J Michael Bailey is so racist it hurts my brain

May 8, 2009

Last time around, not having read The Man Who Would Be Queen except for exerpts/quotes, I wrote about how the two type/Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence (BBL) theory is misogynistic/regulates female sexuality. I stand by everything I wrote there, but I’m pissed at how much discussions of the book hinge only on the autogynephilia part, and neglect the ridiculous racism/classism of the “homosexual transsexual” (by which we mean straight trans women) section.

Seriously, it’s so bad it’s hard to even talk about. But, among other things, he says [straight] trans women are mostly [W]OC with below average IQ, and are trans (rather than being gay boys) because they come from lower-class non-white broken households and don’t have enough ambition or family support to ‘defeminize,’ and there are more Latina trans [women] because of machismo.


He’s yet to come out and say that black/Latin@ and lower-class people are bad parents and should have their kids taken away from them, but he does seem to think that 20% MOC in his gay boy sample is a perfectly standard percentage for Chicago residents, whereas 60% TWOC needs remarking on.

From Wikipedia:

As of the 2000 census,…The racial makeup of the city was 41.97% White, 36.77% Black, 4.35% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.36% Native American, 13.58% from other races, and 2.92% from two or more races. 26.02% of the population were Hispanic of any race. 21.72% of the population was foreign born; of this, 56.29% came from Latin America, 23.13% from Europe, 17.96% from Asia and 2.62% from other parts of the world.[4] The 2007 community survey for the U.S. Census showed little variation

Some examples:

Alma has also noticed, as I have, the large number of Latina transsexuals. In Chicago, there are several bars that cater to Latina transsexuals. About 60 percent of the homosexual transsexuals [sic] and drag queens we studied were Latina or black. The proportion of nonwhite subjects in our studies of ordinary gay men [sic] is typically only about 20 percent. …Another transsexual, remarking on the same phenomenon, attributed it to ethnic gender roles: “My culture is very macho and intolerant of female behavior in men. It is easier just to become a woman.”

J Michael Bailey, The Man Who Would Be Queen, 183-4.

(It might be argued that he’s not endorsing the claim about machismo, because the next line starts “I am not sure of about the validity of all of Alma’s observations, much less her theories”–but it wasn’t Alma who made that statement, thus the statement isn’t disavowed by the disclaimer, which constitutes tacit endorsement.)

Ken Zucker…tried to predict which boys with [GID] would still have the disorder when they become adolescents. Adolescents with GID are much rarer and presumably much closer to being transsexual. Zucker found several predictors of adolescent GID: lower IQ, lower social class, immigrant status, non-intact family, and childhood behavior problems unrelated to [GID].[‘Coz IQ tests are totally unproblematic.]

ibid 178-9.

They [straight trans women] are outcasts as children because of their extreme femininity. They mostly come from poor, broken families, and family rejection is common.

A feminine boy from a middle-class or upper-middle-class family (such as Danny’s) has more motivation to “hang in there” until he normalizes his gender role behavior, because he has a good chance at a conventionally successful future. Defeminization might also require more ambition and family support than some homosexual transsexuals possess.

ibid, 183,4.

Their customers, of course, are not gay men. They are either unwary straight men or men looking for she-males.) This kind of prostitution is dangerous, especially for transsexuals, whose customers sometimes do not know what they are… The rate of HIV infection among transsexual streetwalkers is very hight, partly due to the high rate of intravenous drug use. [while injection HRT is the same as recreational IV drugs for HIV risk, the implication is pretty offensive.]

their taste in clothing is much more expensive than their income allows… In female impersonator shows, transsexuals often wear designer gowns, which are widely believed (by other transsexuals) to have been acquired via the five-fingered discount. [yep, it’s totally that those irresponsible black/Latina/poor people just want to live beyond their means, not an occupational expenditure…]

ibid, 184-5.


8 Responses to “J Michael Bailey is so racist it hurts my brain”

  1. Amber Thompson said

    IQ, my IQ has been tested to be 137, hardly a low IQ.
    Bailey shouldn’t be a psychiatrist, he should be seeing one.

  2. Michelle said

    i am a documented transgender with an IQ of 141 so things happen

  3. Zoe Brain said

    The self-fulfilling prophecy. Make it impossible for trans people to get a job, and they become unemployed. Because so many are unemployed, obviously they prefer it that way, so should be denied employment.

    Force them into sex work, and many become sex workers. Because many are sex workers, obviously they are ‘especially suited’ to sex work. So should be denied employment, so should be forced into sex work just to survive….

    And so it goes.

    Michael Savage was more blunt and unpolished, but said essentially the same thing:
    “Why should we have constant sympathy for people who are freaks in every society? I didn’t say hurt the freaks. I didn’t say do anything to the freaks. But you know what? You’re never gonna make me respect the freak. I don’t want to respect the freak. The freak ought to be glad that they’re allowed to walk around without begging for something.”

  4. H Farmer said

    Thankyou for taking this up. I have noticed and complained about the monotone complaints about Bailey’s book for quite some time. For doing so I was painted as being supporter of his. {sarcasm}Because of course anyone who would identify that he was insulting them in his writings on the homosexual transsexual must be a supporter. Afterall he said that homosexual transsexuals look good… and only autogynephilia was insulting.{/sarcasm} Right? Wrong.

    The self same complaint you hilite regarding prostitution was made on the website transkids.us. They too complained that they were not “especially suited” to prostitution but economics has sometimes made such measures necessary. They did and I have also said that their may be some small truth in Blanchard’s idea’s. Specifically that transsexuals are not all the same, and that it does not make sense for a psychologist to treat a Kim Petras in the exact same way as a Dianne Schroer. I don’t see how acknoledging a difference needs to imply a hierarchy/ranking of true/untrue normal/abnormal…just different.


    “Jennifer” totally misses my point. Some how I wrote what she quotes and that is construed as support for Bailey. I wonder if he thinks that?


    In this “Natalie” calls the women Bailey wrote about and labeled homosexual transsexuals crossdressers’s from a gay bar. Most of the transsexuals he wrote about were written of on those terms. Yet most of the stink was about autogynephilia.


    Thankyou for having the guts to call this what it is. It seems that only certain peoples feelings count.

    • Cedar said

      I think the crossdresser comment is actually about the people Bailey labels “autogynephiles”–aside from “Cher”, every single person he references in the autogynephilia section is a male-identified crossdresser; he implies that these people are synonymous with trans women and creates the (false) impression he’s gathered these ideas from trans women.

      You have, on several occasions, defended Bailey’s disdain for queer trans women, and the idea that there are two separate “types”. The way these “types” are constructed is inherently insulting and hierarchical–but the fact that he places one group on top in terms of femaleness and legitimacy doesn’t mean that he isn’t simultaneously putting them on the bottom through racialized/classed rhetoric that isn’t based in reality, and isn’t still putting cis people far above either group in a hierarchy. He’s created a situation where it becomes tempting to fight each other, or to jockey for better position not far beyond the range of realness and freedom constructed in his hierarchy, but it’s important to overthrow categorization entirely.

      One can draw lines wherever one wants within any group and find support for them–the question is more why are the categories being drawn, and what the effects are, and I think the answer is pretty clear: <a href="https://takesupspace.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/female-sexuality-and-the-two-type-theory-why-autogynephilia-matters/"establishing cis and male supremacy:

      How do we talk about the two-type theory in a way that doesn’t succumb to its terms? The argument demands we either accept medicalization and gender coercion in this case, or sex-negativity and the validity of gender coercion in other circumstances. We have to challenge the frame–as the sex-positive argument attempts to do. But the sex-positive argument (that sexual motivations are ok) fails to address the underlying misogyny of the theory, which is so fundamental to why it continues to hold power over us–and moreover, how the two-type theory is part of an attack on female sexual subjectivity (trans or cis).

      Therapy should be completely individualized, so it’s a red herring to say that people should be treated differently based on their age or sexual orientation. As I’ve written before, all forms of gatekeeping need to end, so any kind of “type”-generating is pointless.

    • Cedar said

      Also, you’re welcome. 🙂 It’s important stuff, and racism isn’t enough of a part of our conversations about how trans misogyny works.

      I should mention that Julia Serano and Joan Roughgarden do touch on the racism in the section on [straight] trans women, but they don’t centralize it in their analysis or make much use of it in terms of how to analyze “autogynephilia” that might affect the way they should analyze the section.

      • H Farmer said

        Perhaps it was a reference to the autogynephilia section. :-/ However the context a “gay bar”…. On the other hand It’s possible that the person writing that has never read one page of TMWWBQ for themselves. I got the impression from them that they thought any straight transwoman would by default like Bailey’s work.

        In speaking of which, what I have done is defend his right to have an opinion. I also wrote about it in Wikipedia.

        What I did in Wikipedia by the way that was supposedly so bad? I created the article on the homosexual transsexual. Before I came along there was no such article and not even mention of that branch in Wikipedia’s Autogynephilia article. It was within days proposed that the article be merged to Autogynephilia, and when that was defeated it had to survive a vote for deletion. Also take a look at who the second most prolific contributor to that article has been “Jokestress”. Guess who that is. Andrea James. Don’t believe me? Wikipedia’s record of who did what when is open for all to look at.


        “The way these “types” are constructed is inherently insulting and hierarchical–but the fact that he places one group on top in terms of femaleness and legitimacy ….”

        I have personally never felt that Blanchard’s theory says straight transwomen are more truly female or legitimate. (However pervious theories said exactly that and that thinking is very deeply entrenched not just in psychology, but in societies view of cisgender lesbian GG’s.) What Blanchard is guilty of in my opinion is being too short sighted to see how the average person, policy maker, transwoman, Jane Q citizen, will look on calling one kind of transsexual paraphillic. He may not see it as a value judgement, being a sex researcher….but to the average person that’s just what it is. A question in my mind is who’s problem is that. The researchers who use the term, or the public who attaches values to it that were not originally intended? I have no answer.

        I am willing to just say that is a difference in point of view and leave it at that if you are. There is no need for automatic emnity over this old hat. 😉

    • Cedar said

      Re: lack of hierarchy:

      As I quoted in my first post about this (have you read?):

      The mantra of some male-to-female transsexuals is that they are simply “women trapped in men’s bodies.” This assertion has some truth for homosexual transsexuals, who are extremely and recognizably feminine (and like most women, attracted to men), but for autogynephilic transsexuals it is not true in any meaningful sense.

      J Michael Bailey, at his trollish best.

      He very clearly states that he thinks [straight] trans women are more “really” female because he seems to think that femininity = femaleness (and that femininity/masculinity are natural and unproblematic categories). Blanchard does it too but is much more subtle, as he generally is. Both of them may believe people should get to transition regardless of their reasons, but that doesn’t mean they don’t think some are more “real” than others.

      I think an article on “homosexual transsexual” as a transphobic theory/term is important–but calling straight women “homosexual,” using “transsexual” as a noun, and avoiding self-identity labels (e.g. lesbian, straight, bi, queer) for scientific/pathologizing labels such as “gynephilic” is busted and transphobic. The article as a whole is immensely pathologizing/objectifying/fetishizing, particularly the section on sexual activity. Clinically analyzing my sexuality on wikipedia? NO THANKS. Seriously, why do cis people need to know that, other than to continue the sexualization/objectification/fetishization of trans women, to reduce us to sex objects and not have to think seriously about anything we have to say?

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