Dehumanization as "science"

This review originally appeared in the Investigation by Lynn Conway

People like Bailey may feel as if they are helping, but it's the kind of "help" we don't need in our community. He's like a condescending 19th-century National Geographic writer reporting on "savages." He is like Shelby Lee Adams taking portraits of only the poorest Appalachian families and showing them out of context in New York galleries. These depictions only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes about extremely misunderstood groups of people, often by focusing on the most egregious examples which support the prevailing worldview, no matter how non-representative they are of the demographic as a whole.
 
When a condition is as sexualized as transsexualism is, the most troubling stereotypes we have to overcome in order to stem the violence and discrimination we face are stereotypes involving our motivations for transition. People like Bailey only serve to validate the stereotype that we are simply promiscuous "gay men" who want to fool straight men into having sex with us. I wish I could convey how utterly inaccurate this assumption is. It negates the identity and desires of the majority of transsexual women I know, not to mention that this theory does not even translate to transsexual men.
 
There is an enormous silent majority of transsexual men and women who live happily and quietly by necessity, for fear of ostracism, or being fired without recourse, or having their marriages declared invalid, or being beaten and murdered by bigots.
 
People like Bailey are not coming to this from a compassionate place. Bailey's hero Blanchard told a dear friend that she was "just a swishy little faggot" when she presented to him for treatment at age 18. After leaving Blanchard's offices dejected and demoralized, she was later able to transition with help from legitimate therapists and now is an engineer getting a Ph.D. in medical imaging at one of the most prestigious research facilities in the world.
 
There is a reason Blanchard's Clarke Institute is called "Jurassic Clarke" in our community. These people are very dangerous, to be perfectly frank. They are quite possibly the greatest hindrance we face to making progress toward acceptance in this country and the western world. Similar people at Johns Hopkins managed to set back our progress as a community by about 20 years, and I'll be damned if scum like Bailey are going to get away with that again while I'm drawing a breath.
 
This isn't some academic exercise for us. This is about gaining equal rights under the law. This is about not having to choose between college or uninsured "experimental" medical expenses. This is about being seen as productive members of society who make positive daily contributions in every trade and profession. This is about being accepted as human beings. Bailey and others actively seek to efface the experiences and existence of anyone who does not fit their prurient stereotypes. Since he feels entitled to opine on my motivations, let me ascribe motivation to Bailey: his is the ugliest kind of bigotry, dressed up in academic robes.