Why Bailey's Book is Offensive

by Kelly Novak (written June 2003)

J. Michael Bailey, the author of The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism, has received a lot of criticism for his book, which relates Blanchard's two types of transsexuals. He writes:

"Although the critics have produced a litany of alleged sins, their main complaint is something that I actually do write, and believe….The idea that nonhomosexual transsexuals are motivated by autogynephilia is the main sore spot for the transsexual critics of my book." [1]

However, this criticism will have nothing to do with his and Blanchard's two types. Instead, I will show that even ignoring this, his book is nonetheless very insulting to transsexual women, full of stereotypes, and hardly a scientific piece of work.

I will refer to his two types merely as Type A women and Type B women.

His book is insulting

The title, "The Man…" is insulting for male-to-female transsexuals ("transsexual women") because they are women. Calling a transsexual woman a man is the nastiest insult that one can give her. "…Queen…" That is probably the second worst insult. "Queens" are male performers who dress like women for show. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but one does not use the term for a transsexual woman unless to insult her. "…Science…" It is Pseudoscience [2].

The cover, showing masculine legs in heels suggests that transsexual women are "men in dresses," because this picture clearly shows cross-dressing with no success at looking like a woman, but a man in women's shoes. To suggest that transsexual women do not look like women is horrible. True, inside the book, Bailey states that Type A women are feminine and attractive (And Type B women are not), but you do not know that from the cover. It is insulting. From the same URL as above, Bailey states:

"Both the title and the cover art refer to male femininity, in a humorous fashion." [1]

Transsexual women are not male, nor should they be objects of laughter.

He refers to Type A women (who like men) as "homosexual transsexuals." Women who are attracted to men are heterosexual, not homosexual. He could at lease follow his colleagues who use the term "androphilic" for attraction to guys.

He describes Type B women as "erotically obsessed" (p. 146).

He calls a transsexual woman a "transsexual man." Again, here is the greatest insult to a transsexual woman and I'm sure that he knows that. His offensive choice of words was deliberate.

He relates, in detail, some past sexual behavior of "Cher." I will not repeat these here, but those were very private actions. How could he print them for all to read? "Cher" is a real live person with feelings and emotions, not an object for mockery. Transsexuals or any other people do not deserve such treatment. Further, he describes her as "strikingly masculine" (p. 147). That is a horrible thing to say! The pictures that I have seen of her show a very good-looking and feminine woman.

In Chapter 8, he seems to stress that Type B women lie and are deceitful. I very much dislike this provocative accusation. According to my experience with women whom he would likely label as Type B, they tend to be very honest and open. The fact is that what they say about their condition does not match Bailey's expectations, so he accuses them of lying.

I wonder why transsexuals might lie to him but not to me?

On page 190, we see:

"Juanita knows only one transsexual who has been with a man for more than a year, and that transsexual’s boyfriend pimps for her.

"All the [Type A women] I have talked to say that they wish they could find a man they could tell and who would love them anyway, but they all worry that such a man does not exist."

His selected test subjects are hardly representative of transsexual women. I know of many transsexual women who have long-term husbands. This is very insulting to suggest that these women are unwanted and unlovable creatures who cannot have a steady boyfriend unless she is pimped.

Stereotypes abound

In the Preface, he meets a "feminine" man named Edwin. He states, starting on page ix:

"Knowing his occupation and observing him briefly and superficially were sufficient, together, for me to guess confidently about aspects of Edwin’s life that he never mentioned. I know what he was like as a boy. I know what kind of person he is sexually attracted to. I know what kinds of activities interest him and what kinds do not."

Oh, don't bother asking people who they are—just assume it. He continues:

"I do not ask Edwin about his childhood because I do not need to. I already know that Edwin played with dolls and loathed football, that his best friends were girls. I know that he was often teased by other boys, who called him 'sissy.'…Although I didn’t ask him, I know that Edwin likes to have sex with men….He is near the boundary of male and female, and someday he may cross it. If he does, one primary motive will be lust."

Really?! He just meets the man and he just "knows" that his whole life fits his stereotypes.

On page 96, he perpetuates the idea that males cannot be bisexual--“You’re either gay, straight, or lying.” But he writes of women differently:

"In contrast, many women are bisexual; perhaps most are, at least in their sexual arousal patterns."

Most women are bi but no males are?! He continues:

"The motivation to seek erotic stimuli, such as strippers or pornography, and the tendency to be sexually aroused by erotica depicting one sex or the other (but not both) are characteristic of male sexuality."

On page 100, we have:

"Gay men will always have many more sex partners than straight people do."

Always?! This is not just a stereotype, it is meant to be an absolute. But I know a homosexual male who is, due to being humiliated because of being gay, celibate. His heterosexual siblings are fairly busy with having sex partners. This seems to contradict Bailey's edict about gay promiscuity. How can we resolve this conundrum? Easily—Bailey's statement is wrong.

On page 142, he writes:

"Most of us do not personally know a transsexual, although many of us have had the experience of wondering if a particular woman we have seen is actually a man, and most of us who have been to even a few gay bars have seen one."

Excuse me? He is implying (and attempting to create a stereotype?) that transsexual women hang out in gay bars?! This is preposterous, and it goes against my observations. However, since he says so, many readers of his book will believe it.

He continues:

"There are also transsexuals who work as waitresses, hairdressers, receptionists, strippers, and prostitutes, as well as in many other occupations…"

These choices of occupations were deliberate and biased, especially strippers and prostitutes. He could have chosen "doctors, professors, scientists, artists, engineers,…"

On page 178, we have:

"Cher’s frequent allusions to sports and automobiles are sufficient to indicate that she is not a homosexual transsexual."

This stereotype just can't be right. There are plenty of women in sports, including professional and international competition teams. Assuming that women are lesbian (remember, Bailey uses homosexual meaning Type A or androphilic; we call such women "heterosexual") because they like sports is just not acceptable.

On page 184 he writes:

"Most homosexual transsexuals have also learned how to live on the streets. At one time or another many of them have resorted to shoplifting or prostitution or both."

This also belongs in the "His book is insulting" and the "The book is hardly scientific" sections. I have seen no data to support such an accusation and Bailey supplies no proof.

The book is hardly scientific

First, he mentions Blanchard's theories, but does not debate them with other theories. How can we believe that his theories are correct without discussing the pros and cons of these and other theories, especially since the theories that he presents are so controversial?

Secondly, his choice of subjects is far from scientific. He has in the past recruited subjects for study by using advertisements. But, perhaps to prove his point, selected study subjects for this book from a places where you may least expect to find typical transsexuals—in gay bars in a part of Chicago where transsexual women tend to avoid. [3]

He could have looked for a broad selection of regular transsexual women. There are many, see:

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TSsuccesses/TSsuccesses.html

"There are approximately 30,000 to 40,000 postoperative transsexual women in the United States, and many thousands more are now in the process of gender transition here."

The site above also has links to many successful post-operative women who would be more suitable for such to a study. His choice of prostitutes and "drag queens" from gay bars was deliberate. Was this meant as a slur or does he spend so much time in gay bars that he has little time for actual research?

Beginning on page 120, he writes:

"LeVay…found that INAH-3 was larger in straight men than in straight women. The finding that put him on Oprah, though, was that gay men’s INAH-3s looked like those of straight women rather than straight men’s."

This is interesting, and well worth sharing. Thank you. Bailey does write that this was given criticism, especially by Byne. But, Byne finally agreed:

"…he [Byne] has repeated LeVay’s study. His results were similar to those of LeVay, although the difference between straight and gay men was not quite as large."

I have two problems here.

1. Please see these results from Byne:

http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/students/SHUMAKE/psy308/Byne.pdf

I quote:

"The number of neurons in INAH3 from homosexual males did not differ from heterosexual males…

"The present study provides further evidence that INAH3 occupies a larger volume (Allen et al., 1989; LeVay, 1991) and contains more neurons (Byne et al., 2000) in presumed heterosexual men than women. The primary sexually dimorphic cellular characteristic of INAH3, neuronal number, did not vary as a function of sexual orientation."

This does not sound like much of an agreement. And regarding the sizes, please see Table 1 for the volumes of the INAH-3 regions. The homosexual males had sizes more similar to the HIV+ heterosexual male than the HIV+ females (there were no HIV- homosexual males) [4].

2. Why introduce the INAH-3 region when the BSTc region is more appropriate, since it shows that the region is dimorphic to gender identity alone (and not with sex, sexual orientation, or hormones) [5]. Is this because these studies show that transsexualism relates to gender identity?

On p. 184, he writes:

"Prostitution is the single most common occupation that homosexual transsexuals in our study admitted to. About half of them have worked as prostitutes at some point."

If your pool of subjects come from an area populated by prostitutes, then that is the reason why your subjects are mainly prostitutes. This should not imply that transsexuals tend to be prostitutes. This is not science but very poor Pseudoscience.

Another fine example of Pseudoscience can be seen on page 183:

"Alma has also noticed, as I have, the large number of Latina transsexuals. In Chicago, there are several bars that cater to Latina transsexuals. About 60 percent of the homosexual transsexuals and drag queens we studied were Latina or black."

Really, the reason why there was a high number of Latina's in the study is that Latina bars were used for the recruiting. Non-transsexual Hispanic people should take this as a racial slur.

On page 142, he writes, "Fewer than 1 in 20,000 persons is transsexual." He does not cite a source. That is not science—it is an opinion. Here is a source:

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html

"The result is a rough lower bound on postop prevalence, which we find to be about 1:2500. In other words, at least one or more in every 2500 adult males in the U.S. has had SRS and become a postop woman. The prevalence of untreated intense MtF transsexualism must be many times that number, and is perhaps on the order of 1:500."

Lower IQ?! On pp. 178-179, he writes, "Zucker found several predictors of adolescent GID: lower IQ…" He blames this one on Zucker, but does not give a citation, so it is opinion, and could go under the "His book is insulting" section. Here is a source on the IQ's of adolescent transsexuals:
http://www.antijen.org/cohen.html

"The group's pretreatment mean IQ score was 106 (SD = 14; range 71 to 127)."

Average IQ is defined as 100, so 106 is not "lower IQ."

Other valid points

He avoids the central issue of Gender Identity Disorder—gender identity (self-identification of oneself as male or female) [6]. This is what transsexuality is all about. Yet he has no clue about gender identity. On p. 50, he is told what gender identity is:

"One expert told me, bluntly: 'Gender identity is defined as "the inner sense of oneself as male or female." What the hell does that mean?'"

Lastly, why is it that when a transsexual reads Brown and Rounsley's True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism--For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals [7], they generally think, "That's me!," but when they read The Man Who Would Be Queen [8], they generally think, "That's NOT me!"?

I could go on and on, but the point is made. Even if we ignore the controversial, unpopular, and disliked theories about transsexualism discussed in the book, Bailey still insults transsexuals. Also, the book is not worthy of being referred to as "Science."

With love,
Kelly Novak, MS kelly@kelly-novak.com

Notes:

1. http://www.psych.nwu.edu/psych/people/faculty/bailey/controversy.htm

2. A good definition of Pseudoscience that fits this book can be found in http://skepdic.com/pseudosc.html : "Some pseudoscientific theories are supported mainly by selective use of anecdotes, intuition, and examples of confirming instances."

3. From http://www.tsroadmap.com: "This is an area most stealth TS women I know deliberately avoid."

4. LeVay did find both a sexual and sexual orientation dimorphism in the volume of the INAH-3 region. See:

http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/nature-nurture/levay.html

He found that females had volumes that were 47% of the hetero males and gay males had volumes that were 43% of the hetero males. Very striking! However, Byne found no sexual orientation dimorphism in the number of neurons—the most important indicator. For HIV+ volumes, these were not spectacular—women had volumes that averaged 62% of the hetero males, and the gay males had volumes that were 89% of the hetero males.
This does not very well agree with the sexual orientation dimorphism seen by LeVay, and is not worth discussing. However, the BSTc studies, which were reproducible, did show a distinct dimorphism due to gender orientation only, and has profound significance in understanding self-assigned gender roles. Bailey's choice of the INAH-3 region over the BSTc region was highly biased.

5. These results can be seen here:

http://www.symposion.com/ijt/ijtc0106.htm

and here:

http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/85/5/2034

The latter states, "Regardless of sexual orientation, men had almost twice as many somatostatin neurons as women (P < 0.006). The number of neurons in the BSTc of male-to-female transsexuals was similar to that of the females (P = 0.83). In contrast, the neuron number of a female-to-male transsexual was found to be in the male range. Hormone treatment or sex hormone level variations in adulthood did not seem to have influenced BSTc neuron numbers. The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions and point to a neurobiological basis of gender identity disorder."

6. From http://www.gires.org.uk/Web_Page_Assets/Etiology_definition_signed.htm : "Gender Identity Disorder is defined as an incongruence between the physical phenotype and the gender identity, that is, the self identification as male or female." This page is signed by 22 experts in the field.

7. The book can be obtained here:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/ref=dp_sr_00/103-7283626-6219035

Or, just go to http://www.amazon.com/ and search for "True Selves." If you are transsexual, you will likely cry with deep emotions when you see how well much of this relates to your entire life. I recommend letting non-TS people read this book so that they can understand what transsexuals go through and why they need to transition.

8. But don't buy the Queen book! If you really wish to read it, you can do so for free here:

http://books.nap.edu/books/0309084180/html/