Daniel Linzer vs. transgender people

Daniel I.P. Linzer is Dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, and is responsible for the conduct of department staff, including J. Michael Bailey.

He told the Chronicle of Higher Education the controversy over Bailey’s book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, was “wonderful recognition” of Bailey’s work.

Excerpted comments from a reader

Hey, I hope you’re doing well and I wish your site the best of luck. But I had a bit of a criticism I wanted to share.

First, and most importantly, your site is hurting Daniel Linzer, the Dean of NU’s college of arts and sciences. Because academic freedom is so important, it is necessary for Dean Linzer not to criticize Bailey publicly before he has been officially reprimanded by a neutral party. I have not spoken to Linzer personally about his opinion on Bailey’s work, but I doubt that Linzer, a researcher in reproduction, finds Bailey’s work particularly compelling. Your site is the third site to come up when one googles Linzer’s name, so I strongly request that you remove the entry.

Second, your description of Bailey’s work is inaccurate. He does not support eugenics or think that homosexuality is wrong. In fact, nearly ever student who works in his lab is homosexual. Whatever else is wrong with Bailey’s work, it is not that he views homosexuals or transsexuals as non-persons.

My response

Thanks for the comments. I always give respect in equal measure in which it is given, and I hope you find my answers address your comments.
I have corresponded with Dr. Linzer in September regarding the Bailey matter. Northwestern has continued to slow-roll this investigation, with a projected decision date not scheduled for July 16. Depending on the outcome of Linzer’s decision, I imagine this matter will then escalate to other avenues of redress for this outrage.

Linzer’s a nice guy, and a smart guy. We both share an interest in programmed cell death and p53, among other research interests. I am sure that he hopes to maintain the integrity and reputation of his college. However, if Linzer and Northwestern do not take appropriate action regarding Bailey, this will turn into a quite unpleasant matter. Bailey is Linzer’s responsibility, and Linzer will be responsible for the consequences of his decision. One of my primary goals in all this is to maintain a historical account of this matter, since I feel it is one of historical significance. The Linzer page will stay and will include our correspondence once a decision is rendered in the Bailey matter.

I have never stated that Bailey thinks homosexuality is wrong or that he sees us as non-persons. The first is a question of morality and the second a question of legal right. These are not the issues at hand. The problem is that Bailey sees homosexuality and gender variance as a pathology, an evolutionary mistake/paradox, and a developmental error.

As far as eugenics, Bailey is deeply committed to the neoeugenics movement. Northwestern University has a very long history of being at the forefront of this ideology. Your business school was endowed by one of America’s most famous families of eugenicists. Bailey’s advisor Lee Willerman was a prominent member of the American Eugenics Society.

If you would like to read a good book on Bailey’s ties to eugenics, I recommend American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism by Nancy Ordover (ISBN 0-8166-3559-5). Pages 88 on are a good summary about Mikey.
This is the form of the messages put forth by the new eugenics movement (now called human genetics or human biodiversity): I am not a bigot, but science proves [insert persecuted demographic] are evolutionary mistakes and biological errors prone to mental illness, disease, and criminality. In fact, Bailey claims those who disagree are liars because his science proves that, too: “There is good scientific evidence that says you should believe me and not them,” as he said in the Daily Northwestern in April 2003.

I place Bailey in the company of Roy Cohn (another self-hating closet case), Robert Ritter (a psychologist who was an expert on the two “types” of gypsies—see below) and Adolph Eichmann. I do not make comparisons to Nazis lightly, either. Hannah Arendt talked about the banality of evil in describing the German eugenics movement, the utter thoughtlessness stemming from the sort of moral vacuum in which Bailey exists (that of biological determinism).

Employing gay lab assistants has no bearing on his bigotry— it’s nothing more than the racist who says “Some of my best friends are black.” In fact, that statement echoes his argument in the Chronicle last year that he is “very pro gay,” while acknowledging that “the research I do isn’t.” His lab assistants and the parade of Jerry-Springer type guests he trots out in front of his sexuality classes bring me back to Arendt: “Inability to think is not stupidity; it can be found in highly intelligent people, and wickedness is hardly its cause, if only because thoughtlessness as well as stupidity are much more frequent phenomena.” His lab assistants and pals in his department like Joan Linsenmeier and Jeff Sherman are simply well-meaning but misguided stooges who haven’t thought much about the ramifications of the profound bias and pathological science that permeates their work and thinking. You might find it interesting to read about Robert Ritter:


Replace “race” with “sexuality” in the passage below and you have Bailey in a nutshell:

But, how to tell the pure from the hybrid — this question presented something of a problem for race-conscious Nazis. At this point, “medical science” entered the picture, largely in the person of Dr. Robert Ritter at the University of Teubingen. Ritter was not really a medical doctor, but a psychologist who had been researching the question of “criminal biology.” It must be remembered that the emergent field of criminology from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s focused on the genetic/biological foundations of human behavior. It was here that Ritter discovered an area to establish himself as one of Nazi Germany’s leading “scientific experts” on race.


The picture on the page above of Ritter’s research assistants doing phrenology on a gypsy (who was no doubt later exterminated in the Porajmos [“the devouring”]) reminds me of Bailey’s assistant Elizabeth Latty doing genital phrenology on gender-variant women like me.
Don’t know if you saw this, but I link Bailey’s work on the “science” of bonerology with his Toronto pals:


Again, I hope this has helped frame the debate for you, and I thank you again for your note. Please let me know if you’d like me to clarify anything.


I will be adding to this after Northwestern completes their investigation.