Dr. Marshall Forstein, Chair of the Work Group on Practices Guidelines on HIV Psychiatry for the American Psychiatric Association (not to be confused with the American Psychological Association), has written a reply to the drive to have Drs. Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard removed from the Work Group developing the revisions for “Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders” for the planned DSM-V. In it, he writes:
“I hope that what I have written makes us pause a bit before we do something to alienate even our supporters and friends in the American Psychiatric and the American Psychological Association who have been very pro-gay and pro-trans in their deliberations so far. There will always be a vocal minority that claim otherwise, but the process is vetted by many people committed to scientific integrity and evidence.”
I and others have been accused of scaremongering in the ongoing debate(s) surrounding this issue. Dr. Forstein has some excellent points for us to examine. Some of the other aspects and debates, though, I still stand behind.
For those who are concerned about the establishment of an adherent to reparative therapy (Dr. Kenneth Zucker) and another seeking to entrench “autogynephilia” (a pathologization of treatment of non- “homosexual transgender” transfolk) in the DSM-V, there have been some new happenings.
One letter writer reports receiving an email from the APA which states that:
“The Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group, chaired by Kenneth J. Zucker, Ph.D., will have 13 members who will form three subcommittees:
* Gender Identity Disorders, chaired by Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Ph.D.
* Paraphilias, chaired by Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.
* Sexual Dysfunctions, chaired by R. Taylor Segraves, M.D., Ph.D.”
Alice Dreger Destroys Academic Freedom in Order to Save It
It is an old adage that “crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.” This appears to be the thinking behind Alice Dreger’s latest attempt to stifle criticism of J. Michael Bailey’s pseudoscience in the name of “academic freedom”.
Joelle Ruby Ryan recently issued a Call for Proposals for a proposed panel of the National Women’s Studies Association entitled The Bailey Brouhaha: Community Members Speak Out on Resisting Transphobia in Academia in Beyond. In it, she accurately summarises the history of the “controversy” around Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science [!] of Gender Bending and Transsexualism, as follows:
While Bailey’s book The Man Who Would be Queen was released in 2003 to overwhelmingly negative reviews, the book caused a stir for its assertion that trans women can be split into two groupings: “homosexual transsexuals” and “autogynephilics.” Trans activists and allies mobilized and took Bailey to task for his bogus claims and helped to document a compelling case against him. Many considered it an open-and-shut case until the 2007 appearance of an article by Bailey colleague and intersex researcher Alice Dreger, who published a lengthy apologia for Bailey in the Archives of Sexual Behavior and castigated trans women activists for their attempts at “ruining” Bailey.
In response, Dreger declared that the CFP was “laden with factual errors and misrepresentations about the history of the Bailey controversy and my work”, of which she could identify none, and points to her own dubious “scholarly history” (to be published by a journal controlled by Bailey, Blanchard, and Lawrence) and a breathtakingly inaccurate New York Times article that I have discussed previously as reliable sources of information. Dreger repeats her unsupported and unspecified claims of misrepresentations (in one case “profound” misrepresentations”) and factual errors throughout her correspondence on the subject with Emi Koyama on the Women’s Studies listserv WMST-L, and falsely claims that Bailey’s critics attempted to censor him. She does not enlighten interested readers about the scientific status of Bailey’s claims or his defamatory responses to criticism. She closes the e-mail exchange by endorsing a veiled threat directed at Ryan by Emi Koyama(1):
What is the “academic freedom” that Dreger defends so fiercely as to resort to threats and blatant misrepresentations? Is it the freedom to publish scientific findings and engage in scholarly discussion without state or institutional censorship? Clearly not. That right has not been impinged upon. No one is calling for censorship of Bailey’s work, nor has any censorship occurred. The book remains in print, for all to see. Bailey’s right to fetishise “controversy” over science remains inviolate.
I’m getting rather tired of posting about this, but J. Michael Bailey is at it again. He posted “Transsexual Smokescreen: Ignoring Science In “The Man Who Would Be Queen” at Scientific Blogging.com.
The post is a microcosm of the disingenuous nature of this man. He’s said in multiple forums:
(from the KQED Forum interview)
I wrote what is commonly understood to be a popular science book, in which I reviewed serious academic work by myself and other scholars.”
So the book is science?
By Élise Hendrick (reprinted with permission)
Autogynaephiles, Homosexuals, and Fabricators:
The Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence Taxonomy of Trans Women
I. A Hypothetical
Let us suppose that someone claimed to have found that rape is primarily a function of the sexuality and presentation of the victim, and proposed a binary taxonomy of rape victims:
(1) The provoker: Provoker-type rape victims are heterosexual women no older than their mid-to-late twenties at the time of the incident. They are generally sexually active, and are characterized by general attractiveness and a preference for attractive, even provocative modes of dress and behavior. In these women, the rape is the subconsciously desired result of their behavior and presentation.
(2) The confabulator: The confabulator, like the provoker, is heterosexual, but homely and unattractive, and at least in her late twenties or thirties. She is not sexually active, nor does she dress in a particularly attractive or provocative manner. She is most likely to have convinced herself that she was raped in order to deceive herself into believing that she is sexually desirable despite her age and appearance.
Let us further suppose that the person who has “discovered” these categories also claims that there are no categories outside of the two above, and that any woman who claims not to fit within these categories in any particular is either lying or delusional. In dealing with these claims, rational people will likely do as suggested by Noam Chomsky in The Case Against B.F. Skinner, and ask: ”What is the scientific status of the claims? What social or ideological needs do they serve? The questions are logically independent, but the second type of question naturally comes to the fore as scientific pretensions are undermined.”
In KQED’s recent interview of J Michael Bailey and Alice Dreger, Bailey said:
“Again I reject the assertion that it’s all transgendered people are offended by my book. Many transgendered people are actually very happy that people are finally talking about this phenomenon called autogynophelia, which they feel captures their motivation.” I actually think that Bailey is wrong and that a majority of transgender people see Bailey’s work as a direct attack on their lives. If you do too, I’d ask that you please sign a petition I made at:
Please spread the word about this petition to as many people you can think of.
Alice Dreger’s dredging up of this old controversy has inflamed the right wing blogosphere with such wonderful posts as:
The post that follows this will discuss Alice Dreger’s “The Controversy Surrounding The Man Who Would Be Queen: […]
It was billed as the “HRC Foundation and Logo Presidential Forum” but you could have just as easily called it the “HRC and Logo Presidential Forum on Marriage Equality. But it wasn’t supposed to be that way.
According to Donna Rose’s blog:
“I have been told by people who would know that a decision has already been made that each candidate will be given a “T” question (their words, not mine). When I sent my list of questions this morning (the deadline was noon), part of the response I got back was that they particularly “like the more general ones because it requires them to be more forthcoming.”
For the record, there was ONE question during the entire forum that was a “T” question. Joe Solmonese asked John Edwards the following question:
“Susan Stanton is in our audience tonight. She was, for 17 years, the city manager in Largo, Florida. She did her job well; she was respected and admired. And when it was revealed that she was transgender, she was fired. So my question for you is if a member of your staff came to you and told you that they were transgender and that they were thinking of transitioning, how would you react to that? And who in your life has influenced what your reaction might be?”