Bailey's sexism & analogies of "race"

J. Michael Bailey is a sexist. I'm not talking about those completely unsubstantiated rumors, of which I have absolutely no evidence whatsoever, honest, that he's fucking his way through his midlife crisis by banging any student, TA, or sex worker who will lie still long enough, like a Dad Who Would Be Lad.

Not that dime-a-dozen type of sexism, but a more rarified strain of that nasty little mind virus. I'm talking about academic sexism that is so fundamentally deep-seated in his little mind that he may not even understand what a sexist he is. He's like a carrier. Bailey is Patient Zero, or perhaps a modern Typhoid Mary (did I just say Mary?).

Oh, wait. This is about "race." I'll do my "Bailey as social disease" essay later.


I have been extremely reluctant to do a "race" analogy, because it often seems facile to do so. However, it's something I plan to discuss at length as time goes on. So here are some opening thoughts.

First, I am not contending that Bailey's virulent book and the effect it will have throughout the GLBT community is just like oppression based on the culturally-constructed notion of "race." Still, there are several interesting similarities.

Many have noted that our condition is somewhat analogous to people of African heritage who can "pass" for white. I have often noted that there are two groups who despise "miscegenation of the races:" white separatists and black separatists.

Those who despise "miscegenation of the sexes" could be called "male separatists" and "female separatists."

Same with sexuality: those like Bailey who pose arguments that males are not bisexual could be described as "gay separatists" and "straight separatists."

Bailey, a self-proclaimed "single, heterosexual male," has set himself up both personally and professionally as the champion for what one might call "straight-boy separatism." He has frequently claimed this as his unique selling proposition, to use a marketing term. As an outsider, he claims he is uniquely qualified to observe homosexuals and transsexuals. In fact, this "single, heterosexual male" bases much of his objective, rational stance on this positioning of himself. It's the source of his truth, and the reasons his observations can bee seen as truthful.

Single. Heterosexual. Male. The trifecta of truthfulness that makes Bailey such a qualified scientist with reliable, honest data.

He likes to claim his observations on gays are completely devoid of subjectivity, because he has absolutley no sexual feelings whatsoever that might be characterized as queer. Nope, not good old Bailey. Straight as they come, that one.

Problem is, as Daryl Bem points out in his model of Bailey's sexual behavior, the exotic becomes erotic. [1] In the way that octoroons (women who were one-eighth "black blood") were highly prized sexual possessions for the racists who could buy and sell them under that classification system, those who inhabit the gray area bewteen male and female, who appear completely female but are legally classified as male, are highly prized possessions for the sexists and heterosexists who can purchase their sexual services under the current classification system. In fact, the exoticized Other must be maintained as such to be exotic. Self-hating queers are usually the biggest homophobes, according to work done by Bailey's precious penile plethysmograph. [2] I'd dismiss such "scientific" evidence if presented by itself, but I have other evidence which is considerably more compelling. As I said, we are really just getting started on all this.

Not that Bailey could possibly be attracted to transsexuals and thus have to create a convoluted classification system in which he is still "heterosexual." Perish the thought. Not that Bailey himself is going to go down in history as a celebrated psychological case study somewhere between Little Hans and John Money. Perish that thought as well.

Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, analogies of race.

Here are a couple of things to read for starters.

Reading Genes in black and white

Profile of the late Florida State psychologist Glayde Whitney, who is Bailey's counterpart in the academic debate on race. Like Ray Blanchard, Whitney started off studying rats and then switched to humans. Like Bailey, this professor who wrote a preface to David Duke's book on race caused an uproar on campus by claiming all sorts of things based on supposed genetic differences between two groups of people. Since Bailey is about to become a darling of the conservative movement, let me share a quote which shows how Bailey is about to be depicted:

"Beneath the ostensibly anecdotal tale of a lone racist professor lurks the more unsettling suggestion of a movement. Follow a link or two from Whitney's personal Web page and an extensive community emerges. Race-focused behavioral geneticists clamor to defend the legitimacy of their project. Eugenecists lament that Adolf Hitler gave their vision a bad name. Publishers of so-called scientific journals -- Upstream, Mankind Quarterly, American Renaissance -- assault what they often refer to as "politically correct" taboos in the name of heroic honesty."

Institute for the study of academic racism

A clearinghouse similar to this one, but for academic racism. This gives a good sense of what will need to be built to deal with Bailey.

This satirical site has the pitch-perfect tone for how I see Bailey: a laughably clueless bigot who thinks he's enlightened. Just replace race with transgenderism. I may even make a site one day called, as soon as I get enough photos of Bailey. One of the funniest things on the internet, so check it out.


1. Bem, D.

2. Adams, HE. Is Homophobia associated with Homosexual Arousal? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, (1996, Vol. 105, no. 3, pp. 440-445).