J. Michael Bailey's book, "The Man who would be Queen: The Science of Gender Bending and Transsexualism" has disrupted the lives of transgendered persons and the lives of mental health professionals who work with them. Some psychologists question the truthfulness of their transgendered clients. Some transgendered persons question if the therapists conceal a dismissive cynicism underneath an exterior of unconditional acceptance. It has become acceptable for transgendered persons to dismiss each others feelings as deception. And it has become acceptable for psychological researchers to regard the feelings of transsexuals as merely politics getting in the way of important work.
As a transsexual I find myself both deeply affected by this controversy and in a unique position to interpret it. Bailey's book and the controversy surrounding it. how Bailey interprets Blanchard's mis-directed sex-drive model of transsexuality.
J. Michael Bailey has a history of becoming entangled in controversy. A controversy has arisen among transsexual women who are upset at being portrayed as really men and as inherently mentally ill. They are also upset at having their self-perceptions dismissed as obsessive lies.
Bailey's book is a fascinating tale of how one researcher is enthralled with a potpourri of sexual and gender diversity in the world. Yet the sub-title of this book might have more accurately read, "the scientific study of the intersection between sexuality and gender." Even with this focus, it's too much to adequately cover in a single book. Particularly disappointing for the intellectually curious reader is the lack of citations. When he had to choose between scholarship and personal chatting, he all too often chose the latter even in cases where he hurts his own arguments.
When I read J. Michael Bailey's words, I worry that he feels the world is filled with people who purposely mislead others and people who willfully remain ignorant of truths. Despite his characterizations: psychologists, bisexual men, and social constructivists can still have their own genuine perspectives even when they disagree with Bailey. Moreover, though he distinguishes his work as "science" from the "politics" of others, he fails to a maintain a rigorous scientific perspective on bisexuality by allowing essentialism to bias his thinking.
A book you cannot put down, a book you cannot fail to read through, because it is so full of rubbish endorsing blanchards theories of transexualism, you would want to turn it into toilet paper and.........
Cristine Jennifer Shye B.acc. BL (GS Admin)