Bioethicist Weighs in on Bailey Controversy

Article excerpt

In 2003, Northwestern University professor J. Michael Bailey wrote The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transexualism, a book aimed at explaining why male-to-female (MTF) transgenders feel compelled to live outside their birth gender.

While most experts believe the reason men switch genders is biological, Bailey argued that some men were playing out erotic fantasies of themselves as women and that's why they made the switch.

The backlash to Bailey's book was swift and largely negative. John Bancroft, who at the time was director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, told the psychologist that his book wasn't "science." A computer scientist at the University of Michigan compared The Man Who Would Be Queen to Nazi propaganda. A transgender activist in Los Angeles set up an anti-Bailey website that included photos of Bailey's children "with sexually explicit captions that she provided," according to the New York Times. One of the transgender women Bailey interviewed claimed he had sex with her.

Now, Alice Dreger, PhD, a bioethicist at Northwestern University, has investigated the myriad claims against Bailey and written an article on the topic that has been accepted for publication by the Archives of Sexual Behavior. …