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J. Michael Bailey: 2004 clinical psychology license inquiry

Psychologist J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University related several stories in The Man Who Would Be Queen which he obtained from transgender women while presenting himself as a clinical psychologist. Bailey was not licensed to practice by the State of Illinois and has never been licensed there.

My initial inquiry

1 March 2004

Illinois Department of Professional Regulation 
320 West Washington Street, 3rd Floor 
Springfield, IL 62786

To whom it may concern:

I am conducting an investigation of a psychologist named John Michael Bailey, Ph.D. Please provide any documentation from your department regarding four matters:

  1. Evidence regarding any application for licensure in clinical psychology by John Michael Bailey, Ph.D. between 1993 and present.
  2. Evidence regarding any granting of licensure in clinical psychology for John Michael Bailey, Ph.D. between 1993 and present.
  3. Clarification of Illinois law as it pertains to Dr. Bailey; namely, whether he was required to be licensed in order to enter into therapeutic relationships and diagnose clients between 1993 and present.
  4. Determination whether Dr. Bailey is in violation of 225 ILCS 15/16.5 and 225 ILCS 15/26, practicing without a license, which may carry civil and criminal penalties.

The first two requests regarding application and certification are routine. Your online lookup provided four licensees with the last name Bailey, none of whom were the subject of this investigation. I have enclosed a check for $20 to cover the certification fee.

The other two requests are more complex and require some background information.

Prior to 1993 and continuing to the date of this letter, Dr. Bailey has been an employee of Northwestern University in Evanston, in their Department of Psychology. Dr. Bailey is currently under investigation by Northwestern regarding his professional and procedural conduct when interacting with human subjects. I am trying to determine if he has violated your department’s regulations.

At issue are several therapeutic relationships Dr. Bailey undertook with gender-variant clients since 1993. According to Standards of Care established by HBIGDA, an organization of professionals specializing in the needs of gender-variant people, clients must obtain approval from a licensed and credentialed mental health professional to receive medical services. [1]

I am in possession of three letters from Dr. Bailey on Northwestern letterhead, sent on behalf of three separate clients to three different surgeons who follow the HBIGDA Standards of Care. In each of these letters, Dr. Bailey holds himself out as “an expert” and implies that he has the required documented credentials.

I am unable to ascertain if Dr. Bailey was licensed to enter into such clinical relationships, or if licensure was required for him. A reading of 225 ILCS 15 seems open to interpretation whether Dr. Bailey is required to be licensed to perform clinical psychology.

It is clear that Dr. Bailey held himself out to these clients and practitioners as rendering clinical psychological services, and that this may not have been for money, but for “other consideration,” namely gathering data for a book published in 2003, or for sex, as alleged by one woman who states she received an “approval letter” and later performed a sexual favor for Dr. Bailey.

Any assistance your office can provide in this matter would be deeply appreciated. I am happy to pay any reasonable fees associated with processing and duplication.


1. Standards of Care Version 6: “The mental health professional should have documented credentials from a proper training facility and a licensing board.”

State of Illinois response

Illinois certification that J. Michael Bailey has no psychology license

Illinois Department of Professional Regulation

Fernando E. Grillo

Rod R. Blagojevich

April 5, 2004

To Whom It May Concern:

I, Daniel E. Bluthardt, to hereby certify that I have been designated by the Director as keeper of the records and seal of the Department of Professional Regulation, a department of the government of the State of Illinois, and that a standard search of the available records of this office indicates the following:


Department records were searched based upon the exact name and profession, as provided. Any variation in the name or profession may produce different results.

The information above is the only certification information provided by this Department. If other information is needed, it must be obtained from the above-named individual or the agency or institution which initially generated the information. To expedite the certification process, the above format is the standard format prepared for all professions regulated by this Department.

Daniel E. Bluthardt [initialed]
Deputy Director
Licensing & Testing Division
Respond to:

320 West Washington
3rd Floor
Springfield, Illinois 62786
TDD 217/524-6735 James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph
Suite 9-300
Chicago, Illinois 60601


Conway, Lynn (April 6, 2004). 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.

Dreger AD (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. https://10.1007/s10508-007-9301-1 Full text: [archive]


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