A critique of J. Michael Bailey's "The Man who would be Queen: The Science of Gender Bending and Transsexualism" includes a closer examination of the cynical way Bailey characterizes transgendered persons. Bailey claims transsexuals lie even though Blanchard's theory is built primary from what transsexuals readily say.

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In a Stifled Voice: Psychopathology & Transgenderism

J. Michael Bailey's words suggest a world that is filled with people who mislead others and people who willfully remain ignorant of truths. Yet I have shown that psychologists, bisexual men, and social constructivists can still have their own genuine perspectives even when they disagree with Bailey. Indeed, as I have shown, many of the beliefs he puts forth are not informed by science. I have yet to address what I feel is the most serious accusation, "most gender patients lie." This accusation is not the most serious because of what it says; it is on par with the accusations against bisexual men, psychologists, and social constructivists. What makes this accusation so serious is the circumstances. Unlike the other groups, transgendered persons are stigmatized by being labeled mentally ill for being who they are. Unlike the other groups, when transgendered persons disagree with Bailey, their disagreement can be reduced to part of their pathology. "That's just your sickness talking." [1] This is exactly what Bailey argues when he says our disagreement with his perspective is part of our "obsession", "something about autogynephilia creates a need not only to enact a female self, but also to actually believe in her (Bailey, 2003, pg. 175)."

In one respect, I do not understand why Michael Bailey included any discussion of transgender 'deception'. He makes Ray Blanchard's model the center-piece of his understanding of transsexuality. Blanchard's theory is built upon self-report data (i.e., what transgendered people say openly). As I previously mentioned, transsexual women readily acknowledge fantasies of the women they hope to become. The small percentage of 'non-homosexual' transsexual women who do not acknowledge these fantasies are not detrimental to Blanchard's model. We almost never see results of 100% for any psychological phenomena. What is much more detrimental to Blanchard's model is the large number of 'homosexual' transsexual women who also acknowledge these fantasies. Afterall, it's hard to say these fantasies are mis-directed 'heterosexuality' when they only have a 'homosexual' sex-drive to go awry. [2] Perhaps Bailey is correct when he says "obsession" drives "something" in us that needs to believe in the women we hope to become? Then again, perhaps that "something" is our identity? Identity is a powerful causal mechanism.

In a second respect, I understand why Bailey needs to discuss deception by transgendered women. Bailey takes Blanchard's model and simplifies it into two stereotypical portraits. Naturally, the over-whelming majority of transsexual women do not fit neatly into either category. When they say they don't fit, their experiences need an explanation. I say the explanation is simply because Bailey over-simplifies Blanchard's model and Blanchard was already over-interpreting his data. I feel more research is necessary. But, I am afraid, my view is too wishy-washy to be shared by Bailey. Instead, he adopts the same combative view of science and cynical view of others' motives that he uses when addressing bisexual men, psychologists, and social constructivists. What is worse, other psychopathologists who endorse Blanchard's model share his cynicism. Maxine Petersen, a transsexual women and the "ace gender clinician" at Blanchard's clinic says, "Most gender patients lie" (Bailey, 2003, pg. 205, 172). Blanchard published two studies Bailey cites as evidence of transgender deception. Christopher Daskalos (1998) suggested some transsexual women change their sexual orientation because they reported changing sexual fantasies and behaviors. Anne Lawrence (1999) cites one of Blanchard's studies to say it is "remarkable" that he did not seriously consider whether these changing sexual orientations were "genuine." [3]

Two world-views for psychopathologists have emerged to guide how clinicians relate with transgendered persons. One approach, seen in the work of Daskalos, Brown and others, affirms the dignity of transsexuals' experiences by giving them a voice and reporting on it in their accounts. The second approach, seen in the work of Bailey, Lawrence, and Blanchard, stifles the voices of transsexuals with accusations of their deception. They cite two studies to support their cynical view of transgenderism. I examine each of these studies in turn in the next two essays.

Footnote 1: A recent article commemorating the 30th anniversary of removal of homosexuality from the DSM list of mental illnesses provides a striking parallel. Here are quotations of veteran gay and lesbian advocate Barbara Gittings. "[The mental illness label for homosexuality] was an albatross around our neck ...Yes, we were also viewed as sinners and as law-breakers, but there was room for legitimate differences of opinion about what should be immoral and what should be illegal. ... The sickness label, on the other hand, was supposedly a scientific finding that couldn't be questioned. And that made it tough to argue for our rights. Anything we said on our behalf could be dismissed as 'That's your sickness talking.'" (from "Instant Cure" by Robert DiGiacomo in "Philadelphia Gay News" on December 12)

Footnote 2: Recall that Blanchard lumped bisexuals with 'heterosexuals' so saying the 'homosexuals' are really bisexual is not an easy option to endorse.

Footnote 3: Anne Lawrence uses the word "genuine" to essentialize sexual orientation in the same manner that Mike Bailey does. She says this is how "sexual orientation is usually defined" and cites Kurt Fruend, a mentor of Blanchard's. For an explanation of why essentializing sexual orientation is unscientific, please see the preceding essay, "The World according to J. Michael Bailey." Lawrence says this in a "letter to the editor" of the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The editor is Kenneth Zucker.

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