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Suzanne Woolsey vs. transgender people

Suzanne Woolsey was Chief Communications Officer for the publisher of the transphobic 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey.


Suzanne Haley “Sue” Woolsey was born in 1941. Woolsey is spouse of James Woolsey, who, among other things, served as Jimmy Carter’s first director of the CIA. James Woolsey is also a notable neoconservative, reaching that philosophy via a circuitous route through the corridors of liberal power.

Suzanne Woolsey’s 1970 dissertation was titled “Effects of experimenter race and segregated or desegregated school experience on some aspects of the social interaction of white and negro children.” Interestingly, experimenter effect is one of the chief scientific criticisms of the methodology used by Bailey, Ray Blanchard, and Anne Lawrence.

During the Carter Administration Woolsey served in high level positions in the Office of Management and Budget. During the Reagan Administration Woolsey worked outside of the government.

Woolsey began work at the National Academy of Sciences in 1989 as Executive Director of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences, responsible for oversight of all of the boards in those fields. Later Woolsey became chief operating officer of the NAS and then Chief Communications Officer whose responsibilities included National Academies Press and Joseph Henry Press.

Woolsey’s canned response

Woolsey sent the following form letter to anyone who wrote to express concern about the lack of science in J. Michael Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen. I received my copy on 22 May 2003.

Office of Communications

500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202 334 1212
Fax: 202 334 1210

We have received your message about the book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, by J. Michael Bailey, and I am responding on behalf of the National Academies. We appreciate knowing of your concerns and recognize that the contents of this book are controversial. The copyright page of the book carries the following notice: “Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this volume are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences or its affiliated institutions.” This statement applies to all books published by the Joseph Henry Press. Joseph Henry Press publications are not reports of the National Academies, but are individually authored works on topics related to science, engineering, and medicine.

In our opinion, the best response to writing with which one disagrees is more writing. Those who hold views contrary to those expressed in this book are encouraged to present and publish the evidence and reasoning in support of their conclusions.

Suzanne H. Woolsey, Ph.D.
Chief Communications Officer

After the book controversy

In January 2004, Woolsey became a director of Fluor Corporation, which has $1.6 billion in Iraq related contracts. Woolsey also served as a director of the Institute for Defense Analyses which also has war interests, and received modest compensation for that role according to the article.

The Woolseys’ overlapping affiliations are part of a growing pattern in Washington in which individuals play key roles in quasi-governmental organizations advising officials on major policy issues but also are involved with private businesses in related fields. Such activities generally are not covered by conflict of interest laws or ethics rules. They underscore an insiders network in which contacts and relationships developed inside the government can meld with individual financial interests.

Suzanne Woolsey is also affiliated with other firms, including the Paladin Capital Group, a Washington venture capital firm in which Woolsey’s spouse is a partner. Suzanne Woolsey did not respond to messages left at Paladin and at Fluor.


Roche, WF (8 August 2004). Private, Public Roles Overlap in Washington. Los Angeles Times. [archive]

Holloway J, Boyette L. (27 January 2004.). Fluor Adds Suzanne H. Woolsey to Board of Directors. Fluor website. [archive]

Clemons SC (8 August 2004). Woolsey’s web: Structure and corruption in Iraq. The Washington Note. [archive]