Stephen M. Mautner (born April 13, 1952) is an American publishing executive responsible for fact-checking and releasing one of the most transphobic books ever written, The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey.
Mautner received his Bachelor’s from Brown University and his Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. Mautner met his wife Ellen in Chicago and married there in 1986. They moved to Rockville, Maryland in 1989 for his new job, and he joined the National Academies around 1991. The Joseph Henry Press imprint began operation in 1992. After it was disbanded in 2008, Mautner remained Executive Editor of the National Academies Press (NAP), publisher for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C. Mautner has helped develop online projects to make those works more accessible to general audiences.
The Mautners carried their diverse collections with them eight years ago when a job he landed in Rockville brought them to the area.
Stephen Mautner is Executive Editor of the National Academies Press, which includes the Joseph Henry Press imprint. Mautner is responsible for reviewing and publishing psychologist J. Michael Bailey’s 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism.
Mautner edited and published what is widely considered the most unscientific and deliberately offensive book on gender variance since Janice Raymond’s 1979 screed The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Mautner was completely surprised by the 2003 response, which shows how poorly he handled his editing responsibilities on this controversial book.
After selling about 4,200 print copies,The Man Who Would Be Queen went out of print in 2008. It remained available for purchase as a PDF on the National Academies site.
The question of how this salacious bigotry got past Steve Mautner and got published by the National Academies Press remains unanswered. National Academies employees Mautner and Barbara Kline Pope refuse to disclose who did the “peer review,” because it’s clear Mautner’s choices were Bailey cronies. In the wake of the 2003 protests, Mautner even defended this book as a “responsible work.”
Open letter from Stephen Mautner
Correspondence with Steve Mautner
After The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Jew in Jewelry?
Additional Mautner information
Open letter from Stephen Mautner
On 24 June 2003, Mautner sent out the following open letter. Click here for the Stephen Mautner letter in pdf format (requires reader). Notations in the text are mine.
In March of 2003 the Joseph Henry Press published J. Michael Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism, a work intended to inform general audiences about one scholar’s efforts to understand aspects of homosexuality and gender identity within a psychological framework. Some readers have vehemently disagreed with the book, calling it defamatory and offensive to the transgender community. For example, they contest the implication that most transsexuals fit the categories described by Bailey.
Overall, the book has been greeted with a wide range of responses, from high praise to harsh criticism. Kirkus Reviews called the book “a scientific yet superbly compassionate exposition” (January 2003). Publishers Weekly said “Bailey writes with assuredness that often makes difficult, abstract material–the relationship between sexual orientation and gender affect, the origins of homosexuality and the theoretical basis of how we discuss sexuality–comprehensible. He also, especially in his portraits of the women and men he writes about, displays a deep empathy that is frequently missing from scientific studies of sexuality” (April 2003). However, the same review in Publishers Weekly goes on to say that “Bailey tends towards overreaching, unsupported generalizations.” And a reviewer in Frontiers, a Southern California gay news magazine, states that the author “doesn’t need to inject his biases as often as he does” (March 2003). A sense of the polarity of opinion about the book can also be derived from a scan of the reader responses to the work on Amazon.com, where among the forty-three responses posted on June13, 2003, twenty-seven gave the book a 1-star (lowest) rating and eleven gave it a 5-star (highest) rating, with only five responses in between.
The Joseph Henry Press (JHP), publisher of Bailey’s book, is an imprint of the National Academies Press engaged in publishing books on science, engineering, and medicine for popular audiences. JHP books are individually authored works, each carrying a notice that the opinions expressed are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academies. JHP follows clear decision rules for selecting books for publication and for scientific review of manuscripts. The work in question was reviewed as a well-crafted and responsible work on a difficult topic, reflecting one approach to a legitimate avenue of scholarship and research.
None of us involved in the publication of The Man Who Would Be Queen imagined the extent of the controversy that its publication would trigger. We deeply regret the fact that some have found the book harmful or offensive. Our intention in publishing it was certainly not to offend any individual or group, but rather to offer insight into how one scientist has arrived at his views on certain aspects of sex and human behavior.
The appropriate response to this endeavor, we believe, is not to silence the scientist or to censor the expression of his findings and opinions. Rather we hope that the publication will inspire a productive discussion about future directions and methodologies in research on issues of gender and sexuality, and thereby promote the proper course of future scientific investigation on this important but very sensitive topic.
The National Academies Press
The Joseph Henry Press
Correspondence with Steve MautnerBelow is selected correspondence with Mautner following his letter defending his editorial choices.
My response of 16 July 2003
I have recently read an open letter with your name affixed regarding your responsibility for the publication of The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey. The version I read was electronic and was unsigned and undated (10530openletter.pdf).
Please provide me with verification that you are responsible for this letter, as well as the date(s) it was written and released by JHP, as these dates will be important in understanding what you knew about Professor Bailey at the time you wrote the letter.
Mautner’s reply of 18 July 2003:
The date of the open letter was June 24, 2003. I will ask that the date be added to the letter.
The National Academies Press/Joseph Henry Press
My letter of 12 August 2003:
Thank you for adding the release date to your June 24 letter regarding your responsibility for bringing out the Bailey book under the Joseph Henry Press imprint. Your letter states:
“JHP follows clear decision rules… for scientific review of manuscripts. The work in question was reviewed as a well-crafted and responsible work.”
As you may know, this was not the expert assessment of Dr. John Bancroft, the Director of the Kinsey Institute, who stood up immediately after a Bailey presentation in July and told a lecture hall full of sex researchers that Bailey’s book “is not science.”
Please provide the names and credentials of those who participated in the scientific review of this manuscript and came to the conclusion it was well-crafted and responsible.
I look forward to learning the names of the scientific reviewers you selected who disagree with Dr. Bancroft.
Thank you in advance.
cc: Suzanne Woolsey
My letter of 21 August 2003:
I have not yet received a reply to my August 12 email requesting the names and credentials of those who participated in the “scientific review” of J. Michael Bailey’s manuscript and came to the conclusion it was “well-crafted and responsible” (see below).
I already have my copy of the dismissive form letter from Dr. Woolsey advising everyone with opposing views to present and publish evidence and reasoning. I’d appreciate the courtesy of a personal reply with this evidence so I can do just that.
cc: Suzanne Woolsey, Bruce Alberts, Harvey V. Fineberg
Dr. Dana Beyer’s correspondence of 30 July 2003 with Mautner
Dear Mr. Mautner:
[…] I recently discovered that your press was located here in DC, and I would like the opportunity to visit with you to discuss J Michael Bailey’s recently published book, “The Man Who Would Be Queen.”
Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you.
Dana Beyer, M.D.
Mautner’s reply on 7 August 2003
Dear Dr. Beyer,
I apologize for the delay in responding.
Given the deluge of mail we have received concerning Dr. Bailey’s book and our wish to catalog the responses, I would much prefer it if you could submit your comments in writing.
My follow-up with Mr. Mautner one year after he brought out The Man Who Would Be Queen
15 March 2004
Lest you think we have forgotten about you and your JHP team, I wanted to update you on the J. Michael Bailey situation and your historical role in this matter.
Unlike you, the Lambda Literary Foundation had the integrity to admit last week they had made an “unprecedented” error in their initial assessment of The Man Who Would Be Queen. Though it was a “humbling experience” according to their Executive Director, they had the integrity to withdraw support for the book when it became clear to them it was not science but propaganda in service of the neo-eugenics movement.
I also wanted to update you on an ongoing problem at Amazon.com. As many lazy editors and publishers are wont to do, you cited Amazon.com reviews in your 24 June 2003 open letter as an accurate gauge of response to this book:
Publishers increasingly use these unconfirmed reviews edited by an unnamed editor as evidence about a book’s reception.
“As of June 13, 2003 there were 27 1-star (lowest) ratings, and 11 5-star (highest) ratings, with only 5 in-between.”
Since Amazon has rewritten history by removing 18 of the reviews you cite in March, you need to revise your letter:
“As of June 13, 2003 there were 9 1-star (lowest) ratings, and 11 5-star (highest) ratings, with only 5 in-between.”
This new statistic suggests that the world is evenly split on this book. That does not reflect the 1300+ signatures gathered in a few days from people in 35 countries who protested the book, or the consensus of almost every professional organization that deals with gender variance.
Clearly, Amazon needs to be more transparent in the process, as do editors like JHP and publishing trade groups like Lambda Literary Foundation. These organizations are covering book promotion with a façade of objectivity and editorial rigor that simply does not exist.
As I have said all along, this is being waged as a war of propaganda and not a science fight. Once again, we have more evidence.
I can assure you that you will be held personally accountable for what is the most spectacular misstep of your career as an editor, and we will most certainly get to the bottom of who gave you the go-ahead on this book. I’d bet money they are listed here:
This is going to be painstaking and methodical, and no stone will go unturned in determining who allowed this book to be published by the National Academies Press.
After The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Jew in Jewelry?
As I discussed in my paper Fair Comment, Foul Play, presented at the 2008 National Women’s Studies Association conference, perhaps Mautner could follow up with an equally “scienfitic” and “responsible work” about the two types of greedy Jews called The Jew in Jewelry: The Science of Judaism.
Additional Mautner information
Here’s a rather inaccurate description from 2004 detailing what Mautner does (emphasis mine):
Stephen Mautner, executive editor of Joseph Henry Press, an imprint of the National Academies Press, was the fourth panelist. The Joseph Henry Press was founded to look for authors outside the national academies and to contract with individual authors to write books on science topics for general audiences. Editors look for serious scientific books that will have commercial success. Mautner sees a great future for work that takes content from the National Academies and massages it into a form accessible to a wider audience. How do editors at the Joseph Henry Press hire writers? Currently, they recruit very few book writers because they can only award contracts to six or eight authors a year. However, Mautner said that they are willing and eager to give writers who have a compelling record of excellent journalism a chance to write their first book.
Mautner sent his sons to St. Albans, an exclusive Washington DC-based private prep school, using the money he made disseminating Bailey’s tripe.
Anyone with additional information on Steve Mautner’s responsibility for the review and publication of Bailey’s defamatory book on transsexualism is encouraged to contact the author of this site.
As of August 2006, the book had sold about 4200 copies and had about 900,000 visits to the electronic version. (Stephen Mautner to Michael Bailey, copy to Alice Dreger, p.e.c., August 11, 2006).
Weintraub, Judith (April 27, 1997). Intertwining Roots. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/magazine/1997/04/27/worlds-apart/1b438573-c351-4711-b0b3-734fa7770c06/?utm_term=.42613ccc11be