Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association

The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, Inc. (HBIGDA) is a professional organization devoted to the understanding and gender variance. HBIGDA has approximately 350 members from around the world, in the fields such as psychiatry, endocrinology, surgery, psychology, sexology, counseling, sociology, and law.

HBIGDA provides opportunities for scientific interchange among professionals through its biennial conferences and publications. It develops and publishes Standards of Care for the treatment of gender dysphoria. These internationally accepted guidelines are designed to promote the health and welfare of persons with gender dysphoria.

website: http://www.hbigda.org/

The group is named after endocrinologist Harry Benjamin, a pioneer in treating the trans community.

In 2006, they began implementing a name change to WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health).

Anne Lawrence and Ray Blanchard of the Clarke Institute have been members, though Ray Blanchard resigned on November 4, 2003 to protest the letter below, which they sent out regarding the publication of The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey:

October 20, 2003
 
Lynn Conway
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita
University of Michigan
Member, National Academy of Engineering
 
Deirdre McCloskey, Ph.D.
UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, and English
University of Illinois at Chicago
Tinbergen Professor of Philosophy, Economics, and Art and Cultural Studies,
Erasmus University of Rotterdam
 
Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Biology
Stanford University
 
Barbara P. Nash, Ph. D.
Professor of Geology and Geophysics
University of Utah
 
Joan Roughgarden, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Sciences
Stanford University
 
Re: Concerns about J. Michael Bailey's book "The Man Who Would Be Queen."
 
Dear Drs. Conway, McCloskey, Barres, Nash, and Roughgarden:

Thank you for your letter of July 14, 2003, in which you alert the officers and board of directors of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA) to your concerns about the book entitled 'The Man Who Would Be Queen" authored by J. Michael Bailey, a Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. We recognize the controversy surrounding the publication, and we know it has been drawn to the attention of many of our members.

HBIGDA is a self-regulatory association of professionals who work with transgender and transsexual people, with clear ethical guidelines, which cover all areas of professional and patient/client interaction. The Benjamin Association considers the ethical conduct of researchers, teachers, and practitioners in the field of gender identity of utmost importance. However, Dr. Bailey is not a member of HBIGDA, as such we are not able to undertake an inquiry, as we could not insist on Dr. Bailey's participation or recognition of the process. We can assure you though that the Association's Board of Directors is deeply concerned about the issues raised in your letter and the supporting materials you referenced. The allegations of mistreatment of transsexual women as research subjects are very serious. Therefore, the Board of Directors of HBIGDA finds it appropriate that an investigation into these allegations is being conducted by Northwestern University.

The HBIGDA Board of Directors believes that a relationship of trust and mutual respect between the scientific and the transgender communities is essential to further its mission to promote the health and well-being of transgender and transsexual individuals and their families. It is felt by many of our members that this poorly referenced book does not reflect the social and scientific literature that exists on transsexual people and could damage that essential trust. We hope that the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at Northwestern will consider the ethical issues that are involved and we will be sending them a copy of this letter so that they are aware of our concerns. We are also preparing a separate letter to Northwestern University to express our concerns directly.

While we await the results of Northwestern University's investigation, we encourage everyone affected by this controversy to exercise professionalism and treat the relationship between researchers, practitioners, and the community with great care.
Thank you again for informing us of your concerns.

Sincerely,
Walter J. Meyer III, MD

President, on behalf of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association Officers and Board of Directors

Bean Robinson, Ph.D.
Executive Director

-cc. HBIGDA Officers and Board of Directors: Walter Bockting, Ph.D., George R. Brown, MD, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, Ph.D., Eli Coleman, Ph.D., Randi Ettner, Ph.D., Jamison Green MFA, Sheila Kirk, MD, Stan Monstrey, MD, Connie Christine Wheeler, Ph.D., Stephen Whittle, Ph.D.

-cc. Bradley Moore, Vice President for Research, Office of the Vice President for Research, Northwestern University, Rebecca Crown Center, Room 2-223 633 Clark Street, Evanston, Illinois 60208-1108

-Lewis Smith, MD, Executive Director, Office for the Protection of Research Subjects, Northwestern University, Abbott Hall, 5th floor, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, Room 532, Chicago, IL 60611