Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 2:43 PM
Subject: Bailey


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August 23, 2007  

This is a response to the recent posting by Thomas Whetstone: I am a therapist who specializes in transgender issues, and also a WPATH member. I appreciated your comments on the Bailey book and agree, for the most part. However, while being aware that I am not an academic, but based on my understanding of research methods and standards, I do not see how Bailey's book qualifies as research, even by the most flexible definition of the term. Perhaps that is what you were trying to say in a more diplomatic way, as had Bailey submitted his work for peer review and journal publication as you suggested, I suspect that it would not have been accepted for publication unless he he tightened it up considerably or stayed completely within his small circle of sympathetic colleagues. I do not think it would have happened on the merits of the work alone, as reflected in his book, because it appeared to be based more on empirical observations and biased conclusions than it was on clear standards of research methods and objective discussion of the findings. He made many unfounded statements that were presented as facts. Not only did I find his premise and many of this comments and conclusions to be questionable or outright erroneous and offensive to transgender people, but also to therapist colleagues, in that he essentially stated that any therapists who did not agree with him had been duped by transgender people, who are generally manipulative in their efforts to accomplish their ends and naive therapists (meaning anyone who did not concur with his premises) had been taken in by them. While you made valid points in saying that the approach of some of his critics went beyond being critical of his work to attacking him personally, I think it should not be overlooked that by making the kinds of assertions he made, negating and invalidating the opinions of any colleague who disagreed with him, he too engaged in this kind of approach, and did so before others reciprocated in kind. On that basis, I found many of his comments and assertions to have gone beyond offensive to being unprofessional. Perhaps because of the intensity of the negative reaction to his book, these important points seem to have been overlooked. It appears to me that he was deliberately goading the opposing camp and trying to instigate the storm that followed. This is a storm that has been brewing for a long time, partly in response to assertions that were made by some of Bailey's colleagues about autogynephilia, a topic which has remained controversial. If his aim was to make a name for himself, however notorious, then he has certainly accomplished it.

-- Sandra L. Samons, Ph.D., L.M.S.W.  Email: