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Transsexuals file 2 more claims against Bailey

By Jennifer Leopoldt

July 31, 2003

More transsexuals who are opposed to Northwestern Prof. J. Michael Bailey's research conduct and recent book have filed complaints with NU and are increasing their efforts to show they view Bailey's book as "junk science."

Complaints filed with NU's Office of Research now total five -- one from a transsexual advocate who brought women to Bailey for letters recommending sex-reassignment surgery, three from anonymous women who received those letters and a joint claim from two transsexual professors in support of the complaints.

The women involved allege that Bailey did not tell them they were research subjects at the time of the interviews, and later when he did mention writing a book, they did not know it would be presented as research.

Bailey's book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen," published by the National Academies Press, is presented as "based on his original research" and "grounded firmly in the scientific method," according to the book jacket.

The July 29 joint claim came from Lynn Conway, professor emerita of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, and Deirdre McCloskey, distinguished professor of economics, history and English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Conway, McCloskey and others have said that Bailey's book hurts transsexuals by depicting some of them as sexual fetishists.

"He's hurting with this book hundreds of thousands of gender crossers worldwide because he's saying, 'Look, they're driven by sex, sex, sex. They're men, men, men,'" McCloskey said.

Bailey, however, said he has never claimed that transsexual women actually are men.

"I experience them as women as long as that's how they're living," he said July 22.

Another argument of some claimants is that Bailey left out stories that did not match the book's theory of two types of transsexuals. In the latest anonymous complaint, filed July 30, the woman says of herself and another claimant, "Our two 'data points' compromised his results, we did not fit into his scheme and were left out."

Bailey said he stands by his book's accuracy and will not be deterred by opposition.

"I'm concerned with science and truth and not the feelings of groups," Bailey said.

Bailey spoke about his book at the annual International Academy of Sex Research conference at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Ind. Anjelica Kieltyka, a psychology student in NU's School of Continuing Studies who brought women to Bailey for sex-change letters, passed out information at the university July 17 urging sex researchers to "do something before Bailey's shoddy work affects your own."

Following the conference, an anonymous participant e-mailed Conway saying John Bancroft, president of the Kinsey Institute, told Bailey, "Michael, I would caution you against calling this book 'science' because I have read it and I can tell you it is not science." Conway and McCloskey included the quote in their formal complaint, but Bancroft would not confirm whether he made such a statement. The anonymous participant also wrote that at the conference it was "mysteriously announced that Bailey has 'vacated' his position" as the academy's secretary-treasurer.

Bailey said he had been planning to resign long before the controversy about his book and alerted the organization in February. Bailey said he made his decision "due to the time pressures" of holding the post and acting as NU's psychology department chairman.

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