Kris Kleindienst and J. Michael Bailey

Kris Kleindienst (Owner, Left Bank Books in St. Louis) was on the 2003 selection committee for the Lambda Literary Awards. This committee voted to honor The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey as a finalist for an award in the trans category in February 2004.

On 24 February 2004, the selection committee including Kris Kleindienst voted to retain the nomination of this book over the objections of the trans community and other concerned parties around the world.

In March 2004, the committee reconsidered and withdrew this nomination. In announcing this revocation, Lambda Literary Foundation quoted Kris Kleindienst:

"Removing the book from the list is not censorship. The book is widely available, has been widely reviewed and is not about to be denied to the public. What we are doing is behaving in a responsible manner to make sure the list of finalists is compatible with the Foundation’s mission. Having looked at the book closely, I am sure it is not." Several committee members echoed Kleindienst’s views.

In July 2004, Kris Kleindienst wrote with this addendum:

For the record, the whole Lammy thing was a terrible ordeal, one which took up a month of my time, aside from normal judging duties, in intense engagement with some members of the finalist committee and Jim Marks. I am not paid for this pleasure, in fact I have to pay for the privilege of attending the awards ceremony. (I did not attend this year.) I could have easily chosen not to deal with it, there are no real consequences for simply not responding to an email from the Lambda Literary Foundation. But in fact, I was sickened by the thought that this book could have gotten this far --more by inattention and ignorance than for any malicious reason--I was unaware it was even being considered until the finalists were made public. My FtM partner and I had some very hard conversations about what to do. Hopefully, the final outcome has started a process that is long overdue at the Lammies, one of really putting the T in LGBT.

I will publish any additional comments or responses from Kris Kleindienst regarding this matter as I receive them.

Other resources

Lambda Literary Foundation index page

LINK: Full Lambda Literary Award coverage (by Professor Lynn Conway)