A note regarding Bailey’s children

Many of us are outraged by J. Michael Bailey’s lurid book on transsexualism and his crass self-promotion surrounding it. I doubt there is anyone more infuriated by his intellectual dishonesty and reckless lack of respect for women in my community than I am, for reasons I will be outlining on the Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence clearinghouse over the next several months.

In April, I let Bailey’s bigotry and my anger about it get the best of me, and I wrote a response which some felt was over the line.

In retrospect, I see the error of my ways.

Bailey characterized it as a “tantrum,” and I suppose that’s accurate. During the course of the ongoing investigation into Bailey, I have come to see how my attempt to reach him emotionally was counter-productive and getting in the way of attempts by myself and others to explain why his book is so offensive.

This note offers an explanation of why I took the tack I did, which should not be construed as an excuse for what I did.

At the time I wrote the piece, I used an analogy with Bailey’s children and wife in hopes he’d have an emotional response that would make him understand how he was hurting real people with what he was doing. Reading about his lectures mocking gender-variant children made me sick, and I hoped he would make the emotional connection between his use of children and my use of children whom I thought he would not look at as subjects for study or objects to be used.

I did not know at that time that Bailey had abandoned his wife and children seven years ago, around the exact same time he started “researching” transsexuals. If I had known of his failures as a husband and father, and his inability to maintain an emotional and religious commitment to his family, I would have realized my analogy would have fallen on deaf ears.

It was not until this week that I saw just how far gone Bailey is emotionally. Had I known Bailey had no qualms about using his own children the way he used gender-variant children to promote himself and his homophobic theories, I would never have given him the chance to do so.

Initial contact and my apology to his ex-family

Bailey’s son contacted me this week after hearing about my essay. I replied with my sincere apologies to him, his sister, and their mother. Because he had apparently not seen the original, I sent the following explanation (again, not an excuse):

The caption I had under your photo is a direct quotation from the book your father dedicated to you and your sister. I completely understand how you would find that sort of defamation to be so offensive. I was enraged to be depicted that way myself. In fact, I had mentioned that passage specifically three years ago in a letter to your father, as a slur that stood out among an entire book of slurs. He published it unchanged.

I replaced those photos of you and your sister with images of my own when it became clear your father was actually sending people to that page, rather than understanding how disrespectful he was being to children in his lectures. I can't believe he's also been displaying you for reporters in his bid for fame.

This also gave me a chance to apologize in advance for what his ex-family is about to find out regarding Bailey's sexual activity and issues, and the pain and embarrassment it may cause them.

I explained that women in my community invited his father to their homes and weddings, and he repaid this hospitality and openness with commentary about his hosts that is inaccurate, condescending, and hurtful. I also alerted him that his father is on a very self-destructive path right now, and that he should seriously consider trying to get him some sort of help.

I'm sure this was a lot to take in, but I have left the door open for continued correspondence.

So to those who wrote in support of the essay, thank you, but I want to extend a bigger thanks to those who wrote to criticize me.

No one should feel they are above criticism.


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