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"Lost in the Male": review by John Derbyshire
Below is an excerpt from a glowing review of J. Michael Baileys The Man Who Would Be Queen, penned by professional homophobe John Derbyshire for the conservative magazine National Review on June 30, 2003 (pp. 51-52).
Like most positive reviewers of Bailey, Derbyshire is a member of the Human Biodiversity Institute, a conservative-run eugenics thinktank.
LINK: Who is John Derbyshire? by Lynn Conway
LINK: Full text and commentary by Lynn Conway
See my comments following the excerpt.
Mr. Derbyshires positive review (as with Dan
Seligman in Forbes) shows why this book will be embraced by conservatives
as part of the new calculated compassion movement in the face of
significant and unstoppable GLBT political advances in the last 30 years. Seems
they hope to slow things down at least.
As expected, uber-conservative Mr. Derbyshire loves Bailey. In discussing the
first two sections, he brings up Baileys cloacal extrophy story, his woefully
uninformed homosexual voice thinking and clueless conjectures on
why certain jobs in the gender ghettoes go to gay men.
Then he gets to the part on transsexuals, which he sums up perfectly. Mr. Derbyshire cuts through Baileys attempts to obfuscate his bigotry and exposes the book for what it is.
One thing I like about the National Review crowd is that they are smart and have senses of humor. I got several chuckles among their eyeroll-inducing cluelessness as I read their site to find how this review came about. It came about the same way as Bailey's Amazon shill reviews, it turns out. A little logrolling.
Both boys are recently published by National
The Derb is well-known for anti-gay commentary, and he's taking us to task for being those "'transgender' extremists," miserable ingrates who just aren't satisfied with the crumbs from the table.
There's also this gem (interesting in light of my business partner Calpernia's boyfriend Barry, who was gay-bashed on base for months before he was literally beaten to death with a baseball bat):
And last, before we get to the review, an anecdote about his wacky adventures with Bailey (emphasis mine):
I promised I'd stop being so catty, but I gotta say it... rounding a corner at a book expo and seeing these two side by side doesn't bear thinking about.
More fun with The Derb
From his blog work on the National Review's The Corner. Links in text added by me.
November 16, 2003
CULTURE WARS: REPORT FROM DERB BUNKER [John Derbyshire]
Following the "Derbophobe" link at the end of today's column, a number
of readers have e-mailed in to ask what on earth I have done to tick off this
Conway person so very comprehensively.
It's a long story but here is the gist of it.
There is a professor of psychology at Northwestern
University, Michael Bailey. Michael's
research specialty is the psychology of "gender identity." He studies--in
a formal, peer-reviewed academic sense--things like homosexuality, transsexualism,
and so on. Earlier this year he published a book about his research, titled
The Man Who Would Be Queen.
I am slightly acquainted with Michael and his work--we are both members of a
certain invitation-only e-list dealing
with matters of human variation from biological, psychological and sociological
perspectives. I therefore volunteered to review his book for National Review.
My review duly appeared in the June 30 issue of NRODT this year. Here it is.
Now, the last part of Michael's book deals with male transsexuals--men who
wish to become women. In it, he subscribes to the theory (which did not originate
with him) that there are two quite distinct types of male transsexual. The first
type is pretty straightforward, just a particularly effeminate kind of homosexual,
who wants to be a woman in order to attract male sex partners--heterosexual
ones for preference. The second type, however, is much stranger. This is the
"autogynephile"--a masculine, basically heterosexual man, whose erotic
attention is fixated on the image of himself as a woman. In the studies Michael
(and others) have done, this type appears quite distinct from the other. Autogynephiles,
for example, are likely to have been married to normal women and to have fathered
children by them. They differ from the other type--the "homosexual transsexual"--in
all sorts of other ways, too, that show up clearly in life histories and psychological
Now, this is all psychological theory. It may be wrong--though on the evidence
Michael presents, in his book and elsewhere, it seems to this non-specialist
that he has a pretty good case. This theory, however, is pure poison to those
autogynephiles who, like Lynn Conway, have hadsex-reassignment surgery. They
take very strong exception to the implication that they are fundamentally males--and
heterosexual males at that! WE ARE WOMEN! They scream. FULLY FEMININE WOMEN!
To say that they take strong exception to Michael's work is, in fact, to understate
the situation. They are spitting furious with Bailey, and have launched a huge
campaign against him and anyone associated with him.
The scale of their campaign is tremendous. Anyone who ever shook hands with
Michael Bailey is being tracked down and "exposed" via materials like
those I linked to. This campaign is very well financed and has pulled in some
big guns--the Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, is carrying out a "hate
crimes" investigation. Our publisher
has been lobbied ferociously to withdraw Michael's book (Michael's
publicist, who is also mine, has been a target of their campaign) and Northwestern
has also been threatened with various kinds of action if they do not shut Michael's
What's this got to do with me? Well, I gave Michael's book a friendly review,
see, so I must be part of the Axis of Evil. In fact, these lunatics have erected
a huge conspiracy theory about myself and Michael, based on the fact that, wait
for it, we have the same publisher!!!
It follows, you see, that Michael and I meet secretly in a basement somewhere
every Friday to plot further insults and outrages against these autogynephiles.
I'm not kidding. This stuff is bizarre.
In fact, other than belonging to the same e-list, Michael and I are not acquainted.
I have met him just once: his book came out at the same time as mine, and our
publisher sent us both to BookExpo in Los Angeles this summer, along with all
their other authors whose books had just appeared. Michael does not, in fact,
altogether approve of me. He is--as his book clearly shows--sympathetic to people
with "gender identity" problems, and regards me as a primitive homophobe.
A great many other facts on Lynn Conway's website are wrong, too. I have never,
for example, written a book about yachting, and I have never heard of half the
people she names as being part of the great Bailey-Derbyshire conspiracy to
present autogynephiles as essentially male.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Lynn Conway is nuts. She and her pals have
money, though, and energy, and a big cheering section in the "gay rights"
crowd, so I shall probably end up in jail for some kind of "hate crime"
before they are through with me.
OK, it's all a bit of a storm in a teacup. It does illustrate, though, the
savagery of the "gender issues" and "gay rights" campaigners.
These people are pure totalitarians, intent on shutting up and destroying anyone
who goes against their party line--even someone as generally sympathetic as
Bailey. They are absolutely unscrupulous, very well funded, and have powerful
friends in Congress and the judiciary--it is they who are driving this new "hate
As an opinion journalist, I am fair game, and I can take care of myself. Michael,
though, is a scientist, a "retired and uncourtly scholar," quite unused
to this kind of vituperation and misrepresentation. His work ought to be validated,
or disproved, via the usual processes of discussion and peer review.
Lynn Conway and her gang couldn't care less about any of that. Like the rest
of the "gay rights" and "gender issues" crowd, they want
to shut down all discussion and debate. Fundamentally they are extreme narcissists,
who react with blind unreasoning fury when their precious self-esteem is pricked.
They don't want peer review; they don't want science; they don't want discussion;
they want blood. This is real culture war here, and if we lose it, we shall
lose our freedoms.
Posted at 02:43 PM
November 17, 2003
TRANSSEXUALS VS. BAILEY-DERB AXIS OF EVIL [John Derbyshire]
Many readers have expressed great interest in the flap ove Michael Bailey's
book, which I sketched out in a long Corner post yesterday. Michael Bailey himself
has set up a site to give his account of the affair. You can, by the way, read
Michael's book free on the web--there is a link somewhere in that site.
Posted at 11:02 AM
TRANSSEXUALS VS. DERB [John Derbyshire]
A reader (one of several expressing the same sentiment): "Why do you play
along with this person's [i.e. Lynn Conway's, the male-to-female transsexual
who put up that 'Derbophobe' web site] pathology by calling him a "she"?
As a woman, I can tell you one thing for sure: He is not a woman, just a poor,
In my opinion, this is not an easy call. You can make a polemical point--and,
if the offending theory is true, be technically correct--by referring to Lynn
Conway as "he." I think my own preference for "she" just
derives from a strong, old-fashioned attachment to good manners.
Now, you could argue that, given the vituperation heaped on my head by Lynn
Conway, she has forfeited any right to good manners on my part. I just don't
agree. If she considers herself a woman, and has gone to all the pain and expense
of having an operation to make her feel more like a woman, I think common courtesy
dictates that we call her what she wishes to be called, however deluded we may
think she is. To start referring to her as "he" just seems a bit spiteful
and nyah-nyah-ish, even if technically correct. Perhaps I'm not making a good
case here; perhaps I'm not sure about this; but that is kind of the point. When
in doubt, stick with good manners.
This is related, in some way I can't be bothered to figure out, to the question
of whether to pronounce your enemy's name properly. I used to work with a woman
who was perfectly detestable--everyone detested her, she was a sneak and a suck-up,
incompetent and lazy, but highly skilled at ingratiating herself with management.
Her name was "Diane," which in England is pronounced "die-AN."
Well, she had this big thing about how she wanted everyone to say "DEE-an."
Naturally we all referred to her as "die-AN." Now, twenty years on,
with the sage maturity of my years, I think I would have said "DEE-an,"
while working very hard indeed to get her fired.
[By the way, "Derbyshire" is pronounced "DAH-bi-shuh."
That's "DAH-bi-shuh"--everybody got that?]
Derbyshire has been reading the work of his eugenicist friends like J. Michael Bailey: