Walter J. Meyer, III (September 7, 1942) is an American pediatrician, psychiatrist, and endocrinologist who served as President of WPATH in 2003, when it was called Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA).
Below is the letter sent in response to concerns about the 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey. This letter led to Ray Blanchard‘s resignation from the organization.
October 20, 2003
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita
University of Michigan
Member, National Academy of Engineering
Deirdre McCloskey, Ph.D.
UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, and English
University of Illinois at Chicago
Tinbergen Professor of Philosophy, Economics, and Art and Cultural Studies,
Erasmus University of Rotterdam
Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Biology
Barbara P. Nash, Ph. D.
Professor of Geology and Geophysics
University of Utah
Joan Roughgarden, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Sciences
Re: Concerns about J. Michael Bailey’s book “The Man Who Would Be Queen.”
Dear Drs. Conway, McCloskey, Barres, Nash, and Roughgarden:
Thank you for your letter of July 14, 2003, in which you alert the officers and board of directors of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA) to your concerns about the book entitled ‘The Man Who Would Be Queen” authored by J. Michael Bailey, a Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. We recognize the controversy surrounding the publication, and we know it has been drawn to the attention of many of our members.
HBIGDA is a self-regulatory association of professionals who work with transgender and transsexual people, with clear ethical guidelines, which cover all areas of professional and patient/client interaction. The Benjamin Association considers the ethical conduct of researchers, teachers, and practitioners in the field of gender identity of utmost importance. However, Dr. Bailey is not a member of HBIGDA, as such we are not able to undertake an inquiry, as we could not insist on Dr. Bailey’s participation or recognition of the process. We can assure you though that the Association’s Board of Directors is deeply concerned about the issues raised in your letter and the supporting materials you referenced. The allegations of mistreatment of transsexual women as research subjects are very serious. Therefore, the Board of Directors of HBIGDA finds it appropriate that an investigation into these allegations is being conducted by Northwestern University.
The HBIGDA Board of Directors believes that a relationship of trust and mutual respect between the scientific and the transgender communities is essential to further its mission to promote the health and well-being of transgender and transsexual individuals and their families. It is felt by many of our members that this poorly referenced book does not reflect the social and scientific literature that exists on transsexual people and could damage that essential trust. We hope that the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at Northwestern will consider the ethical issues that are involved and we will be sending them a copy of this letter so that they are aware of our concerns. We are also preparing a separate letter to Northwestern University to express our concerns directly.
While we await the results of Northwestern University’s investigation, we encourage everyone affected by this controversy to exercise professionalism and treat the relationship between researchers, practitioners, and the community with great care.
Thank you again for informing us of your concerns.
Walter J. Meyer III, MD
President, on behalf of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association Officers and Board of Directors
Bean Robinson, Ph.D.
-cc. HBIGDA Officers and Board of Directors: Walter Bockting, Ph.D., George R. Brown, MD, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, Ph.D., Eli Coleman, Ph.D., Randi Ettner, Ph.D., Jamison Green MFA, Sheila Kirk, MD, Stan Monstrey, MD, Connie Christine Wheeler, Ph.D., Stephen Whittle, Ph.D.
-cc. Bradley Moore, Vice President for Research, Office of the Vice President for Research, Northwestern University, Rebecca Crown Center, Room 2-223
633 Clark Street, Evanston, Illinois 60208-1108
-Lewis Smith, MD, Executive Director, Office for the Protection of Research Subjects, Northwestern University, Abbott Hall, 5th floor, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, Room 532, Chicago, IL 60611
In addition, HBIGDA President Eli Coleman mentioned Bailey’s book as an example of “unfortunate setbacks” and “bad science” at their International conference in Belgium in 2003.