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Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory controversy

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The "BBL Controversy" also known as the "Autogynephilia Controversy" is an ongoing and heated line of discussion in the transgendered community. The subject, Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory, is a theory of transsexual taxonomy developed by Ray Blanchard,[1] which classifies male-to-female transsexuals according to whether they have an autogynephilic or "homosexual transsexual" motivation.[2]

The theory had not received much attention outside of sexology until sexologist Anne Lawrence, who self-identifies as an autogynephile, published a series of web articles about the hypothesis in the late 1990s.[3] Lawrence has since published and lectured about the hypothesis.[4][5][6]

The hypothesis received wider attention with the 2003 publication of Bailey's popular psychology book The Man Who Would Be Queen. The book is written for a public audience;[7] instead of citing sources, figures, or statistics to support the assertions made, Bailey uses anecdotal evidence to illustrate the hypothesis. The book contains his casual observations as well as quotations from casual conversations.

Lynn Conway and Andrea James responded to Lawrence's essay. Then Conway started an investigation into the publication of Bailey's book by the United States National Academy of Sciences. Accusations of misconduct on the part of Bailey were leveled. Eventually, Bailey resigned from his position as head of psychology at Northwestern University.

Scientific arguments regarding Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence theory.Edit

Psychologist Madeline Wyndzen notes several possible scientific concerns with Blanchard's entire model. Critics such as Madeline Wyndzen suggest that, since correlations do not establish causality, Blanchard may be mistaking a symptom of gender dysphoria for its primary cause.[8] She has said:

  • Correlational evidence is used to make causal claims. Rather than causing transsexualism, transsexuals may fantasize about being their target sex to compensate for feeling disconnected from their identities.
  • No comparisons are made with control groups of typically-gendered women. Those attracted to their own sex, regardless of if they are transsexual, may pay more attention to themselves as sexual beings.
  • Correlations with sexual orientation are not sufficient to assert that there are two types of transsexual women. The evidence for two types of transsexuals may instead be correlations with sexual orientation that can also be found among non-transsexual.
  • Furthermore, the distributions of sexual orientation among transsexuals do not reveal two categorically distinct groups.

Wyndzen notes that a significant concern raised by the history of this theory may be that it begins by assuming there is something wrong with transsexual people. This may distort what is meant to be scientific account. A scientific theory might begin with the objective question, "What is transsexualism?" Instead, Wyndzen notes that Blanchard asks in his research, "What kind of defect in a males capacity for sexual learning could produce anatomic autogynephilia, transvestism, ..".[9]

Criticism of the Homosexual transsexual hypothesisEdit

In his 1966 classic The Transsexual Phenomenon, Harry Benjamin writes:

The term "homosexuality" has never impressed me as very fortunate. It indicates an exclusiveness and a finality that exists in only a relatively small group of men, those who are entirely homosexual. According to Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin, this group (the 6 on their rating scale) applies to not more than 4% of the total male population.

[[...]] If we allow ourselves the use of the term "bisexuality" in this 46%, it is evident that the term homosexuality is applied much too often. The reason is that even one homosexual contact in a man's life, if it becomes known, all too often stamps him forever as a homosexual which, of course, he is not.

Furthermore, homosexual orientation may be a symptom, as are transvestism and transsexualism, with a variety of possible causes and inceptions. These causes and inceptions may be anchored in an inherited or congenital (constitutional) predisposition or they may be an acquired condition.|[10]

Leavitt and Berger noted:

The homosexual transsexual label is both confusing and controversial among males seeking sex reassignment. Transsexuals, as a group, vehemently oppose the label and its pejorative baggage (Morgan, 1978).[11] As a rule, they are highly invested in a heterosexual life-style and are repulsed by notions of homosexual relations with males. Attention from males often serves to validate their feminine status. For many biological male transsexuals, acts of intimacy with women are truncated, because sexual attraction and relations with women pose the homosexual issue.[12]

Criticism of the notion of AutogynephiliaEdit

Main article: Autogynephilia

This portion of the theory has also been questioned on the grounds that it does not properly account for the behavior and self-identification of a great many transsexual and transgender women. Proponents of the hypothesis have asserted that "autogynephiles," persons who are assumed to fit this model, are willfully deceiving others in claiming to exhibit behavior that does not fit within it.[13] J. Michael Bailey, a notable proponent, quotes Clarke Institute employee Maxine Petersen as saying "most gender patients lie" and he himself claims that "the most common way that autogynephiles mislead others is by denying the erotic components of their gender bending" (pp. 172–173).[14] In addition, he has claimed that "Blanchard has shown in a couple of clever studies that non-homosexual transgender patients who deny autogynephilia still show evidence for it."[15] On the one hand, the assertion that any transperson who claims not to fit into this framework must be "lying" has been widely criticized as making this model unscientific because it becomes unfalsifiable. On the other hand, there are clear examples of transwomen who vehemently deny autogynephilic motivation but show clear evidence for it. One famous example (Anjelica Kieltyka, whose pseudonym was "Cher" in Bailey's book and who subsequently attacked Bailey's interpretation of her behavior) became transsexual after a long history of fetishistic cross dressing and wearing of fake vagina's and breasts.[16] Deirdre McCloskey,another well-known transsexual wrote a biography describing her long history of fetishistic cross dressing and interest in transsexual pornography.[17]Critics and proponents of autogynephilia theory seem to differ in how much they credit the narratives of transwomen as accurate.[18]

Another criticism of Blanchard Bailey and Lawrence Theory is that it defines gender dysphoria as a strictly sexual phenomenon. That is, it assumes that transwomen feminize their bodies in order to fulfill a sexual desire for the attention of heterosexual men or for their own fetishistic pleasure.[19] This appears to be contradicted by the fact that the effects of testosterone-blocking medications (and later, removal of the testicles) reduce libido in many transwomen.[20]


Transmen, that is female-to-male transgender persons, are only briefly mentioned by Blanchard. According to data from his clinic, most transmen are of the "homosexual" type, that is attracted to women.[21] He thinks it is unlikely that an analogue to autogynephilia exists among natal women since, according to proponents of the theory, "all paraphilias occur exclusively (or nearly exclusively) in men".[14] The omission of transmen from Blanchard Bailey and Lawrence theory represents a limitation in its applicability. (Compare to Newtons laws#Importance and range of validity for what happens when a theory is applied outside its data domain) Which means it is not a truly fundamental theory of transsexual etiology.

Scientific study sparked by the controversyEdit

Many of these concerns were addressed in a peer reviewed scientific study conducted in the Netherlands by Yolanda Smith et al. which could have supported or refuted Blanchards theory, as well as Bailey, and Lawrences observations in support of that theory. Smith et al. found...[22]


The inclusion of the terms "homosexual transsexual" and "Autogynephilic transsexual" in DSM-IV by a subcommittee on gender identity disorders (GID)[23][24] will be debated as part of attempts at GID reform in the DSM-V.[25]

Ad hominem arguments.Edit

According to the wiktionary Ad hominem is a shortened form of a phrase that literally means "argument at the man". An ad hominem is an attempt to discredit an argument based on the flaws of the person who made the argument. This controversy is rife with arguments that are by definition ad hominem. This is a non-comprehensive summary of the ad hominem arguments that have been posed. Listed in alphabetical order as determined by last name or alias. The fact that an argument is an ad hominem does not imply that it must be false. It does imply that it is a personal attack not truly connected to the issue at hand.


This blanket statement was used by Diedre McCloskey to discredit Bailey by the number of people he spoke to.


This statement by Kelly Novak, on a page owned by Andrea James intimates that "Alma" is racially slurring Hispanics.


Bailey, J. MichaelEdit

Lynn Conway, Anjelica Kieltyka, and "Maria" accused Bailey of having had sexual relations with "Maria".[26] Lynn Conway accused Bailey of having practiced clinical psychology without a license.[27] In a 46 page report Dr Conway made many accusations of misconduct. Summarized in her own words "In summary, the new complaint contains hard evidence implicating Mr. Bailey in, among other things, (i) deliberate failures to examine counter-evidence to the theory he was studying, (ii) open defamation of those who put forward counter-evidence to that theory, (iii) the making of “remote clinical diagnoses” of mental illnesses in persons he has not ever even met, (iv) libel, (v) flagrant abuses of the power of his office and (vi) the deliberate suppression of complaints by colleagues about such conduct."[28]


One notable ad hominem swept up Blanchard, Lawrence, and Bailey. It appeared on Lynn Conway's website.[29] This was offered to "debunk" an idea of Anne Lawrences.


Conway, LynnEdit

Like many other people involved with this controversy, Conway has been the subject of ad hominem attacks that center on her emotional reaction to The Man Who Would Be Queen. In a paraphrase of Bailey, Dreger implies that critics of Bailey's are "autogynephilic transsexuals":[30]


Dreger, AliceEdit

James has written


She has also written about Dreger:


James, AndreaEdit

The following was written by Kira Triea a commentary on an interaction, or several interactions on an online forum(s). In her commentary she intimates that James is an Autogynephile which would be perceived as an insult by James. These are two reactions to opening posted on BBS which is run by Andrea James.



She has been accused of "intimidation" in the context of arguing against her point of view by Alice Dreger as well.[31] An example of the type of things Dreger has written can be found in "The Blog I write in fear.," where she writes about James alleged intimidation of others and goes on to write:


Kieltyka, AnjelicaEdit

On many occasions Kieltyka (known as "Cher" in The Man Who Would Be Queen) has been said to be a prime example of Autogynepilia. Notably by Bailey on page 156 of The Man Who Would Be Queen.


She has reportedly been accused of stalking by Conway.


Lawrence, AnneEdit

Anne Lawrence has been involved in this controversy longer than most people. So she has had many many ad hominem arguments directed at her. In particular this one which also takes swipes at two other people.


McCloskey, DeirdreEdit

Deirdre McCloskey has been the subject of many ad hominem arguments related to this subject. The most common one being based on her biography. For example Bailey in[14] page 217


This has been cited and used to defame McCloskey by many people.


This blanket statement was used by Deirdre McCloskey to discredit a number of the people Bailey spoke to.

"Bailey portrays himself according to Rodkin as an "impartial social scientist," who looks at "aggregates," "lots of similar cases." According to Rodkin, Professor Bailey "has the goal of finding commonalities among groups of individuals."

You bet. Professor Bailey's "lots of similar cases" were a half dozen Hispanic drag queens and prostitutes he met in bars in Chicago. "[32]

Triea, Kiira and ""Edit

In a long document "Kiira Triea (Denise Tree) and the "transkids" hoax" James catalogs various points in the life of Triea, such as her various gender and sexual identities, her youthful attempt at a musical career, her use of Linux.[33] One statement that really stands out is "I am not the first to point out that Triea's adamant claims of not being transsexual are especially interesting in light of which "type" she is if she is in fact transsexual. Triea displays many hallmarks of others who claim to have "autogynephilia"[33]"

Collectively the "transkids" have been the subject of an alleged ad hominem attack, in the form of the denial of their very existence. In particular, there is "Stephanie Alejandra Velázquez".[34]


The point of all of this is in James's words "Now that computer forensics on the fakery got that site shut down in late 2006, the next major fake site to vector and expose is Similar investigations in the past have led to the demise of Changez Le Monde and other bogus sites by people claiming to represent young transsexual women."[34]


Similar arguments have been used throughout the transgendered community, as sides were chosen over this issue.

Critics argue that those who embrace this model as an identity are participating in their own pathologization.[35] The pathologization of socially unaccepted erotic interests has a long history, and recent clinical diagnoses such as "egodystonic homosexuality" and "nymphomania" have fallen into disrepute. Other transsexual and transgender people who describe erotic elements to their feelings take issue with Blanchard's terminology because it diagnoses a psychosexual pathology.[36]


  1. Blanchard, R. (1989). The concept of autogynephilia and the typology of male gender dysphoria. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 177, 616–623.
  2. Blanchard, Ray (2004). The Origins of the Concept of Autogynephilia. The Autogynephilia Resource. Retrieved 9 January 2005
  3. Lawrence AA (1998). "Men Trapped in Men's Bodies:"An Introduction to the Concept of Autogynephilia. originally published at, October 1998. Retrieved August 21, 2006)
  4. Lawrence, A. A. (2007). Becoming what we love: Autogynephilic transsexualism conceptualized as an expression of romantic love. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 50, 506–520.
  5. Lawrence, A. A. (2005). Sexuality before and after male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 147–166.
  6. Ekins R, King D (2001). Transgendering, Migrating and Love of Oneself as a Woman: A Contribution to a Sociology of Autogynephilia. International Journal of Transgenderism Volume 5, Number 3
  7. Cantor, J. M. (2003, Summer). Review of the book The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey. Newsletter of Division 44 of the American Psychological Association, 19(2), 6.
  8. Wyndzen MH (2004). Correlation versus Causality: Is it sexual deviance, compensation, or just a fantasy?
  9. Wyndzen MH (2004). A Personal & Scientific look at a Mental Illness Model of transsexualism (PDF) Division 44 Newsletter, v.20(1), 3, American Psychological Association
  10. Benjamin H (1966). The Transsexual Phenomenon. The Julian Press ASIN: B0007HXA76
  11. Morgan AJ Jr (1978). Psychotherapy for transsexual candidates screened out of surgery. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 7: 273-282.|
  12. Leavitt F, Berger JC (1990). Clinical patterns among male transsexual candidates with erotic interest in males. Archives of Sexual Behavior, full text Volume 19, Number 5 / October, 1990
  13. Blanchard R, Clemmensen LH, Steiner BW (1985). Social desirability response set and systematic distortion in the self-report of adult male gender patients. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1985 Dec;14(6):505-16.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 [J. Michael] (2003). The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism.. Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 233. 10530. ISBN 0-309-08418-0. 
  15. Rodkin D (December 12 2003). Sex and Transsexuals. The Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 27, 2006
  16. Bailey JM ( 2003). [1]. Retrieved May 16, 2007
  17. [|McCloskey, Deirdre N.] (1999), Crossing A Memoir, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637: The University of Chicago, 080706050403020100345, ISBN 0-226-55669-7, 0-226-5566-9, <> 
  18. Doctor RF, Fleming JS. Measures of Transgender Behavior. Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 30, Number 3 / June, 2001
  19. Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment Laws DR, O'Donohue WT (1997). Guilford Press ISBN 978-1572302410
  20. Cohen-Kettenis PT, Gooren LJG. The Influence of Hormone Treatment on Psychological Functioning of Transsexuals. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality. Volume: 5 Issue: 4 ISSN: 0890-7064 Pub Date: 5/28/1993
  21. Chivers ML, Bailey JM. Sexual Orientation of Female-to-Male Transsexuals: A Comparison of Homosexual and Non-homosexual Types. Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 29, Number 3 / June, 2000
  22. Smith, Yolanda L.S.; Stephanie Van Goozen, Aj Kupier, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis (2005-12-15). "Transsexual subtypes: Clinical and theoretical significance" (PDF). Psychiatry Research 137 (3): 151–160. Elsevier. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2005.01.008. Retrieved on 2007-06-26.</cite>  </li>
  23. Bradley SJ, Blanchard R, Coates S, Green R, Levine SB, Meyer-Bahlburg HFL, Pauly IB, Zucker KJ. Interim report of the DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Identity Disorders. Archives of Sexual Behavior </li>
  24. Pauly IB. Terminology and Classification of Gender Identity Disorders. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality Volume: 5 Issue: 4 ISSN: 0890-7064 Pub Date: 5/28/1993 </li>
  25. Istar Lev A. Disordering Gender Identity Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-IV-TR. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, Volume 17, Numbers 3-4, 3 February 2006, pp. 35-69(35) </li>
  26. [ Evidence and complaints filed against J. Michael Bailey for practicing as a clinical psychologist without a license, and then subsequently publishing confidential clinical case-history information without permissions]. </li>
  27. </li>
  28. [,%202004%20Complaint.htm The "May 10 Complaint" A new, confidential formal complaint of research misconduct is filed against J. Michael Bailey at Northwestern University]. </li>
  29. With the theory of autogynephilia in disarray, Blanchard and Lawrence propose a theory that transsexualism is an "amputation fetish", by "lumping" GID, BIID and apotemnophilia.. </li>
  30. Dreger, A. D. (2008). The controversy surrounding The Man Who Would Be Queen: A case history of the politics of science, identity, and sex in the Internet age. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 366-421. </li>
  31. The blog I write in fear.. </li>
  32. </li>
  33. 33.0 33.1 [Andrea]. Kiira Triea (Denise Tree) and the "transkids" hoax. Retrieved on 2007-08-20. </li>
  34. 34.0 34.1 [Andrea] (2007-05-19). Stephanie Alejandra Velasquez on "autogynephilia". (html). </li>
  35. R, Raj. Towards a Transpositive Therapeutic Model: Developing Clinical Sensitivity and Cultural Competence in the Effective Support of Transsexual and Transgendered Clients. International Journal of Transgenderism, Volume 6, Number 2, 2002]. </li>
  36. D, McCloskey. Queer Science. Reason Magazine, November 2003]. </li></ol>

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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