Template:POV The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender Bending and Transsexualism is a 2003 book by J. Michael Bailey, published by Joseph Henry Press.[1] In it, Bailey reviews evidence that male homosexuality is congenital and a result of heredity and prenatal environment. He also reviews evidence for the theory that there are two forms of transsexualism, one that is an extreme type of homosexuality and one that is an expression of a paraphilia known as autogynephilia.

The book aroused considerable controversy, and led to a formal investigation by Northwestern University, where Bailey was Chair of the Psychology Department until shortly before the conclusion of the investigation. Northwestern University has stated that his departure from the department chairmanship was not linked to the investigation.[2] Bailey insists that he did nothing wrong and that the criticism of him was motivated by the desire to suppress discussion of the book's ideas about transsexualism, especially autogynephilia.[3]


The book is divided into three sections: The Boy Who Would Be Princess, The Man He Might Become, and Women Who Once Were Boys.

The book starts with an anecdote about a child Bailey calls "Danny." Bailey writes of Danny's mother, who has been frustrated by other therapists she has seen about her son's "feminine" behavior: "In spring of 1996 Leslie Ryan came to my Northwestern University office to seek yet another opinion."[4] Bailey discusses psychologist and sexologist Kenneth Zucker's work with boys who have a psychological condition called gender identity disorder (GID). Bailey uses the anecdote about Danny to discuss young boys considered to have GID. This term is used to describe patients who exhibit a large amount of salient gender-atypical behavior such as cross-dressing, boys preferring to play with dolls, identification with female characters in stories or movies. This section also discusses some case studies of men who were, for varying reasons, reassigned to the female sex shortly after their birth, and emphasizes the fact that, despite this, they tended to exhibit typically male characteristics and often a desire to identify as a male.

The second section deals primarily with gay men, including a suggested link between childhood GID and male homosexuality later in life. In particular, he discusses whether homosexuality is a congenitally or possibly even genetically related phenomenon. This includes references to his studies as well as those of neuroscientist Simon LeVay and geneticist Dean Hamer. He also discusses the behavior of gay men and its typically masculine and feminine qualities.

In the third section, Bailey summarized a taxonomy of male-to-female transsexualism that was proposed by Ray Blanchard. According to Blanchard, there are two types of male-to-female transsexualism: one is an extreme form of male homosexuality, and the other is motivated by an erotic interest in being female.[5][6][7] Bailey also discusses the process by which transition from male to female occurs.

On the last page of the book, Bailey meets "Danny," who no longer has gender identity disorder.


See also: Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory and Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory controversy

Largely because of a single chapter[8] in its third section, the book and its author have been surrounded by controversy. The major point of contention is Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory, which is presented favorably. This theory categorizes transsexuals into one of two types labeled "autogynephilic transsexuals" and "homosexual transsexuals." The basic idea is that these two subtypes of transwomen transition to female for different reasons, both related to sex:

  • because they are attracted to the image of their own feminized body (autogynephiles), or
  • because they are homosexual and attracted to heterosexual men (homosexual transsexuals).

Bailey's prominent critics and defenders both include peers in sexology. Bailey's response was a lecture at the 2003 International Academy of Sex Research titled "Identity politics as a hindrance to scientific truth."[9] Eli Coleman, head of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association has described the book as "bad science" and an "unfortunate setback" of his own theories on transsexualism.[citation needed] Clinician Walter Bockting wrote that "the book fails to offer a balanced and well-cited review of the scientific literature," although this omission is common in books intended for a non-technical audience (Bockting 2005).[citation needed] On the book's jacket, in contrast, Anne Lawrence, praised the book as "wonderful," and neuroscientist Simon LeVay called it "absolutely splendid."

Some GLBT rights groups have spoken out about Bailey's claims in various publications, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GenderPAC, as well as three prominent transwomen:

  • computer scientist Lynn Conway compared Bailey's work to Nazi propaganda and consulted with four individuals who later complained to Northwestern University about research impropriety by Bailey. Conway wrote in her own letter to Northwestern that Bailey grossly violated principles of research conduct "by conducting intimate research observations on human subjects without telling them that they were objects of the study." Two subjects noted were not involved in the book and the two others were aware, by their own letters of complaint, that their experiences would be used for publication.[10]
  • Anjelica Kieltyka, to whom Bailey refers in his book by the pseudonym Cher[citation needed]
  • writer and consumer activist Andrea James. James' website includes numerous pages attacking Bailey, his book, his family, his friends, and his professional associates. One of these pages, which has now been removed, included pictures of Bailey's young children and placed offensive sexual messages beneath them.[11] James published an apology for her behavior,[12] but Bailey's children say that she did not apologize to them.[13]

Originally, the Lambda Literary Foundation nominated the book as a finalist in the transgender award category for 2003. Transpeople immediately protested the nomination and gathered thousands of petition signatures in just a few days. Under pressure from the petition, LLF's judges examined the book more closely, decided that it was transphobic, and removed it from their list of finalists.[14]

Many of Bailey's critics not only attacked his book, but also questioned his integrity. Two of the transwomen in his book and several organizations accused him of several ethical breaches in his work. Bailey has denied that he behaved unethically.[3] In 2003, the federal DHHS issued a clarification which formally states that taking oral histories, interviewing people (as if for a piece of journalism), and collecting anecdotes does not constitute IRB-qualified research.

A male-to-female transsexual sex worker who was interviewed for his book said that Bailey had sex with her while she was his research subject.[3][15] This became the subject of a sexual misconduct complaint. She has refused to offer details or discuss the accusation, which Bailey has denied.[16] According to findings by Dr. Dreger, reported in The New York Times, the sexual misconduct allegation came 5 years after the fact and was unsupported by evidence. Dated e-mail exchanges between Bailey and his ex-wife demonstrate that Bailey was at the home of his ex-wife looking after their children at the time specified by the accusation.[10]

Academic freedom

The controversy surrounding Bailey's book has been cited as an example of infringement of academic and intellectual freedom and freedom of speech: Northwestern University ethicist Alice Dreger wrote a "history" of the controversy.[13] According to the New York Times, she later said, "What happened to Bailey is important, because the harassment was so extraordinarily bad and because it could happen to any researcher in the field. If we’re going to have research at all, then we’re going to have people saying unpopular things, and if this is what happens to them, then we’ve got problems not only for science but free expression itself... The bottom line is that they tried to ruin this guy, and they almost succeeded."[10] Bailey called the two years following its publication "the hardest of my life."[10] Alternatives to Dreger's view are also presented in 23 commentaries in the same issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior.[17]


  1. Bailey, J. Michael (2003). The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism. Joesph Henry Press, ISBN 978-0309084185
  2. Davis, Andrew (December 8, 2004). Northwestern Sex Researcher Investigated, Results Unknown. WindyCity Times. “Bailey resigned as chairman of the university’s psychology department in October, Alan K. Cubbage, a Northwestern spokesman, told the Chronicle. Cubbage added that the change had nothing to do with the investigation. Bailey remains a full professor at the university.”
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Academic McCarthyism. Retrieved on 2008-07-27. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "McCarthyism" defined multiple times with different content
  4. Bailey, p. [16 The Man Who Would be Queen]. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
  5. Blanchard, R., Clemmensen, L. J., & Steiner, B. W. (1987). Heterosexual and homosexual gender dysphoria. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 16, 139–152.
  6. Blanchard, R. (1989). The concept of autogynephilia and the typology of male gender dysphoria. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 177, 616–623.
  7. Blanchard, R. (1989). The classification and labelling of nonhomosexual gender dysphorias. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 18, 315–334.
  8. Autogynephilia, J. Michael Bailey
  9. Bailey, J. Michael (2003). Identity Politics as a Hindrance to Scientific Truth (pdf). Int. Acad. Sex Research. Retrieved on 2007-03-16.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege," by Benedict Carrey. New York Times, August 21, 2007 [1]
  11. Bailey, J. Michael. Andrea James took pictures of my children off of my website (pdf). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.
  12. James, Andrea. A Note Regarding Bailey's Children. Retrieved on 2008-16-07.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dreger, A. D. (2008). The controversy surrounding The Man Who Would Be Queen: A case history of the politics of science, identity, and sex in the Internet age. Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol 37, 366-421.
  14. Letellier, Patrick (2004-03-16). Group rescinds honor for disputed book. Retrieved on 2007-03-16.
  15. Formal complaint about J. Michael Bailey's sexual exploitation of a research subject, and of Northwestern University's apparant declination to investigate this misconduct. 'Investigative report into the publication of J. Michael Bailey's book on transsexualism by the National Academies'. Lynn Conway (2003-12-11). Retrieved on 2008-08-16.
  16. "Northwestern U. Psychologist Accused of Having Sex With Research Subject." The Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 December 2003
  17. Archives of Sexual Behavior, volume 37, special section: commentaries on "controversial paper", pp. 422–510.

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