Scientists in Psychology challenge J. Michael Bailey and "The Man who would be Queen: The Science of Gender Bending and Transsexualism"


by Lynn Conway

March 8, 2004




J. Michael Bailey ranted for 30 minutes at the IASR conference about the controversy he's in. He said that if you had the audacity to disagree with his science, you must be siding with identity radicals, instead of the "latest science on transsexualism." He's not the only one who rants about how his side is made up of objective scientists, while claiming that our side is radical extremists. Anne Lawrence equated Bailey to Copernicus in her open letter to LLF (no extreme claim there). What nonsense. Since when is it an extremist belief to care about how you are stereotyped and abused by researchers. We are going to stand up against their hateful defamations no matter how much they try to couch it as objective science.


Prominent scientists Bancroft and Coleman and widely respected clinician Ettner previously joined us in criticizing Bailey:


Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence, LeVay and Zucker have a lot of power, so psychologists are cautious about standing up to them. Some have still responded. John Bancroft, director of The Kinsey Institute and a respected sexologist, said at the IASR 2003 conference, "Michael, I would caution you against calling this book 'science' because I have read it...and I can tell you it is NOT science." Randi Ettner, a psychologist and respected author of "Gender Loving Care: A Guide to Counseling Gender-Variant Clients", told the Chicago Reader that Bailey's book has "had a crushing effect on the transgender community and the research on transgender issues." She says that autogynephilia is "such an oversimplification." Eli Coleman, outgoing president of HBIGDA and respected sexologist, said of Bailey's book in his keynote address at HBIGDA 2003, "We need to challenge bad science."



And now: Wyndzen publishes a definitive scientific critique of Bailey's and Blanchard's "Science of Transsexualism":


Madeline Wyndzen, Ph.D., a psychologist who happens to be a transsexual woman, has followed-up further on Coleman's challenge. She has written a definitive scientific critique, carefully crafted within current psychological terminology and paradigms, of J. Michael Bailey's claim that transsexuals are obsessive liars. She previously wrote a definitive scientific critique of Ray Blanchard's theory of Autogynephilia and about how calling transsexuals mentally ill with the label "Gender Identity Disorder" distorts psychological research. In the process, she reveals incredibly deep flaws in Blanchard's work and also in Bailey's crude oversimplification and overextension of that work.


Wyndzen's work is the epitome of "speaking softly and carrying a big stick." She doesn't need to rant about how her work is science or compare herself to Copernicus. It's obvious how thoughtful she is about science. Check it out: In page after page, she shows flaw after flaw in the supposedly scientific thinking of J. Michael Bailey and Ray Blanchard.


In particular, Wyndzen shows how Bailey's and Blanchard's case is built upon a foundation of two of Blanchard's old research papers, one from 1985 and one from 1986. She shreds those old papers, including even showing where Blanchard's own data support what transsexuals say instead of what he says! If you know somebody who is buying into Bailey's and Blanchard's claim that we oppose science, then send them to Wyndzen's essays.


If Madeline Wyndzen makes any errors, it is by being too nice. She defends Anne Lawrence and Ray Blanchard as good-intentioned people, even though they are unwavering and extreme in their support of J. Michael Bailey. She never mentions that Bailey is accused of sleeping with a counseling patient, fabricating part of his book, or deceiving and abusing his research participants by publishing case-history information without notice or permission. And she doesn't talk at all about Bailey's attempt to find eugenics solutions to the "evolutionary paradox" of homosexuality.


Instead Wyndzen gives Bailey the benefit of the doubt by guessing he only got caught up in being a university Rush Limbaugh and the next Dr. Laura. It is obvious that Madeline herself feels hurt by Bailey's stereotypes of us, and yet she asks us to forgive him. Her idealism and open heart are touching, especially in a world that treats transsexual women so unfairly.  However, she is ultimately wrong to forgive those who defame us and work against us without FIRST getting THEM to apologize to us. Nevertheless, despite her sensitivity, Wyndzen's arguments carry the full force of science. Bailey keeps on saying that his side is science and our side is politics. Wyndzen shows that our side is countering Bailey with well-reasoned political criticism AND good science, whilst Bailey's side is into political oppression and sloppy science.




This page is part of Lynn Conway's
"Investigative report into the publication of
J. Michael Bailey's book on transsexualism
by the National Academies"