is Bailey's overuse and misuse of whether someone appears to be masculine or feminine as a basis for attributing motives and for classifying them as transsexuals - in a kind of facial gender phrenology. We clarify the irrelevance of these feature gender cues by showing how the "facial mask" can be completely changes from male to female by modern facial feminization surgery (FFS), which Bailey was apparantly totally ignorant of - even though it was innovated and many patients had undergone it before his "transsexual research" began.
We discuss these errors and oversights in detail in this section and show how they led Bailey to get firmly locked into a "paradigm trap" - into seeing the world one particular way because of false premises that he cannot let go of.
The narrow transition "time-window" psychologists see trans women through, and how it narrows their theories about us:
By only seeing transgender and transsexual women during the narrow time window from when they first seek help to when they complete their transitions, counselors and researchers get a very distorted view of trans lives. They see these women during a turbulent period in their lives. They see them first as "boys" or "men", and it can be very difficult for them to later regender them as women. In this way, that "first impression" of malenessis projected forward in time, and even though after transition other people see these trans women as women - those researchers who met them during transition may be unable to do so. Thus the "first impression" trap is sprung on these researchers. Perhaps it is no wonder that Bailey and Blanchard think of all trans women as "men", especially since they themselves almost never follow up to see what happens to these women later in life.
Interestingly, the "narrow time window" also works the other direction. Researchers and counselors tend to take the first impression they get when someone comes to see them and extend it backward in time. Bailey often made this mistake with the young trans girls he met: He buys into Zucker's theory that all "homosexual transsexuals" are out-of-control effeminates as children and all through their teens and then become active as very effeminate "gay men". Any deviance from this pattern would be a counter-indication of early-onset transsexualism according to Bailey. Thus he would never have imagined that "Teresa" just a few years before meeting her had been living, working, and passing as a straight man in a "man's" job. And when Bailey meets someone like "Maria" in his book, and he finds her to be strikingly feminine, he would have no difficulty extrapolation backward that she was "always effeminate". How could it be otherwise, in Bailey's simplistic appearance-based world? Of course he never thought to ask Maria about her life trajectory, or he would have learned to his astonishment that she had been a male body-builder at one stage in her life - a stage where she was trying a desperate escape into maleness, but that didn't work for her.
These failures to get (and believe) full life histories, and failures to follow-up and see what happens to postop women over long periods of time, enable researchers like Blanchard, Bailey and Zucker to remain in their flatland world and not have a clue about the reality of the gender trajectories that many trans women follow. They do not have a clue as to the depth to which some go to conceal their gender problems at some stages of life, nor the extent to which the outer shell can now be restructured so that many even masculine appearing males who have GID can be successfully released from that trap and become attractive, assimilated females. No - those "scientists" stay in their flatland, and always view things as seen from the narrow time window of transition. And if they hear news of things that conflict with their theories - news of stories of childhood experiences, or news of long-term postop experiences that conflict with their theories - instead of checking those stories out and meeting those people, they just call them liars.
In the end, as more and more people see that these researchers are stuck in a "transition time-window view" of transsexualism, this will become one of the major factors in their being seen as narrow, self-biased thinkers who really don't have a clue about what is really going on in trans women's lives.
The error of believing that transsexualism is "extremely rare":
The DSM reports that the prevalence of MtF transsexualism is 1:30,000. This means that only one in every 30,000 males has GID. Bailey hedges a bit, maybe having heard rumors that it might be a bit larger than that, and without giving any reference to back him up guesses that it is 1:20,000:
If that number were right, and since only a small fraction of those wanting to be women (perhaps 1/4 or 1/8th) would actually have completed transition, one might expect that there would be only about 1:100,000 or 1:200,000 who were actually postop women.
Bailey himself says (J. M. Bailey, p.144): "All I mean by "transsexualism" is the desire to become the a member of the opposite sex". Thus he too must recognize that only a modest fraction of the 1:20,000 persons who is transsexual have completed their "sex change".
But think for a moment: Those numbers mean that there would only be about 400 to 800 postop women in the whole United States! After all, it's a simple calculation: there are about 80,000,000 adult males between 18-60, so 80,000,000/200,000 = 400.
But gads, all gender counselors will tell you that about 1500 to 2000 MtF transsexual women undergo SRS each year! So something must be totally wrong here! Well there sure is. Transssexualism isn't incredibly rare.
In fact, it is easy to calculate that there are about 30,000 to 40,000 postop women in the U.S. now. This means that about one in every 2000 adult males has already undergone a transsexual transition and become a women! For a detailed discussion of the numbers, please study the following report:
Thus Blanchard's and Bailey's notion that transsexualism is incredibly rare is ridiculously in error. They are wrong by almost two-orders of magnitude - by almost a factor of 100! This is a really big error. However, they make this error because they blindly follow the number given in the DSM, presumably because it is must "authentic science" because the DSM says it is so (kinda like the blind leading the blind, eh?).
This huge error in the old estimates of transsexualism ten apparantly misled both Blanchard and Bailey into thinking that field studies of very small numbers of subjects could produce meaningful results generalizeable onto the entire population of transsexual women. They knew that there were modest numbers of transsexual women who are prostitutes in our big cities, and probably figured that that accounted for almost all 800 of the postop women they thought were in the U.S.
The trouble is, they missed seeing the other 39,000 of us! And it is driving Bailey nuts to keep getting news of yet more and more stories out there that don't agree with his "scientific classification theory". He is certaint that those stories are all "fabrications"! They have to be, right? Maybe he thinks the same tiny group of transsexual women are all inventing 100 stories each? Who knows. Maybe someone should clue him in about the numbers.
This error of thinking that transsexualism is incredibly rare apparantly led Bailey to vastly underestimate the level of pushback he would get when they published his book. First of all, there are about 100 times as many transsexual women out there than he thought there were, and the majority of those women are in much higher levels of success and accomplishment than he could possibly believe they are. So the level of pushback must be astonishing to him, and that in itself should clue him in that there is something really wrong with his theory.
Numbers matter folks. Bailey's theory is like a bridge meant to hold 400 vehicles at one time. It is unlikely to stand now that there are 40,000 trying to go over it.
Gender phrenology: Attributing one's inner sense of maleness or femaleness based on facial featuring - and how FFS shatters the validity of this idea:
"A while after I read your description of the "gender
phrenology" used by Bailey and Blanchard to categorize MtFs,
it suddenly struck me: what they're doing is simply a throwback
Lombroso and his long-since-discredited theories of "criminal
physiognomy" that were popular in the late 1800s and early
1900s. Stephen Jay Gould's "Mismeasure
of Man" contains a good treatment of Lombroso's "theories."
Basically, Lombroso claimed that criminals had a different appearance
(particularly in facial bone structure) from law-abiding citizens
and that they could be identified anthropometrically or even visually.
Bailey and Blanchard are doing pretty much the same thing, except
now they're looking for "stigmata" of what they perceive
as sexual deviance." - quote from a message from E. B.
(a male-born man with no particular familiarity with the trans
E.B. is right: Bailey and Blanchard have fallen into the unscientific trap of judging a person's inner femininity or masculinity based on facial features. Over and over again Bailey in his book sorts out type-1 from type-2 transsexual women by whether they are "attractive", i.e., feminine looking, or not.
If a trans woman is attractive (feminine looking), she is stigmatized by Bailey as being a deviant homosexual male, just for being so feminine-looking as a "man". Type-1's are futher stigmatized as lying temptresses who "fool" straight men into having "homosexual" sex with them. On the other hand, if a trans woman is unattractive (masculine looking), she is stigmatized as being an "autogynephilic man". Type-2's suffer harsher stigmatization effects from these teachings, because they more easily publicly spotted, ridiculed and harrassed. However, either way a trans women is classified as a "male sexual deviant" instead of as a woman.
It is natural for Bailey to sort female-looking vs male-looking people this way. We all learn to do this from early childhood, gradually noticing at a subliminal level the extended browridge and flared jaws and large chins that are the external signs of maleness - and noticing that their absence is a sign of femaleness. This is why so many grown men who attempt to dress in drag look so ridiculous: Their facial bony structures often make them appear rather grotesque when in feminine getup - causing onlookers to instintively sense that something is awry. Many people are easily taught by Bailey that a type-2 appearance is a sign of "sexual deviance" (i.e., autogynephilia) just like those Lombrosian caricatures of "ugly people" became associated in peoples' minds as representing "criminals".
However, masculinized facial bony structures in trans women are completely independent of whatever neuro-biological, psychological and social factors affects their inner sense of femaleness. Those bones are shaped under the influence of sex hormones in the teens and early adult years, and it is not the fault of a trans woman that she was forced to go through this awful masculinization when she was young and had no way to stop it.
Some lucky trans women, mostly younger ones who are able to go on female hormones early in life, avoid the heavy facial bony-masculinization that most later transitioners suffer from. However, as we now know (and Blanchard and Bailey do not), such features can be corrected in many cases, and the person given the facial features of an attractive woman.
Amaazingly, Bailey and Blanchard are so out of contact with the mainstream of present day transsexual transitioners that they are not aware of the pioneering work of Douglas Ousterhout, M.D., who has developed maxillo-facial surgical methods and surgical artistry to the point that in most cases the facial masculinization of adult trans women can be reversed - resulting in a significant feminization of their faces.
Many, many trans women now undergo such facial feminization surgery (FFS) in order to remove all vestiges of facial-bone maculinization caused by testosterone. This new technology shatters the "gender phrenology" of Blanchard and Bailey - showing that the facial appearance is only "bone-deep" and can be completely changed by modern technical methods.
Caught in a paradigm trap:
It is perhaps understandable how Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence got into the incredible difficulties they now find themselves in.
There is the time-window problem which totally biases Blanchard's and Bailey's thinking. This is then combined with their error in estimating the prevalence of transsexualism by about two orders of magnitude - which encourages these researchers to think that their tiny case-study sample sizes are meaningful when they are not. And this is then combined with a natural, unconscious habit humans have of attributing maleness or femaleness based on facial skeletal structuring - when in fact facial features are merely hormonally induced and may not correlate with maleness or femaleness in gender identity in some people - and in those people those features can be totally modified to be those of the correct (new) gender.
But perhaps most importantly, by not having ever personally experienced MtF GID, these male-gendered people can't comprehend what GID feels like and thus deny that it can exist. Infecting each other with enthusiasm for the Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence theory of transsexualism, and hoping to achieve scientific fame for inventing it, they have vigorously pushed it onto the sexology community in an effort that to most outsiders seems "by any means possible". It's all there, in Bailey's book. They can't claim now "that isn't really what we meant. After all, it's not white paper or an e-mail, or a niche-journal paper where it mightn't do much harm. No, it's a book published by the National Academy, and aimed by the author at undergraduate psychology courses.
Trans women and caregivers and their friends and loved ones who have experienced the realities of GID and of GID-based gender transitions do not see "GID transsexuals" in Bailey's book and so it feels strange and alien to them.
It then seems ludicrously quaint and outdated to imply that a trans women who loves men is a "gay man" herself. And it seems a gross-overreaching of application of the strange concept of autogynephilia to sweepingly apply it as an explanation for the majority of later transitioners. It seems especially egregious to remotely diagnose almost all poorly passable or later transitioning trans women as AG transsexuals and to use that as implicity male-gendered term even for postop women (i.e. to say that a postop women IS an autogynephile rather than to say that she WAS labelled as an autogynephilic transsexual during her transition).
However, stuck in their flatland view of transsexualism - not seeing outside the transition window - not grasping the huge error they are making when estimating the numbers of transsexual women - and not grasping the concept of GID, Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence stumble on and keep proselytizing their "classification scheme" as if it were some kind of great "scientfic discovery".
What is especially sad is that these sexologists cannot visualize the damage this book will do to trans kids, if it is the "first impression" many people gain of transsexualism. Since BBL believe that transsexual women are sexual deviants, then they obviously do not care if they are "damaged", considering them to already be damaged goods and outside of normal society. But what if they are wrong? Didn't they ever consider the implications of what it would mean to be wrong about this? Apparently not.
For more about the B-B-L clique of sexologists, and their impact on the trans community, see Appendix 3 and Andrea James' B-B-L page.
In August 2003, I received the following important insight in a message from E.B.:
"I think Susan Haack's essay "Science, Scientism, and Anti-Science in the Age of Preposterism" which was published in the Skeptical Inquirer back in 1997 ( http://www.csicop.org/si/9711/preposterism.html ) sheds some light on the academic culture that encouraged the JHP to publish Bailey's book. Her thesis is basically that as the academic community adopts business values, it starts to judge scholarship by how well it sells rather than how well it answers questions. I think the following quote pretty much exactly describes how TMWWBQ got published": - E.B.
"It used to be an important role of the academic presses to publish significant books too specialized to be economic. Increasingly, however, as subsidies from their universities have shrunk, university presses seek to publish books they believe will make money. This too is discouraging, to put it mildly, to the investment of effort in difficult problems. Better, from the point of view of making oneself heard, to write the kind of book that might interest a trade publisher, or at least the kind of book that will get reviewed in the non-academic press. And this too, inevitably, favors the simple, startling idea, even, or perhaps especially, the startlingly false or impressively obscure idea. . . . " - Susan Haack
-- - more on this - - - TBD - - -
We have been investigating the National Academies' role in the production, publishing and marketing of the Bailey book for some time now. Following is the picture that is developing regarding their role, based on triangulations from evidence uncovered so far:
- - - first some background on the Academies' organization and traditional role in our society (to be described) - - - a not for profit institution that was meant to serve the national interest by providing - - -
However, during the mid-to-late 90's and onward, the Academies, like the universities and the larger research community, appear to have increasingly succumbed to the disease of commercialization - - - as evidenced in the emphasis on and lure of commercialization among the staff who lead various National Research Council (NRC) activities under the Academies' supervision - - - the career rewards of prestige and power for NRC staffers who bring in money by any means possible - - - Thus many NRC staffs have become just another set of DC "beltway bandits", constantly out grubbing for money to do "studies". Only the presence of honorable Academy members on the boards that oversee the activity of the staffs in various areas can insure that the studies done are well-needed and sound ones, and this isn't always what happens - - -
Clearly the NAP and JHP are operating under the same ethos of "commercialization" as does the NRC. However, they are not under the outside scrutiny of Academy members as are the various NRC staffs. The NAP/JHP are merely staffs that run the book publishing arm of the Academies, and as such act as an independent publishing house, with only their past culture and traditions to guide them.
In the spirit of commercialization that has swept the research community, the Academy brought in a new Director at NAP who has no background in science and who places the entire emphasis of NAP on marketing, market surveys and web-oriented publicity . The staff under this woman must have clearly realized that a prurient sex book about "transsexuals" if cloaked in the robes of science would sell fabulously, especially one that was well designed to generate and "sell into" a controversy in the evolutionary psychology tradition. They pushed the production, titling, cover and advance publicity in that direction. They then had an amoral careerist young publicist insensitively fan the flames of controversy about the book in order to stimulate sales when it came out. All during the production and marketing of this book, they were getting "friendly assistance" from the right-wing homophobe John Derbyshire, himself a recent NAP author and friend of Bailey's, who worked with Bailey and NAP/JHP staff to promote the book in conservative circles, and thus to further fan the flames of controversy.
We are also now documenting in detail how the Academies' leadership failed to respond at all to the cries for help from transwomen when the book first came out. My earliest alerts on this controversy went to Bruce Alberts, senior President of the Academies. Bruce never replied to any of my urgent e-mails, nor to any of the heartfelt e-mails and letters sent to him from all around the world urging him to investigate what was going on.
Instead, Bruce turned to a gay male neurobiologist named Simon LeVay (who has absolutely no background in transsexualism, and is not a member of HBIGDA) and asked him if the book was sound science on transsexualism. LeVay had done some obscure brain research at the Salk Institute, more neurophysiology--i.e., physiological stuff--than psychology understood as studying human behavior. His one study on gay men was on that small portion of the brain--and that was not his previous area of research either. Then he promptly quit brain research.
For the past decade he has been a writer of trade books on homosexuality, as well as books on such diverse topics as earthquakes and volcanoes, extraterrestrial life, and Parkinson's disease, and has not been involved in scientific research at all. However, LeVay is lionized in Bailey's book as a famous scientist. As an academic pundit on homosexuality, LeVay has no background whatsoever in transsexualism. He is even more clueless about it than is Bailey. Nevertheless, Bruce Alberts relied on LeVay's word that Bailey's book was "superb science" on transsexualism.
There are also several "evolutionary psychologists" who strongly support Bailey for politico-gender-ideological reasons, and we are exploring whether those psychologists (Pinker, Buss, et al) as a group may have also gone to Bruce and said "this book is great" in order to protect it once the controversy broke out.
LeVay, Pinker and Buss had all acted as the Academies "reviewers" and "vetters" of Bailey's book from the National Academy Press' standpoint - and their kudos for the book are all over its jacket-sheet. As supporters right from the outset, they have a conflict of interest when later asked the question "is this good science" as if they were independent scientific experts. We are now investigating why they so heavily supported and promoted this book, what their politico-ideological careerist motivations were for doing so, and why the Academy leadership sought the opinions of these obviously biased people to confirm the book's "scientific merit".
We've already determined that, like the author, none of the other scientists supporting the book are members of HBIGDA or know anything about transsexualism. All these people are totally outside the professional and scientific community that is knowledgeable about transsexualism. Instead they are interlopers who are exploiting the notoriety of transsexualism to enhance their visibility, especially through ideological posturing, thus potentially furthering their academic careers and selling more of their books.
Meanwhile the Academy leadership, apparantly lulled by LeVay, Pinker and Buss into a whitewashing of all the trans women's complaints that flooded in, let the NAP/JHP run totally amuck by continuing to outrageously promote this book in prurient terms in their publicity, deliberately and amorally exploiting the controversy surrounding the book to sell more books.
It's almost as if, once the NAP folks didn't get any action from the senior leadership, went "aha - now let's really stick it to em! (i.e., to all those "transsexuals" who had complained about the book). In the process, the Academies have been complicit in generating what amounts to a campaign of "Science as Hate Speech" in the propaganda war against trans women now underway by the right wing in this country.
Our investigations of the Academies' role in this Bailey affair are continuing. We will update our reports over time regarding the various roles played by various people at the Academies and on the outside who are responsible for this mess occurring. Here are some current snapshots of what the evidence shows about the specific roles folks played so far:
Bruce Alberts, Pres. of NAS, is the senior Academies' President and the responsible executive there. Amazingly, as of this date, Bruce Alberts is actually denying any Academy responsibility, treating publications of the John Henry Press as if it were just another book publisher that had nothing to do with the Academies, and saying that the Academies are not responsible for the contents of any of those books.
However, that just isn't going to work. The National Academy Press imprint is all over Bailey's book. It is under the signature lines of everyone associated with the book. It is all over all the publicity about the book! Bruce Alberts, this really is happening in YOUR institution on and on YOUR watch. You are going to be held responsible by history as being the executive in charge when this happened.
Harvey Fineberg, the President of the IOM,also received large numbers of heartfelt complaints from trans women all over the world. So where does IOM stand on this mess? Out to lunch? Clueless? Sure looks like it. Theres' been not a peep out of the IOM so far.
Bill Colglazier is the Executive Officer (chief operating officer) of the Academies. He runs the Academies on a day to day basis while the Presidents preside. Bill and his staff must be the folks handling this mess - they are experts in doing damage control for various Academy messes - all you have to do is look at Suzanne Woolsey's patronizing whitewash letter to trans women who'd written the Academies) to get an idea of how Colglazier's shop operates. Woolsey is Chief Communications Officer of the National Academies (i.e., she is their PR person). She is the person who wrote the "whitewash letter" that was (i) intended to silence the trans complainers and (i) to assure Bruce Alberts that the Academies had no responsibility in the affair.
Then there is the National Academy Press staff who got the Academies into all this trouble to begin with. At the top is Barbara Kline Pope, Director of the National Academy Press, a person with no science publishing background but who is an avid marketeer who is pushed new methods for joint webpublishing and webpromotion of trade books .Stephen Mautner is Executive Editor of the National Academies Press, which includes Joseph Henry Press. Mautner is responsible for reviewing and publishing Bailey's book. (In summer 2003, Mautner sent out an open letter in a vague and faint apology for NAP having deliberately caused this controversy ). Robin Pinnel is the National Academy Press publicist who in the meantime is generating the defamatory and imflammatory official Academy announcements regarding Bailey's book . And all the while this was going on, the book is featured up front in the Academy Press Bookstore in D.C., being the first title you see propped up on a table when you go in the door.
So, the National Academy Press staff, well aware of the controversy welling up among transsexual women about this defamatory book, made vague and appeasing apologies through Mautner. At the same time, they accepted no responsibility whatsoever, continued to hype the book by sensationalist publicity releases, worked with Bailey and others to hype the book and to deliberately fan the flames of the controversy, and featured it and its cover right at the entrance to their book store (where a trans women saw it on a trip to the Academies for a job interview!). As you can imagine, trans women everywhere see these actions as a deliberate defamation and stigmatization of transsexual women for commercial purposes by the National Academies.
Then there is J. Michael Bailey himself , his publicist B. Devereux Barker IV , and last but not least is the intensely homophobic National Review columnist John Derbyshire . All of these characters are involved in orchestrating the heavy promotion of Bailey's book in concert with the NAP/JHP insiders who are promoting the book. We suspect that there is a strong inside link to extreme right-wing circles, but have not yet identified who that person is. They may be one of the above Academy of NAP people, or perhaps someone else on the NAP staff who does not appear to be directly connected with the book but who is in a position to heavily influence and modulate Academy and NAP insider responses to this controversy.
As a member of the National Academy of Engineering, I am sickened by witnessing close-up the incredibly sloppy behavior of institutions I once held in great esteem. Their greedy commercialism, their careerism and their total lack of effective management oversight has reduced them to caricatures of the elite institutions they once seemed to be. These institutions are now terrorizing a gender minority by publicly stigmatizing them, and are then exploiting the resulting controversy as a marketing tool - and are doing this in order to make a few extra bucks in their book sales.
Why on earth did the National Academies publish this junk science and then promote it so heavily? The answer is simple: Sex sells, and like so many other institutions in our country in the 1990's, the National Academies have traded in their honorable traditions in the search for the almighty dollar.
Would YOU want to live in a society where a previously unknown university psychology professor could be empowered by the most elite scientific institutions in the country to tell people who you are? To tell people what you are? To tell people that if you disagree with their conclusions and deny any of those representations as being correct, then that you are lying about your past? And furthermore, to tell people that psychologists can know what you are thinking and what you do in your private life - and if you deny their descriptions of what you are thinking and doing, then you can be publicly accused of lying?
This is the dilemma now faced by transsexual women in the U.S.
Bailey has been empowered by the National Academies to teach the public that transsexual women are actually gay men. And if they are not that, then they are male fetishists. One or the other, take your choice. And he has invented a twelve question test to help the public play guessing games as to which type any of us our - practically turning it into a parlor game in his lectures to have students guess the types of any transsexuals they have ever heard about.
And if we deny the validity of this classification scheme, and say that they conflict with the reality of the diverse stories of tens of thousands of trans women, then we are all accused by Bailey of fabricating our stories (since they conflict with his classification scheme).
And he even goes further, and tells people he knows exactly what we are thinking and what our primary life motivations and actions are: He reduces the "homosexual transsexuals" to those whose drive is to have sex with as many men as possible, and he reduces the "autogynephilic transsexuals" to those whose entire lives are devoted to fetishistic masturbation - and of course both types are not women, but are still men - according to the classification scheme. And if we say no - those terribly stigmatizing caricatures of us are not even remotely correct - he simply says we are lying.
Would YOU like to live in a world where psychologists had this power to tell people who YOU are and what you think and what you do? A world in which if you ever came forward to deny those accusations, you would further be accused of being a pathological lier?
This is all very reminiscent of McCarthyism, isn't it. Think about it. Transsexual women are the one last "target" that the mean-spirited men in our society have left to go after. They cannot attack African-Americans, Jews, or gays with impunity as they used to. Those are large powerful groups that will fight back if stuff like this were tried on them these days. But postop transsexual women only number at around 30,000 to 40,000, and the larger number of transgender women is perhaps only a few hundred thousand to a few million in number. And we are almost all very stealthy about our status, much as escaped slaves passing for white were back in the days of the underground railroad.
Therefore, we make perfect victims as a stigmatized minority for the mean-spirited and the bullies out there to attack. And Bailey and the National Academies have produced just the ammunition those people need to justify their attacks on us.
So again I ask: Think about how you'd feel if the psychologists came out against whatever it is that you do and against who you are. And think about how you would feel if the most elite scientific institutions in the U.S. actively supported those psychologists having that power over you.
How can we help to make more visible the "gendered identies"of trans people, and make their numbers and diversity more obvious? If we can do this, we can easily demonstrate the obvious limitations Bailey's overview of transsexualism - and also avoid the recurrence of similar naive theories having limited data horizons.
I think the key is education: The BMP > GPP paradigm shift regarding GID trans women is now propagating widely in the gay community.Then beyond that we need to show the much greater range and diversity of trans people's life experiences than those shown in his book, especially the post transition life experiences.
What we need to do is we need to educate the academic leadership in this country, and especially the academic psychology community, about how out of contact they are with not only the concept of GID transsexualism, but also the entire transgender phenomenon. We need to drive this educational effort very widely and deeply into not just the psychology community, but into academe as a whole. They should not turn only to "nons" for information about us. They need to overcome their own fears of being around us and talking to us, and let us speak for ourselves. Let us talk, instead of just following the caricatures of us by sexologists, psychologists and psychiatrists who are not one of us, and who have no clue about how we feel inside.
In past years, those sexologists, psychologists and psychiatrists got away with censoring us, keeping us invisible while they openly speculated about us. Did J.M.Bailey ever look at Andrea James' TS RoadMap website - which is the bible of MtF transition, so as to discover the vast wealth of information and wisdome contained there about MtF gender transitions? Did he ever look at my TS Information pages, and learn about the wealth of information there? Did he ever look at the TS Women's Successes and Successful TransMens pages, and tell people how amazed he was with all the stories of successful trans people there? No. He did not. He's never made visible the websites of any of us who conflict with his theories. Scores if not hundreds of successful trans women have over the past years implored him to hear our stories, because we do not find ourselves covered by his theories. We are living counter-evidence to his book. But all those years we just heard of him saying to his colleagues again and again "transsexuals always lie".
It is hardly fair for J. Michael Bailey to now complain that we are censoring him. We are not censoring Bailey. We welcome open debate, and one of our biggest complaints is that he and his sexologist colleagues have been censoring us for decades, by not allowing our counter-evidence to their shallow-minded speculations to be placed on the "scientific evidence table".
However, this time we will be heard. We hope that people will think about the many questions we are raising about Bailey's book, his methods, and his sensationalization of transsexualism. Take those concerns and questions to his lectures and book signings, and to faculty member in psychology departments around the country. And don't let Bailey off the hook - insist on getting direct answers to your questions.
This is not about censorship of Bailey. His book has already been published by the National Academy! It's there for all to see! This is about trans women finally having an opportunity to show our evidence, to show that world that we do exist, and that we are not what J. Michael Bailey says we are in his sensationalist sex book. For more information about the growing file of evidence and reports on this case, be sure to follow Andrea James' B-B-L clearinghouse.
Getting beyond "labels", and thinking of gender feelings, gendered behaviors and gender trajectories instead:
Those of us who are really familiar with the "gender community"
have witnessed that there are many variations and combinations
of gender conditions, across a wide continuum of possibilities.
These are major realities that deeply affect the lives of very
largennumbers of people, many of whom are in close human love
relationships. Unfortunately, we don't yet have an adequate vocabulary
for talking about the very wide range of transgender phenomena
(of which transsexualism is only one), and most people are left
to their own devices when struggling to cope with gender confusions
or transgender identities in their lives and their love relationships.
The tendency of psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians and gender counselors to "label" us as "transvestites", "transgendered", "transsexual" (and by Bailey as either type-1 or type-2 transexuals instead of GID transsexuals) often greatly obscures what is going on in any given case. Gender variant people themselves often get trapped into confusions and arguments about these labels. Counselors and their clients often dwell endlessly on questions such as "is this person (or am I) a transvestite, or really a transsexual". Or, "is this person a DQ or a TG or a TS?" And on and on it goes, often with an overlay of judgementalism, paternalism and condescension, with some conditions being "more acceptable" than others, or vice-versa, depending who you talk to!
These difficulties with "labels" remind me of an insightful observation made by Edwin Armstrong, a great early 20th century research engineer who made many major inventions underlying modern communications technology:
Wouldn't it be better to ask questions, rather than try to answer meaningless questions with and about ill-defined labels? Labels give the illusion of standing for something real, but when you probe deeper, they sort of evaporate! We are what we do, what we feel, how we behave, and what trajectory we follow. We are always a "work in progress", just as all other human beings are. We cannot be defined once and for all by simply having a label pinned on us.
What really counts is what you are feeling inside. What is your body and heart telling you that you need to do? What behaviors have you actually been producing? What experiences have you actually had? What gender trajectory seems to make sense for you? What physical and social changes can you, and should you make in order to find a more natural and comfortable physical/social place in life. Can you make those changes and follow that trajectory and gain this better and more natural life - and without sacrificing too much, in employment, family relations, and expectations for finding a love partner in your later life? Those are the questions that transitioners and their caregivers should be asking themselves - and not "what stigmatizing label should we put on this human being who is suffering so much already?".
Keeping the discussion "ABOVE THE BELT":
How to see a silver lining emerging here:
This may be a good time for the psychology community, the academic community, and more of the public at large to get "transgender" on its radar screen. We need to help them get this education and move through the paradigm shift regarding visualizing what gender identity dysphoria and transsexualism are all about, just as the gay community went through it the past few years.
Psychology departments in the U.S. need to be asked if they know anything about trans people, or do they just let some sexologists tell them who we are. On the recommendation of group of prominent psychologists who aren't familiar with trans people, the book is being marketed into psych undergraduate courses.
Psychologists should be told to read our writings, and not just the "scientific papers" of the sexologists. We are experts on who we are, what we do and why we do it. Academe should listen to us and treat our stories and knowledge with respect as authentic data, before launching off and publishing speculations about us as scientific fact without even bothering to get to know any of us.
For trans women, this is a good time to teach folks about us. Please use my webpages, and those of other TG/TS people, to go do some teaching. Go show this website to contacts in psychology and biology departments. Tell them about this controversy. Ask them to read Bailey, and "Mom", and this page and the pages it links to. And then they can make up their own minds where they seem to be finding illuminating information about GID transsexualism, and where they are not. To help folks get started in learning more about transsexualism, and about some successful transwomen and trasmen who are open about their stories, point folks to:
This is a golden opportunity for trans people from all walks of life to help us teach the world about who we are. Please feel free to use the materials in my website , and materials from the sites of Andrea James, Becky Allison, PFC and NTAC, and scores of others, and go do some educating!
Science, medicine and academe have kept us invisible the past 40 years, and have had incredible power over us for decades. It's now time for folks to hear the "other side to the story" - our side. It is our turn to be the educators.
Please insist that people, especially academics, read our works before dismissing our views. Insist that they compare our works with Bailey's book. Have them ask Bailey some of the hard questions we are compiling and listing. Then ask them which sources provided the most credible information about transsexualism, our writings, or Bailey's. Insist that they do this. Please help us in this educational struggle. Our opportunities in life and quality of life for many decades ahead may depend on the outcome.