Stanford University Prof. Ben Barress, M.D., Ph.D., writes an open letter to Northwestern University's leadership, on 8-01-03:




Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2003 10:12:09 -0700
To: "Henry S. Bienen, President" <>, " Thomas G. Cline, V.P. and General Counsel" <>, "Lawrence B. Dumas, Provost" <>, "C. Bradley Moore, V.P. for Research" <>, "Alan K. Cubbage, V.P. for University Relations" <>
From: "Ben A. Barres" <>
Subject: the welfare of LGBT folks and the Bailey book

Dear Northwestern University leadership,

I sent the below letter to the editor to the Northwestern Daily today about my concerns on the Bailey book recently published by the National Academy Press.

I was stirred to speak out on this subject when I woke up to read in the morning paper today that our president, George W. Bush, has called homosexuals sinners. His father, George H. W. Bush, said that he did not consider atheists to be citizens of our country or patriots.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Ben Barres


To the Editor of the Daily Northwestern:

Dear Sir,

In Jennifer Leopoldt's column of July 31, she reports on the continued controversy about Northwestern Prof. J. Michael Bailey's new book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen", published by the National Academies Press.

Although Ms. Leopoldt focuses on the alleged ethical infractions in the conduct of this research and the "junk science" quality of Prof. Bailey's research, in addition many homosexuals and transsexuals--myself included--perceive Prof. Bailey's writing to be intolerant, hate speech.

The Professor is eager to convict a highly stigmatized minority group of inborn or genetic inferiority in the name of hard science and free speech. Prof. Bailey's "science" wrongly promotes hateful stereotypes about LGBT folks. On the basis of a limited number of highly selected, anecdotal accounts, he writes that homosexuals have a large degree of femininity, and reports that transsexuals are primarily low socioeconomic, sex-focused losers, prostitutes, fetishists, and liars.

Hate speech involves portraying a group of people as less than human. It contributes to a climate where homosexuals and transsexuals are abandoned by their families, forsaken by their coworkers, abused, shunned, and beaten. In his defense Bailey states that "he will not be a slave to sensitivity" and "is more concerned with science and truth than the feelings of groups".

I wonder how the chairman of a psychology department can be so insensitive, and why a respectable university is willing to harbor such dubious research and promote such egregious bigotry?

George Bernard Shaw once said that the worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity. LGBT folks need the support of the Northwestern community. I hope you will let Prof. Bailey know that his brand of junk science and intolerance is not welcome on your campus.

Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Neurobiology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Dept. of Neurobiology
Fairchild Building, Room D235
299 Campus Drive
Stanford, CA 94305-5125



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"