April 28, 2005:

J. Michael Bailey attempts to defend his writings on homosexual eugenics – to an almost empty auditorium.


A Report by Lynn Conway

May 14, 2005

[updated 5-29-05]




Juanita attends and reports on the event
Bailey speaks to an almost empty auditorium

Greenberg fails to even show up
Bailey taken aback by Juanita's presence

Questions and (?) answers

Bailey refuses to acknowledge Anjelica Kieltyka







Following a formal investigation into his research misconduct against transsexual women, J. Michael Bailey resigned as Chairman of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University.


Since then, Mr. Bailey has been attempting to reestablish himself as a faculty researcher in the area of homosexuality. However, as a result of his now well-known writings on homosexual eugenics [1], Bailey is understandably having great difficulties recruiting gay men as research subjects. This problem apparently threatens to derail his academic research career.


Bailey decided to confront this problem head-on by scheduling an open public explanation and defense of his writings [2], presumably hoping to make his positions on homosexual eugenics acceptable to the gay community.


This defense of Bailey’s self-proclaimed “controversial” positions was widely announced on April 6, 2005 by Gerulf Rieger in an e-mail to Northwestern’s GLBT community. Rieger is Bailey's graduate student, and is a strong supporter of and apologist for Bailey's positions. His announcement included the following words:


I am very proud to announce that my advisor J Michael Bailey and his colleague Aaron Greenberg have kindly agreed to participate in a discussion group on their paper "Parental Selection of Children’s Sexual Orientation". This paper has, besides Mike's book, stirred up some emotions, just as it has in the recent past here on the GLUU list-serve.


You might love or hate this paper or Michael Bailey's research, but in any case I think people should have the opportunity to be correctly informed about both.   That is, I am glad to organize this event because I want to establish a dialog.  Mike and Aaron are reasonable people and they will listen to reason. Thus, I would very much like you all to come and bring your friends, if they are interested. I also encourage you to read the actual paper, which I have attached.


– Gerulf Rieger, Psychology Dept., Northwestern Univ.


The event was then even more widely announced to members of the Chicago gay community by the Windy City Times, as follows:

“Controversial Northwestern University professor Michael Bailey, who resigned as chairman of the school’s psychology department because of research-related misconduct in an experiment involving transsexuals, will defend ( along with colleague Aaron Greenberg ) an article on homosexual eugenics at Swift Hall 107 on the Evanston campus April 28 at 7:30 p.m.”

 – Windy City Times, Local Events, April 20, 2005. [3]


Juanita attends and reports on the event:


Among those attending the event were two trans women: Anjelica Kietlyka and her friend ‘Juanita’ (a pseudonym). Anjelica and Juanita were among the women who had earlier filed formal complaints about Bailey’s research misconduct at Northwestern University.


Bailey had terribly hurt these women by writing up distortions of their private lives in his notorious book on transsexualism, and doing so without their permission.  In direct testimony to the Northwestern committee investigating Bailey, both women asserted that Bailey never got permission to write about them in his book nor had they been informed that they'd been under his study as research subjects. Their complaints and testimony were among the factors that led to Bailey’s resignation as Department Chairman.


Over the past two years Bailey never showed any concern or remorse whatsoever about what he had done to these women – even after being sanctioned by Northwestern for his research misconduct in the matter.  Following his resignation, Bailey even began an effort to rewrite history - remorselessly proclaiming in the media that the women we're liars by saying: "I had these people's permission to write about them" [4]. 


Bailey made those accusations in January 2005, without a shred of evidence to back them up. Perhaps he thought Juanita, Anjelica and others were so intimidated by him that they wouldn't dare challenge his false statements.


Juanita and Anjelica decided to confront their tormentor by driving up to Northwestern and attending his seminar. Juanita reflects that they were extremely nervous about having to face Bailey in public, and says they "almost didn’t go" to the event. However, she felt that even just showing up would "let Bailey know they weren't afraid of him any more”, so off they went. 


Following the event, Juanita and other attendees reported on what transpired there.



Bailey speaks to an almost empty auditorium:


Swift Hall 107 is the auditorium of the Psychology Department at Northwestern. It is one of those tiered lecture rooms that can hold over 100 people. The choice of such a large lecture hall suggests Bailey expected a big crowd to come hear his "controversial” positions on homosexual eugenics.

However, in spite of all the advance publicity in mass e-mailings and in local gay media, only about 20 people showed up. As a result, the lecture hall seemed almost completely empty. 


Of the small number attending, Juanita reports that no less than a third were students from Bailey's courses who obviously already knew him. These included his graduate students Elizabeth Latty and Gerulf Rieger (Rieger had organized the event). Juanita also reports that Bailey's collaborator and close confidant Joan Linsenmeier was present (Linsenmeier is a psychology lecturer at Northwestern).

Thus only about a dozen people in all were in attendance, outside of the small group of Bailey’s students and supporters. This could hardly have been the large audience that Bailey expected.



J. M. Bailey defends writings

on homosexual eugenics

Gerulf Rieger organized

the eugenics defense event

Bailey's collaborator

Joan Linsenmeier

Bailey's graduate student

Elizabeth Latty



Greenberg fails to even show up:


Although billed in advance as being one of the presenters, Aaron S. Greenberg (Bailey’s co-author on the homosexual eugenics paper) was a last-minute no-show. Neither Bailey nor Rieger made any mention of Greenberg’s absence or offered any explanation of why Greenberg failed to appear.


Bailey began the event by giving what Juanita characterizes as a rambling, incoherent talk about his eugenics writings and then took questions in a Q/A session.


As Gary Barlow reported on May 4, 2005 in the Chicago Free Press [5]:


"I think the controversy has mostly been due to misunderstanding of the article," Bailey said, referring to his paper on genetic selection. "Nothing we wrote has any negative implications for gay people."

Stating that he doesn't believe "homosexuality is morally inferior," Bailey said, "My argument here is in no way anti-homosexual but rather pro-parental liberty."

Bailey went on to argue that if it become possible to use genetic selection technology to make it more likely for parents to bear heterosexual offspring, such choices would be "morally neutral."

"To avoid having homosexual children does no harm to anyone," he said. "It is quite hard to see how being heterosexual causes any harm to the child."

Bailey stated that even if parents chose to avoid having gay children for "a bad motive," such as anti-gay prejudice, "Is a bad motive enough to render that action morally wrong?"



Bailey taken aback by Juanita's presence:


Juanita looked directly at Bailey during the entire seminar, and observed that Bailey never once looked back at her.  Bailey clearly knew that she was there, but apparently he could not bring himself to look her in the eye.


As another attendee (who happened to know who Anjelica and Juanita were) reports:


“He was indeed taken aback, I think, by the presence of Angelica and Juanita, and tried mightily to avoid looking at them.”

After listening to what seemed rather illogical and poorly-organized commentary by Bailey, Juanita reports amazement that “she had once taken ‘that idiot’ so seriously” and had “been in such awe of him”.


Juanita attributed her earlier awe as a response to “Bailey's power to write letters of permission for sex change surgery”.  However, here and now in that lecture hall, "Bailey seemed much smaller" to her.


Juanita’s confidence was also given a tremendous boost as she observed how the tables had been turned: She now no longer felt afraid of Bailey, and instead saw that he was afraid to face her!



Questions and (?) answers:


During the question-answer session following Bailey’s presentation, a few students from his class asked non-critical questions and generally supported his ideas.  Other attendees tried to raise more critical questions of morality and ethics, which Bailey did not and apparently could not effectively answer.


One attendee reports:


“The questions seemed generally hostile to him, and he frequently began his answers with assertions that he's not anti-gay, that he really likes gay people, that he wouldn't personally feel bad about having a gay child, etc. As the Q&A period went on, his answers became less and less to the point, usually ending up with his assertion that "parental liberty" takes precedent over other concerns.”

Another attendee reflected on this curious situation as follows:


“The whole focus . . .  revolves around making a "moral" choice about a scientific question. A friend of mine also went who is a psychologist. He commented that it was unusual that a psych professor would be considered an expert on a question of morality.”



Bailey refuses to acknowledge Anjelica Kieltyka:


During the entire Q/A session, Anjelica Kieltyka politely held up her hand, hoping to ask Bailey among other things about his support of Cochran’s "gay-gene gay-germ" theory [6].  However, Bailey refused to acknowledge Anjelica’s presence in the auditorium and never took her question. 

Many in attendance noticed the woman who had her hand up the whole time, and that Bailey was deliberately ignoring her.  Not knowing who she was, the other attendees must have wondered what Bailey was afraid of and why he never took her question.


Of course Bailey knew (as did Latty, Rieger and Linsenmeier) that if he acknowledged Anjelica, he might be openly rebuked for lying to the media by saying he "had these people's permission to write about them." He also might have had to face other difficult and embarrassing questions about his eugenics work that he'd be hard pressed to answer. However, others in the audience wouldn't have known that.


As Gary Barlow reported in the Chicago Free Press:


“When Bailey recognized one audience member for a question, that person asked why Bailey, throughout the question-and-answer period, refused to recognize a woman who had her hand raised throughout the period. . . . Bailey responded that he had to be somewhere else and said he would not be able to take additional questions”.


Bailey then cut the questions short and briskly left the lecture hall, while several attendees went up to Anjelica and asked her why Bailey refused to take her question. That gave Anjelica a chance to tell them about Bailey’s inclusion of her story in his book without her permission, and of his distortions and misrepresentation of her story.


As another attendee reports:


“There was a woman in the audience on whom Prof. Bailey would not call. I was called on, and even though I was willing to defer to her, the professor wouldn't recognize her. At the end, after the professor left several of us gathered around while she explained that she had been a research subject of one of the professor's books. When he showed her an early draft, she asked that he not refer to her in the book, and he did anyway . . .”





The small assembly then dispersed and folks wandered on out of the auditorium. Upon leaving, Juanita and Anjelica noticed a security guard posted outside the hall, suggesting the possibility that Bailey may have feared that the expected large crowd would include "angry gay and transsexual activists”.  


However, nothing of the kind happened. The hoped-for large show of interest in Bailey’s “controversial scientific positions” simply never materialized. Instead, Bailey’s defense of his work in homosexual eugenics was almost totally ignored - and indeed was apparently shunned - as evidenced by widespread non-attendance and non-participation by the Northwestern University and Chicago gay community.


This must have been a great disappointment for Bailey, who for so many years has reveled in being known as "Dr. Sex", the controversial sex scientist, on Northwestern’s campus. It also seems unlikely that this event enhanced Mr. Bailey’s recruitment of gay men as research subjects.






1.  "Parental Selection of Children's Sexual Orientation," Aaron S. Greenberg and Michael J. Bailey, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2001.


2.  "April 6, 2005: Bailey and Greenberg announce a defense of their 2001 article on homosexual eugenics, to be held at Northwestern University on April 28, 2005," A report by Lynn Conway, LynnConway.com, April 15, 2005.

3.  Windy City Times
, Local Events, April 20, 2005.


4.  "With Bailey, it's all about sex ... lies?", Jerome Curran Pandell, Daily Northwestern, January 19, 2005.



6.  "Bailey, Cochran and Sailer on Homosexuality and Eugenics", by Lynn Conway and Anjelica Kieltyka, LynnConway.com, March 5, 2004.



Copyright © 2005, Lynn Conway



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