From: Lynn Conway                                                                                                                  

To: WPATH Board of Directors

Cc: Joelle Ruby Ryan

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:08 PM

Subject: Academic Attack Against Trans Graduate Student by Alice Dreger of Northwestern Univ.  (PDF print version)



Dear members of the WPATH Board of Directors:


I am writing to alert you about an attack by Northwestern University academic Alice Dreger on the career aspirations of a graduate student, Joelle Ruby Ryan, of Bowling Green State University. 


The attack came shortly after Joelle sent out a call for papers (attached) for a panel she's organizing for a women's studies conference. The panel will discuss the defamation of transwomen by academics such as Janice Raymond and J. Michael Bailey:


In response to that call for papers, Dreger sent out mass e-mails to the entire academic women's studies listserv, in which she attempted to discredit the student and suppress her work – the net effect of which was very intimidating to the student:,20,21-07.htm


Joelle considered withdrawing the call for papers, in order to avoid a confrontation with academics Dreger and Bailey and possibly damaging her future career opportunities. However, on reflection she realized that she had to go forward with the panel. She called Dreger's bluff by sending out the following e-mail, which exposed Dreger's attempt to derail her panel discussion:


This was a courageous action by Joelle, who had already demonstrated courage by being the first 'out' transwoman to become a Point Foundation Scholar:


Upon receiving Joelle's alert, trans commentators began writing exposés of Dreger's attack and that news is spreading throughout the trans community, as in the following:


"With "Defenders" Like This...Alice Dreger Destroys Academic Freedom in Order to Save It," by Élise Hendrick -

This is just the latest move by Dreger, Bailey, Lawrence, Blanchard and Zucker in their efforts to squash "the rebellion" of transwomen against CAMH sexological dogma. This kind of arrogant, dogmatic and punitive behavior against “non-believers” by the CAMH and Northwestern clique has been evident for years within SEXNET, IASR, ASB and WPATH. In the past only insiders were witnesses to it all. However, that clique is now doing it "on the outside", and with each new move their actions are becoming ever more histrionic in nature.


Perhaps the time has come for the leaders of WPATH to formulate “Standards of Behavior” for academics and researchers to follow when publicly discussing and interacting with transgender people. Among the very first should be requirements to fully honor the academic freedom and freedom of speech of those transpeople.


Academics and researchers should also be put on notice that just as they’ve been free to “study transgender people”, transgender people are free to “study the academics who study transgender people” and to present the results in professional conferences.




Lynn Conway


Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita
3640 CSE Building

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 

Member, National Academy of Engineering                 
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