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I learned about Blanchard’s typo...

Posted Sep 11 2008 7:09pm

I learned about Blanchard’s typology of transsexuals from a draft of part of Bailey’s book that Bailey had posted on the Web. If correct, it is surely central to understanding male-to-female transsexuals.

I read Bailey’s draft a few months after reading Crossing (1999), a memoir by Deirdre McCloskey, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Crossing tells the story of McCloskey’s change from man to woman. It is an emotionally powerful book, full of longing. According to Crossing and Bailey’s draft, McCloskey had at least three features in common with Type 2 transsexuals (worked in male-dominated profession (economist), married, changed sex after age 40). Crossing also describes being sexually aroused by cross-dressing. This appeared consistent with Blanchard’s typology — which Crossing didn’t mention. Why not? I felt deceived. I wrote to McCloskey to complain: Shouldn’t you have mentioned Blanchard’s ideas? Her reply: Do you believe everything you read on the internet?

No, but I believed Blanchard was a serious scientist. I did not know Bailey but he wrote extremely well. The draft I had read was brilliant science journalism. I liked Bailey’s own research, too, which was about how gay and straight men differ. Blanchard could be wrong but to discuss transsexualism at book length without mentioning him seemed like writing a book about France without mentioning Paris.

Part 1. Alice Dreger’s paper about the Bailey “controversy”.

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