The Man Who Would Be Janice Raymond

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #104, Winter 2004.

Review by Katrina C. Rose

Most of us are aware of the concept of ?the big lie?: make sure it, whatever ?it? may be, is repeated enough, and it becomes accepted as true whether or not it has any basis in reality.
Another type of big lie is the assertion of something so preposterous, yet so simplistic, that the perfectly accurate yet equally simplistic response/refutation sounds even more preposterous than the initial lie?necessitating extensively-researched answers presented in laborious, boring academic formats that most people can?t follow and, as such, are ignored.
Bear this in mind when dealing in
any fashion with J. Michael Bailey?s The Man Who Would Be Queen, a recent
book from Joseph Henry Press, improperly subtitled The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism. If Bowers v. Hardwick was the Dred Scott v. Sandford for a generation of GLBT Americans, then Bailey?s concoction is this trans-
sexual generation?s The Transsexual Empire.

Or worse.

Bailey?s book has as little to do with
science as did Janice Raymond?s 1979 Empire, and as Bay Area transgender columnist Gwen Smith has recently noted, ?Bailey?s subjects are largely from the club scene, and many do not fit the more-or-less accepted standards of transsexuality. At least one of his text subjects has come forth and claimed she was misrepresented in his text.?

This is par for the course, sadly, given how courts in Texas, Minnesota and Kansas have certainly misrepresented transgender law in major published opinions affecting the lives of transsexuals. But as for Bailey, what is the product of his purported science?

?Have you ever been in the military or worked as a policeman or truck driver, or been a computer programmer, businessman, lawyer, scientist, engineer, or physician?? A seemingly innocuous question to gauge simply whether the askee has a reasonable, stable work history? After all, some gender transition programs and gender therapists ask such questions of new patients?and one might think a yes answer would be a good thing.

Instead, this is one of a short list of questions which Bailey says ?should work even for the novice? (even though he admits he?s never tested this!) at how to tell the difference between autogynephilic transsexuals (according to Bailey?s false dichotomy, ?men erotically obsessed with the image of themselves as women;? in other words, nothing but a full-time fetishist) and homosexual transsexuals (?extremely feminine gay men?).
The list consists of several questions, six each with a point value of +1 and -1 and, with the exception of a bonus round question based on the asker?s opinion as to the passability of the subject, all of the +1 questions come first?significant for the testing parameters: ?Ask each question, and if the answer is ?Yes,? add the number (+1 or -1) next to the question. If the sum gets to +3, stop; the trans-
sexual you?re talking to is autogynephilic. If the sum gets to -3, she is homosexual.?

Upon my initial read of the list of professions, any one of which constitutes one-third of an intractable declaration that one is autogynephilic (remember: if you get to +3, then stop; the -1 questions never come into play), I tried thinking of things that aren?t encompassed by it, and I had trouble coming up with much beyond convenience store clerk, prostitution, and writing books that further dehumanize the last minority that against which it is truly still politically correct to discriminate.

Yes, the transphobia is more than
obvious, but there is far more afoot. Philadelphia transgender activist Kathy Padilla has observed, ?Besides the horrible transphobia?the misogyny is appalling! Let?s remember this is a guy who states he doesn?t understand female sexuality at all. Not transwoman or non-transwoman?he certainly seems to feel a need to define and control it though, doesn?t he??

Think about it. What is Bailey really saying with that list? That those listed are inherently male professions and no real woman would be in such a profession, so a new woman with such a history can?t possibly be legitimate?either as a woman or a transsexual (and when compared to the occupational list at the other end of the scale, it?s clear that Bailey views these professions as being not simply for men, but for real men). And it only gets worse:

?As a child, did people think you were about as masculine as other boys??

?Have you ever been married to a woman??

?Were you over the age of 40 when you began to live full-time as a woman??

?Are you nearly as attracted to women as to men? Or more attracted to women? Or equally attracted to women??

Even in a friendly sociopolitical environment, Queen would have the potential to do at least as much harm as Raymond?s Empire. As Gwen Smith has written, ?Raymond?s book was the final nail in the coffin of 1970s-era transgender activism, and it took a decade before activists gained enough fortitude to respond.? Moreover, it is not hyperbole
to say that Empire has been responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of transsexuals. It appeared on the scene at the same time as what is now widely regarded as a rigged study at Johns Hopkins designed to justify the elimination of its gender transition program?and together they set the stage for governments and private insurers to all but eliminate transition-related healthcare. That would be Jon Meyer and Donna Reter?s infamous 1979 article in Archives
of General Psychiatry. ?Ed.

But, Raymond, though legitimized by a professorship, was just a 1970?s radical, man-hating lesbian ex-nun. If the anti-equality forces of the 1980?s which picked up her transphobia and ran with it had been more aware of just how diametrically opposed she and her buddies such as Mary Daly were to what is generally dubbed traditional family values, the world might now be a better place for transsexuals.
Bailey, however, is a high-ranking professor of psychology at Northwestern University and, more disturbingly, his book has received the imprimatur of the National Academy of Sciences and has been christened as a legitimate college-level text on the subject. This sets the stage for a future generation to believe
an extremely dangerous theory about transsexuals that is without basis in science?without basis in anything, for
that matter.

Andrea James has begun collecting
testimonials on her website www. from transsexual women whose lives have already been adversely affected?on the familial level?by Queen. One woman, M.F. wrote of her coming out, of how she?d given her mother a copy of True Selves and a video documentary. ?Mom was nominally accepting at first. She said she needed to learn more about it.? That was in January. In June, there was a ?big fight.?
?She said that I was mutilating my body and mutilating my family. When I asked her (rather heatedly, I should add) if she had done any more research, she said yes, and threw Bailey?s book at me... (literally threw it at me!)...?

One can only imagine what the current administration in Washington will do in terms of quietly promulgating anti-
transgender rules and regulations, with Bailey?s purported science as a guide.
Now, while I?m certain that some gays and lesbians will?either secretly or openly?praise the Bailey agenda, don?t cheer too quickly; the executioner you praise may be your own. Look back at those +1 questions and how they unquestionably erase the legitimacy of bisexuality and lesbian identity among transsexuals?and, quite frankly, don?t do much in the way of acknowledging the legitimacy of bisexuality and lesbianism at all.

Misogyny isn?t the only extra-transsexual problem with Queen. At their core, Bailey?s theories are as insulting to nontranssexual gays, lesbians, and particularly bisexuals, as they are to transsexuals, and don?t just rely on my characterization of his questions as slippery slopes or the statements of transsexuals who are desperately sounding the alarm about Bailey.
Try some of his -1 questions?the ones where enough answers to get you to -3 permits the quizzer to declare the quizzee to be a homosexual transsexual:

?Is your ideal partner a straight man??

?Does this describe you? ?I find the idea of having sex with men very sexually exciting, but the idea of having sex with women is not at all appealing.??

?Were you under the age of 25 when you began to live full-time as a woman??

?Do you like to look at pictures of really muscular men with their shirts off??

Still not enough in the way of stereotypes? Try this one: ?Have you ever worked as a hairstylist, beautician, female impersonator, lingerie model, or prostitute?? Okay, yes, Bailey came up with a few more occupations for this end of the scale than I did upon analysis of the question at the other end, but are you at all surprised that he included prostitution here? Transsexuals aren?t.

Gays and lesbians out there?even those who might ordinarily be disinclined to be politically T-supportive?should know that not so long ago it was common for young gays to end up in the sex trade after being disowned. Likewise, they should realize that being forced to sell one?s body on the street to survive is no kind of a classification factor for determining a person?s inherent character or state of being. Such classification is not psychology at all.

Two decades ago, in reviewing Empire, female-to-male transsexual Louis Sullivan?a gay male whose lack of access to proper health care in the years after Empire is regarded as having contributed to his death?said that Raymond?s book was proof ?that you don?t need balls to oppress a sexual minority.? The Man Who Would Be Queen is a quintessential example of the kind of disingenuous, misrepresenting, anti-scientific, life-threatening atrocity that can be perpetrated by someone with balls.


Katrina C. Rose is a transgender legal historian
and is licensed to practice law in Texas and Minnesota. She is the author of ?Three Names in Ohio: In re Bicknell, In re Maloney and Hope For Recognition That The Gay-Transgender Twain Has Met,? which appears in the current edition of the Thomas Jefferson Law Review. She may be
contacted via e-mail at