, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 453-456
Date: 23 Apr 2008

Truth, Lies, and Trans Science

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Bailey (2003) wrote that the treatment of transsexuals on talk shows was “designed to provoke rather than to illuminate” (p. 146), a comment which also seems apt for his The Man Who Would Be Queen (TMWWBQ). Dreger’s account of the ensuing controversy may also provoke, despite her stated intentions and careful acknowledgement of her position as a participant in the controversy. Dreger’s article has some positives—her detailed account of events before and after TMWWBQ’s publication allows some insight into the unfolding battles. She gives a reasonable “analytic synopsis” of TMWWBQ, which brings out the causes for offence to trans people in their negative portrayals and the nature of the book’s cover and title. Dreger pointedly challenges common assumptions made by Bailey’s critics about his statements and highlights the stifling of discussion about erotic aspects of trans people’s experience and the tensions among the different factions.

As I am researching the political and social implic