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Paul Vasey vs. transgender people

Paul L. Vasey is a Canadian psychologist who promotes harmful ideas about sex and gender minorities, especially transgender and gender diverse people and those who love us:

Vasey is one of the last of the old-school Canadian evolutionary psychologists allied with fired sexologist Kenneth Zucker. Vasey’s coauthors and associates are part of an activist minority in sexology, most of whom are cisgender and born before 1970. Vasey holds some supportive views, but they are all colored by an embrace of unscientific and pseudoscientific terminology created by Vasey’s friends. Science and its operational definitions must be value-neutral in order to produce bias-free scientific results.


Paul L. Vasey (born January 30, 1966 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1989, then earned a master’s degree from Simon Fraser University in 1991. Vasey earned a doctorate from Université de Montréal in 1997. Vasey’s dissertation was on Japanese macaques under advisor Bernard Chapais. Vasey then did postdoctoral work at Université de Montréal, Concordia University (Montréal) and York University.

Vasey was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Lethbridge in 2000. While preparing to teach a course on sex and gender, Vasey became interested in Samoan fa’afafine culture. Vasey describes them as “feminine, same-sex attracted males that are recognized as a non-binary gender.” Vasey’s partner is Vaitulia Alatina Ioelu, a self-identified Samoan fa’afafine.

Vasey is a close collaborator with Anne Lawrence. Vasey gave Lawrence a job and is acknowledged in Lawrence’s publications for the International Academy of Sex Research.

Archival material

Vasey co-authored a paper with two Concordia University psychologists on childhood gender diversity.

Bartlett NH, Vasey PL, Bukowski WM (2000) Is gender identity disorder in children a mental disorder? Sex Roles, 43 11/12, 753-785. Article ID: 299688 

Empirical studies were evaluated to determine whether Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in children meets the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-4th Edition ( DSM-IV, American Psychiatric Association, 1994) definitional criteria of mental disorder. Specifically, we examined whether GID in children is associated with (a) present distress; (b) present disability; (c) a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom; and if (d) GID represents dysfunction in the individual or is simply deviant behavior or a conflict between the individual and society. The evaluation indicates that children who experience a sense of inappropriateness in the culturally prescribed gender role of their sex but do not experience discomfort with their biological sex should not be considered to have GID. Because of flaws in the DSM-IV definition of mental disorder, and limitations of the current research base, there is insufficient evidence to make any conclusive statement regarding children who experience discomfort with their biological sex. The concluding recommendation is that, given current knowledge, the diagnostic category of GID in children in its current form should not appear in future editions of the DSM .

Below is a course description for Vasey’s Sex & Gender Diversity (Psychology 3850) Spring 2003

In this course, we will explore issues related to sex and gender diversity. To this end, we will critically examine the binary construction of sex and gender through such topics as intersexuality, gender identity disorder, and “third” sexes and genders in non-Western societies. A central part of this theoretical examination involves discussing the real-world consequences individuals face for deliberately or inadvertently transgress dichotomous sex and gender boundaries. 

Required Readings: 

(1) Kessler, S. (1997). Lessons From the Intersexed. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, New Jersey. 

(2) Course-pack containing Chapter #1, “Behavior,” from: Burke, P. (1996). Gender Shock: Exploding the Myths of Male and Female.Anchor Books, Doubleday: New York. 

(3) Additional short readings drawn mainly from popular magazine will be distributed in class.

Below is a course description for Vasey’s Science & Sexuality (Psychology 4000NA) Spring 2004

In this seminar, we will explore the controversy surrounding the publication of J. Michael Bailey’s book, “ The Man Who Would be Queen .”  Bailey’s book deals with the subject of male femininity through such topics as gender identity disorder in childhood, homosexuality, transvestitism, and male-to-female (MtF) transsexualism. Although reaction from the gay community has been largely unremarkable, the book has ignited a storm of protest in the MtF transexual community. In particular, some transsexual women dispute Bailey’s claim (based on the work by Toronto sexologist, Ray Blanchard) that there are two distinct sub-categories of MtF transsexuals: homosexual versus autogynephilic.  

We will familiarize ourselves with the controversy by reading The Man Who Would be Queen and the contents of two websites managed by transsexual women, [] & Lynn Conway, who are spearheading the response to Bailey. We will then critically investigate the evidence for each point of view. We will begin by examining the claim that two specific types of MtF transsexuals exist primarily by reading scientific articles written by Ray Blanchard and Anne Lawrence.  Anne Lawrence, a Seattle-based doctor who specializes in sexual medicine, is a self-identified autogynephilic transsexual woman and a supporter of Blanchard’s work.  We will then read “ True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism ” by Mildred L. Brown & Chloe Ann Rounsley and “ Mom, I Need to Be a Girl ,” by Just Evelyn,  which [], Lynn Conway and several transsexual advocacy groups highly recommend as a more accurate depiction of the MtF transsexual experience and an alternative to the Bailey/Blanchard model.  Through the semester we will weigh the evidence for, and against, Blanchard’s dichotomous conceptualization of transsexuality.  In addition to the readings, documentary films on homosexuality, cross-dressing and transsexualism will be screened during the last hour of some seminar classes. 
Required Readings :

(1) Bailey, J.M. (2003).  The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science and Psychology of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism . NY: Joseph Henry Press. 
(2)  Additional required readings will be placed on reserve in the library.

Website resources :

[] website on the Bailey controversy is:

Lynn Conway’s website on the Bailey controversy is:

Anne Lawrence’s writings on autogynephila can be found at:

http://www.annelawrence. com/sexualityindex.html 

(1)  “Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies:” An Introduction to the Concept of Autogynephilia” 
(2)  Sexuality and Transsexuality: A New Introduction to Autogynephilia 
(3)  Autogynephilia: Frequently-Asked Questions 
(4)  28 Narratives About Autogynephila 
(5)  31 New Narratives About Autogynephilia

Michael Bailey’s responses to his critics can be found at:

The reading, “Mom, I Need to be a Girl,” can be found at:

The reading “Transgendering, Migrating and Love of Oneself as a Woman: A Contribution to a Sociology of Autogynephilia,” by Richard Ekins and Dave King can be found at: .

A reading by Carl Elliot on apotemnophilia can be found at:

A review by Carl Elliot of the documentary “WHOLE” can be found at:


Vasey responded to Robert Spitzer’s “gay cure” claims.


Selected publications

Men’s sexual interest in feminine trans individuals across cultures

LJ Petterson, PL Vasey

The Journal of Sex Research, 1-19

NH Bartlett, PL Vasey, WM Bukowski (2000). Is gender identity disorder in children a mental disorder? Sex Roles 43 (11), 753-785

Is transgendered male androphilia familial in non-Western populations? The case of a Samoan village

DP VanderLaan, JR Vokey, PL Vasey

Archives of Sexual Behavior 42 (3), 361-370

The Evolution of Role Specialization in Transgender Androphilic Males

P Vasey

International Academy of Sex Research

(Trans) gender role expectations and child care in Samoa

DP VanderLaan, LJ Petterson, RW Mallard, PL Vasey

The Journal of Sex Research 52 (6), 710-720

Reconsidering male bisexuality: Sexual activity role and sexual attraction in Samoan men who engage in sexual interactions with Fa’afafine.

LJ Petterson, BJ Dixson, AC Little, PL Vasey

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity 3 (1), 11

A comparison of the reproductive output among the relatives of Samoan androphilic fa’afafine and gynephilic men

SW Semenyna, LJ Petterson, DP VanderLaan, PL Vasey

Archives of Sexual Behavior 46 (1), 87-93

Bailey JM, Vasey PL, Diamond LM, Breedlove SM, Vilain E, Epprecht (2016). Sexual orientation, controversy, and science (vol 17, pg 45, 2016) Psychological Science in the Public Interest

Vasey PL (2017). Paul Vasey. In: Vonk, J., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer, Cham

LJ Petterson, BJ Dixson, AC Little, PL Vasey (2018) Viewing time and self-report measures of sexual attraction in Samoan cisgender and transgender androphilic males. Archives of Sexual Behavior 47 (8), 2427-2434

Media appearances

Vasey is a frequent guest of anti-trans extremists Sasha Ayad and Stella O’Malley.

Episode 57 (January 6, 2022)

Episode 68 (March 25, 2022)


University of Lethbridge (

Twitter (