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J. Michael Bailey
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|Spectra and binaries|
John Michael Bailey (born 1957) is a professor of psychology at Northwestern University. He is best known for writing the pop science book The Man Who Would Be Queen in 2003, promoting Ray Blanchard's taxonomy of male-to-female transsexualism. He was also the subject of a controversy in 2011 after he allowed a guest speaker to penetrate a naked woman with a mechanical sex toy in front of his class, for which the university cancelled his human sexuality course.
The Man Who Would Be Queen
Bailey's magnum opus is divided into three sections, the first of which deals with gender dysphoria in children and the second of which discusses effeminacy in cross-dressers and homosexual men. The third section details Bailey's conclusions about male-to-female transsexual individuals, and generated a great deal of controversy.
Though he later distanced himself from Bailey's scientific certainty, Ray Blanchard sees his 1980s-era studies of male-to-female transsexuals reiterated in the book. Specifically, Bailey asserts that there are two types of natal males who seek sex reassignment:
- Extremely effeminate individuals, who are really very gay men who transition for the purpose of being more sexually appealing to men; and
- Older, less effeminate autogynephiles, who transition because they have an overpowering fetish for having a female body.
Needless to say, the LGBT community roundly condemned the book, and several other professors complained that Bailey's work was unscientific, defamatory and dangerous to the social progress of the trans community. Several of Bailey's research subjects filed complaints of misconduct, and an investigation took place that did not find anything so egregious that the university felt compelled to remove him from his post.
The ferocity and extent of the criticism caused Bailey and his defenders to cry persecution and that academic freedom was at risk, despite the fact that no censorship was ever attempted and the book was published by a major academic press. In defense of his writing, Bailey cited the fact that he was an ally of the LGBT community in an elaborate friend argument. However, a small number of people, especially Andrea James but also Lynn Conway, Deidre McCloskey, and a few others, unambiguously went way too far and engaged in outright harassment of both Bailey and anyone who they believed (whether or not it was actually true) had some positive association with him at any point in the past. James' response was to create a page on her website with sexually explicit captions on photos of his school-aged children, as if they had anything to do with it. These captions literally employed the same descriptions he used in his book for gender-nonconforming children, such as "cock-starved exhibitionist", in order to demonstrate their utterly offensive and dehumanizing nature and reflect them back to him. In turn, as James points out, colleague and ally Alice Dreger, in publishing a book with the title Galileo's Middle Finger, resorted to the tired old Galileo gambit to defend Bailey, even though he does not suffer any noticeable academic repercussions, and despite troubling open questions, especially about the Danny Ryan case.
- Bailey's website at Northwestern University
- Alice Dreger’s disingenuous campaign against transgender activism — a summary of the Dreger and Bailey kerfuffle