Daily Northwestern coverage of J. Michael Bailey

The Daily Northwestern is the student newspaper for Northwestern University. Beginning in 2003, they published several articles as controversy unfolded over publication The Man Who Would Be Queen by psychology professor J. Michael Bailey. Bailey was Chair of the department until shortly before he was secretly disciplined following an internal investigation into his research activities in November 2004.

3 March 2003: Faculty members show off talents at DM fund-raiser (by Sheila Burt)

Hansen said DM [Dance Marathon] hopes to have more faculty performers at future talent shows. For example, if students raise $3,000, [Lane] Fenrich and psychology Prof. Michael Bailey will dress in drag and sing a duet together during DM.

21 April 2003: Prof's book challenges opinions of human sexuality (by Sarah Dreier and Kevin Anderson)

"I think the book is intentionally controversial," Bailey said. "I write about things that matter and that people are uncomfortable with. The cover (as well as the book) is meant to be provocative."

But Bailey said he thinks people in the second group of transsexuals are upset with his findings because they do not like being classified as autogynepheliacs.

"A lot of people think there is something weird about (being an autogynepheliac) and it is a narcissistic blow," Bailey said. "I am very sympathetic to transsexuals. I like these people, except for the people who hate me -- they scare me."

Although the book has offended some members of the gay and transsexual communities, others have been more receptive. At Outwrite Books, an Atlanta-based bookstore and cafÎ catering to gays and lesbians, Bailey said he was well received by an audience of mostly gay men.

2 May 2003: U. of Kansas might lose funding for sexuality class (by Michael Griffin)

"Some people are really hostile about sexual liberty and want to make people stop exploring, almost control people's sexuality," Bailey said.

10 July 2003: Sexuality research funding draws critics (by Jennifer Leopoldt)

A Northwestern Ph.D. candidate will present results of sexual arousal research she conducted with NU Prof. J. Michael Bailey -- which has drawn criticism from the Republican wing of Congress -- when she speaks at a federally-funded sexuality conference next week.

A $147,000 National Institutes of Health grant funded the research, which studied the effect of pornography on females to determine whether sexual arousal is as category specific for women as it is for men.

The arousal study showed that while watching pornography men had a one-sided arousal pattern -- straight men were aroused by clips with women, gay men by those with men. But females in the study, straight or gay, were aroused by both male and female sex acts. The results could be published in "Psychological Science" by 2004, Chivers said.

17 July 2003: Subjects question NU prof's research (by Jennifer Leopoldt)

Two transsexual woman featured in Northwestern psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey's latest book about sexuality have filed complaints with NU, alleging that Bailey did not ask for their consent before using their stories.

Anjelica Kieltyka, who is mentioned in Bailey's "The Man Who Would Be Queen" under the pseudonym "Cher," sent a complaint to NU's Vice President for Research C. Bradley Moore on July 3 asking for a formal investigation of Bailey's research methods. Another woman featured in the book filed a claim July 14 supporting Kieltyka's letter, but an addendum to the claim keeps her name confidential.

Bailey refused to comment, calling the matter "very stressful and private."

24 July 2003: Third complaint filed against sex research (by Jennifer Leopoldt)

Another transsexual woman who met Northwestern Prof. J. Michael Bailey while receiving a clearance letter for sex change surgery has filed a formal complaint with NU, saying Bailey used information from an interview with her without telling her she was a research subject.

But Bailey said he stands by his book.

"I didn't write the book so groups would like or dislike me," he said. "I wrote it so people could learn about stuff."

Bailey said he knew his work would be controversial and assumed some people might speak against his beliefs.

"I was not totally surprised at the reaction," Bailey said. "I was surprised at the degree of hostility and how relentless they've been."

31 July 2003: Transsexuals file 2 more claims against Bailey (by Jennifer Leopoldt)

Complaints filed with NU's Office of Research now total five -- one from a transsexual advocate who brought women to Bailey for letters recommending sex-reassignment surgery, three from anonymous women who received those letters and a joint claim from two transsexual professors in support of the complaints.

Bailey, however, said he has never claimed that transsexual women actually are men.

"I experience them as women as long as that's how they're living," he said July 22.

Another argument of some claimants is that Bailey left out stories that did not match the book's theory of two types of transsexuals. In the latest anonymous complaint, filed July 30, the woman says of herself and another claimant, "Our two 'data points' compromised his results, we did not fit into his scheme and were left out."

Bailey said he stands by his book's accuracy and will not be deterred by opposition.

"I'm concerned with science and truth and not the feelings of groups," Bailey said.

18 November 2003: NU panel to investigate prof's research tactics (by Sheila Burt and Laurel Jorgensen)

In a letter to Kieltyka obtained Monday by The Daily, C. Bradley Moore, vice president of research at NU, wrote that the investigating committee and Daniel Linzer, dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, "recommend proceeding with a full investigation of the allegation that Professor Bailey did not obtain the informed consent of research subjects."

Bailey questioned the basis of the women's allegations in an e-mail to The Daily on Monday.

"The entire issue in dispute is whether what I did was a 'study' and whether the transsexual women I talked to were 'subjects,'" Bailey wrote.

6 January 2004: Bailey accused of having sex with research subejct (by Sheila Burt)

A sexual misconduct complaint against psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey alleges he had sex with one of the transsexual woman featured in his most recent book, according to confidential records received by The Daily on Monday from transsexual advocates.

University officials would not confirm the complaint, and Bailey declined to comment on the allegations.

9 January 2004: Letter: Bailey's research doesn't help already-suffering community (by Rusty Mae Moore '63 )

13 January 2004: Column: Attack on Prof. Bailey puts free speech at risk (by Nadir Hassan)

Bailey -- who has been accused of not obtaining permission from research subjects and engaging in sexual relations with one of his subjects -- has been drawn into a battle over his work and reputation by transgender activists.

But regardless of the outcome, academic freedom is under fire here and precious few have noticed it. Most people are concerned with the allegations against Bailey, but they have ignored the threat these activists are posing to free speech.

Ironically Bailey, who says a "climate of fear and intimidation" has been created by his detractors, has done a lot to bring transgender people into the mainstream. His critics would be better served to offer constructive critiques of his book rather than to try to shut him up.

19 January 2004: Letter: Bailey enjoys his free speech but relies on flawed research (by Jed Bland)

In Nadir Hassan's Tuesday column, he writes of the threat to free speech. But freedom carries a responsibility, and psychology Prof. Michael Bailey -- writing as a professor and claiming his book is about science -- has a responsibility to do it properly.

Constructive critiques of his book have also appeared. Many point out that his biological essentialism only tells part of the story. Others point out that he has taken a small subset of the transsexual population and generalized it to the whole.

My problem is that, even within his self-admitted reductionist framework, his theory is fundamentally flawed.

9 February 2004: University examining Bailey's sex research (by Katie Walton)

In a shift of rhetoric from the university, a top official now has said psychology Prof. Michael Bailey is being investigated by a committee in connection with allegations of research misconduct.University Provost Lawrence Dumas told The Daily late last week that a committee is looking into whether or not Bailey "followed the procedures of this university" and whether those procedures applied to Bailey's work.

Despite the accusations Bailey has continued teaching. "I have done nothing wrong," he wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.

Researchers studying humans are required to obtain a statement of informed consent before submitting their project. Some projects might not require this statement, but researchers must file a request for exemption. Sherman said varying interpretations of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects -- the law regulating human subject research -- add to questions surrounding approval.

The law defines research as "a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." Some question whether Bailey's book fits this definition.

But Mark Sheldon, assistant dean of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a philosophy and medical ethics professor, said subject rights should be vital to the research process.

"Legislation is about protecting research subjects, not about protecting research," he said.

19 February 2004: Office in place to investigate research-rule violations (by Sheila Burt)

Tim Fournier, Northwestern's new associate vice president for research integrity, began his position this week on Northwestern's Chicago Campus. Fournier heads a new office that will look into compliance issues following problems NU had with the federal government and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In a different type of integrity issue, the university is also investigating psychology Prof. Michael Bailey's research methods. Bailey is accused of research misconduct after transsexuals in his most recent book said he failed to receive their informed consent. Bailey said he did nothing wrong.

Fournier said he does not yet know the specific role he will play in these investigations.

25 February 2004: Profs Morson, Bailey discuss existence of human soul (by Sarah Sheridan)

Bailey, psychology department chairman, cited scientific findings to support his position that free will does not exist because human choices are constrained by the evolution of genes and by the environments humans experience.

However, Bailey said quantum mechanics could offer the only plausible explanation against his position.

8 April 2004: Psych prof scrutinized (by Ilene Rosenblum and Sheila Burt)

Two formal complaints filed against Northwestern psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey allege he practiced as a clinical psychologist without a license and published confidential information about transsexual women he interviewed without their permission, according to documents obtained by The Daily this week.

The book follows sex researcher Ray Blanchard's theory that transsexuals are either homosexuals or autogynephilics -- men who are aroused by the idea of themselves as women.

But the book's content does not matter in this case, said Deirdre McCloskey, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor of economics, history, English and communication who also filed a complaint.

"There's a lot of books I don't like, but I wouldn't be writing a letter to (NU's) provost about that," she said.

24 May 2004 Editorial: Cheating spike merits attention

Many NU students cheated before they came here, and many will cheat after they leave. Academic and professional dishonesty is a part of life, especially in the 21st century. But that doesn't mean it comes without consequences -- just look to the New York Times' Jayson Blair or even the accusations against our own psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey.

19 January 2005 With Bailey, it's all about sex ... lies? (by Jerome Curran Pandell)

The Culture War has come crashing onto campus -- and psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey's research is fueling the fire.

A Northwestern committee recently finished an inquiry into claims that Bailey violated federal rules for human research subjects while interviewing transsexuals for his book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism." Officials are tightlipped about the investigation's outcome. Did Bailey do anything wrong? Why do some transsexual activists hate his book?

"They hated the content of the book," Bailey said. "That is the real reason all this happened."

31 January 2005: Embrace it: Provocative views vital (by Henry M. Bowles III)

In agreeing to investigate these allegations about classroom bias or unethical research, university administrations have been either naive or eager to avoid bad press. As the kerfuffle over psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey proves, most of these charges are red herrings for hatred of particular ideas.

3 February 2005: Editorial: Intellectual life under assault

The fracas over Bailey's book, which examines transsexual life, has been raging for more than a year, yet it remains unresolved. At first, critics accused Bailey of violating federal research rules by revealing his subjects' identities without their consent (Bailey contends he never was conducting hard-and-fast scientific research). Now, Bailey must contend with the appalling development that eugenicists have used his book and his other research to declare homosexuality a contagious disease and a source of social decay.

Many of these eugenicists have misused science -- or simply invented it -- to argue, for example, that Al Gore lost the 2000 election because of a "prim" lisp that alienated voters. Yet often what goes unmentioned is that Bailey has called eugenics completely false and even wrote in a 2001 article that homosexuality "is entirely acceptable morally."

23 September 2005: Grad student’s study sparks criticism from bisexuals (by Allison Bond)

The study, published last month in the journal Psychological Science, included 101 men. Psychology doctoral student Gerulf Rieger, who led the study under the supervision of psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey, said the results corroborate the theory that men are either gay or straight — not bisexual.

“There’s a lot of skepticism about the existence of truly bisexual men, and our study, I think, supports that skepticism,” Bailey said. “I have no agenda to question bisexual people. It’s just what our data said.”

Bailey said he wants to conduct follow-up experiments that focus on the psychological, rather than the physical, elements of attraction.

“I’m happy to have the study repeated, and we will probably try to do some modified method of the study,” Bailey said. “We’re trying to now measure sexual arousal in the brain, so we’ll probably do a similar study on the brains of bisexual men someday.”