Ted Barlow's report -
An insight into what J. Michael Bailey is teaching his students:
Our investigation has located a report on the web by Ted Barlow, a former Northwestern undergraduate student of Bailey's who did a senior thesis about transsexualism with him (unpublished).
This student's overview of his thesis is an excellent one: It is well-written, articulate and thorough. Thus it clearly reveals exactly what Bailey taught him and other undergraduate psychology students. As you will see, this student got Bailey's message clearly and as an undergraduate "researcher" he dutifully repeats back to his professor what he has been taught. He ends his report with the line:
" - - - In the end, we found that transsexuals, the most feminine men on Earth,
had scores that were indistinguishable from straight or gay men.
We couldn't support the thesis that transsexuals are women in men's bodies."
Please read this student's report about his thesis, and try to visualize the nature of the "field research" on which this conclusion is based (a visit to a gay drag bar, and handing out some questionnaires to "transsexuals"). Try to visualize how Bailey kept the blinders on this kid by taking him to gay bars so as to introduce him to "what transsexualism was all about". And of course Bailey had already taught the student in classroom lectures how to "classify transsexuals" even before they began visiting such bars.
This report provides insights into what Bailey was up to when he took his students and research assistants to those bars. He was indoctrinating them into a point of view about "classic", early-onset transsexualism: suggesting that its onset was only from within an active gay lifestyle, and that it was connected in deep ways with drag queen culture and active gay sex. The report also indicates how Bailey visualized all the trans girls he was meeting in those bars back then - he was thinking of them as homosexual men.
However, many, many cases of early-onset androphilic transsexualism (trans girls who transition early in life and who like men) do NOT arise from within an active gay lifestyle and life in the gay club scene. And the onsetof GID in most cases occurs long before sexual maturation and the onset of sexual activity. Of course, Bailey's students are never made aware of these facts.
Please read Ted Barlow's overview of his thesis. It is perhaps one of the best available summaries of Bailey's viewpoint about transsexualism.


A few things that I learned studying transsexuals

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My senior thesis was about gay male-to-female transsexuals (that is, biological males who live as females and are sexually attracted to men.) My professor was an evolutionary psychologist who studied homosexuality. He had done a large study about the mating strategy of gay vs. straight males vs. gay vs. straight females. He had found that gay and straight men were indistinguishable- they were both more interested in more numerous, younger, more attractive partners, regardless of their social status. Gay and straight women were more interested in a monogamous relationship with a partner with higher social status. They were less interested in having a younger, physically attractive partner, and were much less interested in pornography than men.
We were curious to see how transsexuals would respond to this study. Transsexuals are the most feminine men in the world. They frequently describe themselves as having a woman’s brain in a man’s body, and often undergo tremendous sacrifices to make their body match their self-image. Before gender-reassignment surgery was possible, transsexuals would occasionally risk death by taking a DIY approach, a la “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” We were interested to see, on this measure of mating strategy, would they react more like men or more like women?
Read on to find out, true believer.
1. The difference between straight and gay transsexuals is a matter of night and day. They’re entirely different species. Straight cross-dressers are most often married men who discover a fetish for women's clothing as adults. Most cross-dress entirely in private, or conceal women's underwear under men's clothing. When they dress up and go out in public, their clothing tend to emulate women like Barbara Bush- conservative dresses, pearls, old-fashioned wigs or hairdos. Straight transsexuals tend to go through a long period of escalating fetishistic cross-dressing. If they take hormones, they tend to start them as full adults, so the hormones aren't as effective as they could be in changing their appearance or voice. They are not likely to fool an onlooker. Straight transsexuals think of themselves as lesbians, and transvestites often have fantasies that they and their wives are lesbians.
Gay cross-dressers or transsexuals are not fetishistic about women's clothing, and would not be likely to wear women's underwear under men's clothing; they wouldn't see the point. Gay transsexuals tend to realize that they feel like women in their teens. They are more likely to start hormone therapy in early adulthood, leading to a much more feminine appearance and voice. They are more likely to wear cocktail dresses and short or slit skirts and act in a flamboyant, even cartoonish version of femininity. (Think RuPaul.)
I don't want to overgeneralize about groups of highly disparate people; there are individuals who confound many of these individual points. But there's no arguing that straight and gay transsexuals have very little to do with each other. They look different, act differently, and dress as women for entirely different reasons.
2. Gay transsexuals are extremely hard to find. The only way that we were able to recruit was by going to gay bars and drag shows and asking individuals directly to participate. We tried ads in the gay press, fliers at electrolysis shops, and attending a meeting of the Chicago Gender Society. We got a fair number of responses, but they were all from straight transvestites and transsexuals. The Chicago Gender Society had exactly one gay member, and he was highly ambivalent about the group.
3. I think that stories about transsexuals picking up unsuspecting straight guys and surprising them when they get home are urban legends. The people that I interviewed honestly answered some very personal questions, and every one of them denied that they would ever do something like that. There was widespread agreement that a stunt like that could get them killed.
3a. I also have to say that gay transsexuals do not exactly lack for partners. A few of the people that I interviewed brought in a fair amount of money as prostitutes. If I had continued on in academia, I would have loved to interview some of the guys who are into transsexuals, because I don't understand them at all.
4. It usually wasn't hard to tell transsexuals from biological women- the illusion was rarely flawless, and biological women don't often wear hyper-sexy dresses to gay bars. Nonetheless, it did happen. When I accidentally asked women in a gay bar if she was a cross-dressed man, I would have thought that they would get very upset. But they never did. Thank you for your understanding, women in gay bars!
5. People often ask if I got hit on a lot when I went to gay bars. The answer is no. In a year of frequent attendance, I never got hit on, not once. Either I'm horribly unattractive to gay guys, or I project a blinding aura of heterosexuality near which gay men fear to tread. I remember going to a Hispanic drag club with a bisexual translator. He was propositioned within 30 seconds. Frankly, I was a little hurt. (In my defense, my mom says I'm handsome, and she has never lied about anything.)
6. Quite a few little boys like to dress up as women as they're growing up. Very, very few of them grow up as transsexuals. (More than a few grow up to be gay men, but you never can tell.)
7. Most transsexuals do not get gender-reassignment surgery. It's extremely expensive and produces genitals that many find highly unsatisfactory. I was surprised to find out that transsexuals who have had the surgery are no longer eligible for competition in drag shows.
8. Small drag shows can actually be a lot of fun, if they have a witty emcee and the performers sing live. But I didn't have any fun at professional cabarets aimed at a straight audience like The Baton in Chicago. The performers are often stunning, but all they do is lip synch.
9. At the same time, there's an element of superficiality in drag competitions that I found somewhat dispiriting. In the end, they're no better or worse than other beauty pageants, but I remember some of the rhetoric about the "accomplishments" of the performers as being way, way over the top. Transsexual triumphalism, if you will.
In the end, we found that transsexuals, the most feminine men on Earth, had scores that were indistinguishable from straight or gay men. We couldn't support the thesis that transsexuals are women in men's bodies."
(edited slightly, as per comments)
- Ted Barlow, 3:00 PM