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Alice Dreger vs. transgender people

Alice Dreger is an American historian and anti-transgender activist best known for exploiting minorities:

  • conjoined twins
  • little people
  • sex and gender minorities

Dreger is also known for disease mongering:

  • for people with differences of sex development
  • for sexual minorities
  • for gender diverse children (i.e., “The Big Problem With Outlawing Gender Conversion Therapies”)
  • for transgender and gender diverse adults
  • for people in the kink community (i.e. Fetishes I Don’t Get)

Dreger’s anti-trans activism includes:

Dreger has been involved in a number of other controversies, including:

  • appearing on “TV exploitation gigs” as an expert who exploits minorities
  • sustained attacks on pediatrician Maria New via the site [archive] and the book Galileo’s Middle Finger
  • local news site East Lansing Info
    • sustained attacks on local leaders and businesses
    • installing election denier Anne Hill as interim Executive Director
  • Writing a second work of fiction following the success of the first, Galileo’s Middle Finger, this time under the name Molly Macallen, titled The Index Case

Dreger was one of the first members named to the Intellectual Dark Web, described as a “gateway to the far right.” Dreger has tried to disavow the group since 2018, rebranding as an “academic freedom” crusader. Dreger has gone on to get money and attention by claiming to be oppressed or silenced by the minorities that Dreger exploits. Biologist Julia Serano describes this tactic as the “Dregerian narrative.” Dreger’s tactics are described by social scientists as DARVO (Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender).

The “academic freedom” marketing ploy is a grift in Dreger’s case. Dreger does everything possible to shut down criticism at academic events. Dreger tried and failed to stop me from speaking at Northwestern University in 2006, which led to a multi-year obsession with me. Then Dreger tried and failed to shut down an entire 2008 panel at the National Women’s Studies Association conference. That panel was about Dreger’s earlier attempts to impinge on our academic freedom.

Below is my exposĂ© on Kenneth Zucker, the reparative therapist of gender diverse children who published Dreger’s defense of J. Michael Bailey. That defense was later republished in Galileo’s Middle Finger, but without Dreger’s unsupportable claims clearing Bailey of fabricating the Danny Ryan case report. Zucker was fired a few months after this exposĂ©.

In 2019, the town where Dreger lives outlawed the anti-transgender “therapy” that Dreger and Zucker support.

Sexology’s war on transgender children (2015)

In this section

Alice Dreger biography: timeline to transphobia

Alice Dreger vs. people with differences of sex development

Alice Dreger’s attacks on academic freedom

Alice Dreger defends J. Michael Bailey on KQED

Galileo’s Middle Finger


Aronson J (2006). Beautiful Daughters. Logo.

Baechler M-N (2006). DSD – Silencing intersex voices – Switzerland Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s.

Bailey JM (2003). The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism. Joseph Henry Press.
[online version removed in February 2006]

Carey B (2005). Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited. New York Times, 5 July 2005.

Carey B (2007a). Alice Dreger paper/NY Times questions. Personal email correspondence to the author, 2 August.

Carey B (2007b). Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege, New York Times, 21 August 2007.

Conway L (2003 ff.). An investigation into the publication of J. Michael Bailey’s book on transsexualism by the National Academies.

Costich J, Hinkle C (2006). Talking About What Matters? A response to Alice Dreger.

Diamond M (2006). Variations of Sex Development Instead of Disorders of Sex Development.
Replying to Hughes IA et al. Consensus statement on management of intersex disorders. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2006; 91: 554-563 A (1994). What is the deal? bionet.women-in-bio, 24 May

The Hermaphrodite Monger ADREGER at UCS.INDIANA.EDU

Dreger, Alice (June 22, 2011). Trans Advocates (At Least Where Genderqueer Kids Are Concerned). The Stranger

See also Dreger A (1994). Unsubscribing. bionet.women-in-bio,  27 September
“From: ADREGER@UCS.INDIANA.EDU (‘Alice Dreger, Hermaphrodite Monger’).”

Dreger AD, Chase C, Sousa A, Gruppuso PA, Frader, J (2005). Changing the nomenclature/taxonomy for intersex: a scientific and clinical rationale. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, 18. 729-733. Dreger’s original proposal was “disorders of sex differentiation,” later revised to “disorders of sex development.”

Dreger A (2006a). What are Disorders of Sex Development? Quoted by April Herndon on blog, 14 March 2006.

See citation at Brömdal A (2006). Intersex – A challenge for human rights and citizenship rights (PDF), p. 109. 
[now removed, copy preserved at Fact Sheet on DSD activism (with footnotes) at OII]

We realize, of course, that any terminology including the word “disorder” can be construed as pejorative. We’d also like to emphasize that we use the abbreviated form of DSD whenever possible. Explaining why this is important, Alice Dreger writes, “we find that, when accompanied by an explanation of what we mean, DSD isn’t terribly stigmatizing. And an important point: the acronym DSD is very useful—and thus, the acronym should be favored over the spelled-out term— because as an abbreviation we don’t focus on ‘disorder’.” We explain what we mean, and then use the term “DSDs.” Thus, we recognize that this is not a perfect term, but we hope ISNA’s supporters and allies will understand that it’s helping us enact real change in medical care.

Dreger A (2006b). Talking about what matters. [archive]

Dreger A (2006c). Consortium on Disorders of Sex Development. [archive]

Dreger A (2006d).  Get thee to a hospital. 14 August 2006

Dreger A (2006e). The blog I write in fear. 13 May 2006

Dreger A (2006f). A follow-up on my encounter with Andrea James. 7 June 2006

Dreger A (2006g) DSD terminology. 1 October 2006. Full letter at Appendix 2.

Dreger A (2007, in press) 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.

Ensler E, Tennyson J (2005). Vagina Warriors. Bulfinch Press.

FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (2005). New York Times Suggests Bisexuals Are “Lying:” Paper fails to disclose study author’s controversial history. 8 July 2005.

GLAAD: Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (2005). New York Times Promotes Bisexual Stereotypes in “Straight, Gay or Lying?”

Guillot V (2006). We in France are deeply concerned about the DSD guidelines and the very terminology. Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s.

Hinkle C (2006). Personal email correspondence to the author, 27 May 2006.

James A (1998). Personal email correspondence to Anne Lawrence. 9 November 1998. Full letter at Appendix 1.

James A (2003). The Anne Who Would Be Queen.

James A (2004). A defining moment in our history: Examining disease models of gender identity. Transgender Tapestry, Fall 2006, 110:pp. 18-23. Originally published September 2004.

Lamarre C (2006). Grosses bises solidaires! Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s.

LaramĂ©e J-C (2006). The title of Dreger’s blog entry says it all: Talking about What Matters. Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s

Lawrence (1998). “Men trapped in men’s bodies:” An Introduction to the Concept of Autogynephilia. annelawrence. com
[original now removed]

Nagant E (2006). We are not “disorders” ! Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s

NGLTF: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (2005). Task Force denounces New York Times story promoting bisexual stereotypes. 11 July 2005

O’Brien M (2006) Commentary. Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s

OII: Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s (2006). Alice Dreger: Disorders of Sex Development.

Roughgarden, J. (2003, April 25). Psychology lecture lacks sensitivity to sexual orientation. The Stanford Daily.

Siedlberg S (2006). The Genuine Question. Organisation Internationale des IntersexuĂ©s

Springer (2007) Archives of Sexual Behavior Editorial Board

State of Washington Department of Health (1997). Documentation in Anne A. Lawrence investigation, Case Number 97-05-0042MD.

Thomas A (2005). Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She. HBO.

McCullough, L. B., Chervenak, F. A., Brent, R. L., & Hippen, B. (2010). A Case Study in Unethical Transgressive Bioethics: “Letter of Concern from Bioethicists” About the Prenatal Administration of Dexamethasone. In The American Journal of Bioethics (Vol. 10, Issue 9, pp. 35–45). Informa UK Limited.

Wilson R (2004, Dec. 10). Northwestern U. will not reveal results of investigation into sex researcher. The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. 10.

International responses to Dreger’s rumor-mongering (e.g. Siedlberg 2006, O’Brien 2006, LaramĂ©e 2006, Guillot 2006, Lamarre 2006, Nagant 2006, Baechler 2006) suggest that her attempt to blame me for this controversy is being ignored. Dreger’s attempts to push her promotional materials and “consensus statements” about DSD are going to be challenged by farsighted activists who are finally speaking for themselves.

Todd Heywood (July 21, 2022). East Lansing Info installs election denier as interim executive director. Lansing City Pulse,21777

ELi Board of Directors (July 21, 2022). Following Deliberations, ELi’s Board Takes Action on Leadership Concern. East Lansing Info

Berl Schwartz and Todd Heywood (July 22, 2022). East Lansing Info kicks election denier off board. Lansing City Pulse,21861

Media by Dreger

Exploitation of people with differences of sex development

Alice Dreger, Hermaphrodite Monger (September 27, 1994). unsubscribing. bionet.women-in-bio

Little people exploitation

Dreger A (March 25, 2008). Lavish dwarf entertainment. The Hastings Center

At the time, I was writing a book about conjoined twins and had decided to open with amusing bar stories from people born with body types that mess with ideas of normal.

Conjoined twin exploitation

Dreger AD (May 26, 2011). Dr. Oz Can’t Afford Me: Why I’m through hawking conjoined twins on daytime TV. Fetishes I Don’t Get.


Alice Dreger ( [archive]

Wikipedia (

Twitter (

East Lansing Info (

TEDxNorthwesternU (

  • Alice Dreger [archive]
  • Is Anatomy Destiny? (December 2010)

Quillette (

LinkedIn (

Psychology Today (

IMDb (

The Atlantic (

LinkedIn (

Intersex Society of North America (

  • active 1998–2008
  • Alice Dreger [archive]

The Hastings Center (

  • Alice Dreger

Fetal Dex ( [archive]

  • Created to attack Dr. Maria New, active 2010-2022
  • Redirects to as of 2022