Cowboys, Sheepherders, and The Man Who Would Be Queen: “I Know” vs. First-Order Lived Experience
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The firestorm about Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism (TMWWBQ) can be understood from both theoretical and methodological perspectives. The title of Dreger’s article leads one to believe that the author would present such perspectives, and it was disappointing that these were not addressed. From a theoretical perspective, Bailey’s book promulgated the kind of Kantian categorical imperative in which essentialist thinking becomes elevated to the level of absolute and universal. Beginning with the premise that all transsexuals are of one of two types necessarily leads to an absolute and universal system of binary typologies. However, when such absolutism is applied to human discourse, individuals who feel they do not fit the universal typology are likely to insist upon alternative explanations, and the aggregate impact of all the exceptions inevitably leads to scientific controversy. The essentialists work harder to insist that everyone...
KeywordsResearch Participant Community Mental Health Center Transsexualism Epistemic Authority Gender Identity Disorder
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