January 22, 2004:
Deirdre McCloskey puts J. Michael Bailey on notice:
One more "remote diagnosis" of the "mental illness" of autogynephilia
without ever even having met her, and she will sue him for libel



Chicago, IL 60605
January 22, 2004
Professor J. Michael Bailey
Department of Psychology
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
Dear Professor Bailey:
I've been meaning for some time to reiterate something I wrote in my
letter to the Reader in response to the story there some weeks ago about
the controversy (I think you and I, both, have a legitimate complaint
against the photo editor, btw!).
I want to give you fair notice that I regard a diagnosis-in-absentia of
"autogynephilia" as slander/libel, and will bring suit against you the
next time I detect you employing it with reference to me in any public
forum. I have as you know objections of a technical as well as of a
political sort to the notion (none of which, I'm sorry to say, you have
troubled to confront); but that is not the point here. The point is
that you have claimed in your own usage that "autogynephiles" are in
various ways sick; you claim to be able to diagnose the sickness at a
glance, or at a distance; and therefore in claiming that I "show signs"
of the sickness you are pinning me with a damaging label. You clearly
intend it to be damaging---for example, you claim that people so
diagnosed are unreliable reporters of their own experience, in plain
language, liars; and, worse, that they are in sickness to be compared
with pedophiles. That your colleagues in sex science as a whole regard
the "diagnosis" of anyone having the "sickness" as false or
scientifically meaningless only makes your application of it to me
personally all the more objectionable. The people in whose presence you
slander me cannot be expected to know the details of sexology, or of
scientific standing in this matter. They assume it is a real diagnosis
and that you are not being reckless in making it.
I have no wish to spring this on you unaware, or entrap you in some
way. You have got yourself into quite enough trouble without any help
from me, and I have no wish to add to your sorrows. I am willing in
charity to overlook the two previous occasions (to my present knowledge)
on which you have applied in public the term to me. Perhaps you did not
then understand that your speech was libel. I seek in this letter
relief from future misbehavior, which you can give without us going to
law. You are of course entitled to your scientific opinions, and as far
as I am concerned may advocate a theory I regard as scientifically
mistaken and politically obnoxious in any forum you choose: unlike you,
I assert no right to decide scientific question unilaterally. But I do
have a right under American law to an unsullied reputation, and if after
this notice I find you again referring to me as "autogynephilic" you
will have shown your reckless disregard for the truth (since you cannot
seriously claim in a court of law that you can diagnosis people without
meeting them; and I believe that under Illinois law you are not in any
event licensed to practice psychology) and your intent to damage me, and
can expect to hear from my lawyer.
Deirdre McCloskey
cc. Michael J. Dudek, Attorney at Law



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"