Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 441–443 | Cite as

Trans Victims, Trans Zealots: A Critique of Dreger’s History of the Bailey Controversy

  • Nicholas L. ClarksonEmail author
Peer Commentary

My central critique of Dreger’s history of the Bailey controversy is that she focused on the personal attacks against Bailey instead of critiquing the substance of Bailey’s book itself. Conway’s, McCloskey’s, and James’ responses to Bailey’s book were admittedly excessive, overly personalized, and damaging to a number of people. However, the response of these three MTFs becomes the sole focus of Dreger’s lengthy history. She does not substantively direct this conversation back to the merits (or lack thereof) of Bailey’s book. While she briefly critiques Bailey’s book as lacking scientific merit, this is but one sentence, and Dreger fails to flesh out this critique in her long history. By focusing on the complaints of Conway, McCloskey, and James as representative of critiques of Bailey’s book, interspersed far too infrequently by more measured critiques (e.g., from Jamison Green), Dreger represents trans people as a lunatic fringe and marginalizes legitimate trans critiques of...


Gender Identity Sexual Desire Personal Attack Pedophilia Trans People 
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  1. Bailey, J. M. (2003). The man who would be queen: The science of gender-bending and transsexualism. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gender StudiesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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