Gay. Straight. Or lying. It s as simple and straightforward as black or white, right? Or is there a gray area, where the definitions of sex and gender become blurred or entirely refocused with the deft and practiced use of a surgeon s knife? For some, the concept of gender the very idea we have of ourselves as either male or female beings is neither simple nor straightforward.
Written by cutting-edge researcher and sex expert J. Michael Bailey, The Man Who Would Be Queen is a frankly controversial, intensely poignant, and boldly forthright book about sex and gender. Based on his original research, Bailey s book is grounded firmly in science. But as he demonstrates, science doesn t always deliver predictable or even comfortable answers. Indeed, much of what he has to say will be sure to generate as many questions as it does answers.
Are gay men genuinely more feminine than other men? And do they really prefer to be hairdressers rather than lumberjacks? Are all male transsexuals women trapped in men s bodies or are some of them men who are just plain turned on by the idea of becoming a woman? And how much of a role do biology and genetics play in sexual orientation?
But while Bailey s science is provocative, it is the portraits of the boys and men who struggle with these questions and often with anger, fear, and hurt feelings that will move you. You will meet Danny, an eight-year old boy whose favorite game is playing house and who yearns to dress up as a princess for Halloween. And Martin, an expert makeup artist who was plagued by inner turmoil as a youth but is now openly homosexual and has had many men as sex partners. And Kim, a strikingly sexy transsexual who still has a penis and works as a dancer and a call girl for men who like she-males while she awaits sex reassignment surgery.
These and other stories make it clear that there are men and men who become women who want only to understand themselves and the society that makes them feel like outsiders. That there are parents, friends, and families that seek answers to confusing and complicated questions. And that there are researchers who hope one day to grasp the very nature of human sexuality. As the striking cover image a distinctly muscular and obviously male pair of legs posed in a pair of low-heeled pumps makes clear, the concept of gender, the very idea we have of ourselves as either male or female beings, is neither simple nor straightforward for some.
"Compassionate without attempting to be politically correct, Bailey examines the science behind sexual orientation and identity, using original and rigorous research. It will interest anyone with curiosity about the variety of human sexuality."
-- The Times (London), December 6, 2003
"...recommended reading for anyone interested in the study of gender identity and sexual orientation. ... Bailey has produced a thoughtful book that cites recent scientific studies on homosexuality and transsexuality. It is written, however, in a style that makes it easily accessible to any reader."
-- Out Magazine, March 2003
"All of Bailey's musings are interesting and provocative, and his evidence is often powerful... Bailey has written a book worth reading. ...it will have its readers, both pro and con, thinking and talking..."
-- Frontiers, March 14, 2003
"...a highly readable and well-researched book... Most interesting: his differentiation of the autogynephilic and homosexual transsexual; and his examination of the latest theories of the roles biology and genetics may play in gender determination. Detailed, but never dry. A fascinating book."
-- Lavender Magazine
"...fascinating revelations... In a personable and straightforward manner, [Bailey] describes his research techniques and reproduces the questionnaires given to his subjects. ... Despite its provocative title, a scientific yet superbly compassionate exposition."
-- Kirkus Reviews, January 2003
"...the first scientifically grounded book about male femininities written for a general audience. ...Bailey sympathetically portrays these peoples' experiences and explores the roots of their development. Bailey's respect for the people he describes serves as a role model for others who still struggle to accept and appreciate homosexuality and transsexuality in society."
-- James Cantor, PhD, in the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues (American Psychological Association) newsletter, summer 2003
"...any educated person with an interest in this topic would find the material very accessible. The stories of various boys and men are woven together with the discussion of research to create a highly interesting and very worthwhile book. In fact once I started I had difficulty putting down! ... The author provides a very accessible and readable account of the sometimes confusing array of studies that have attempted to account for sexual orientation and draws the conclusion that there is some fundamental biological influence that transcends culture. ... The great value of this book lies in the way it has brought together a wide range of research on important questions relating to sexual orientation. This gives the reader a wonderful opportunity to reflect further on what being other than heterosexual might mean."
-- GLIP (Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology, an Interest Group of the Australian Psychological Society) News, August 2003
"J Michael Bailey s The Man Who Would Be Queen is an engaging book on the science of sexual orientation. ...highly sympathetic to gay and transsexual men..."
-- The Guardian (London), June 28, 2003
"Bailey is a sympathetic and compassionate believer who wants to convert others. This is a fascinating read... Summing up: Highly recommended."
-- CHOICE, September 2003
-- Simon LeVay, Ph.D., author of Queer Science
"...[this] book offers a wealth of fascinating information, carefully gathered by (it seems to me) a conscientious and trustworthy scientific observer."
-- John Derbyshire in The National Review, June 30, 2003
"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."
-- Publishers Weekly, April 1, 2003
"This is a wonderful book on an important subject."
-- Anne Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., sexual medicine and transgender medicine practitioner
"With a mixture science, humanity, and fine writing, J. Michael Bailey illuminates the mysteries of sexual orientation and identity in the best book yet written on the subject. The Man Who Would Be Queen may upset the guardians of political correctness on both the left and the right, but it will be welcomed by intellectually curious people of all sexes and sexual orientations. A truly fascinating book."
-- Steven Pinker, Peter de Florez Professor, MIT, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
"Bailey is one of a rare breed of writers who manages to combine first-rate science with deep psychological understanding, resulting in great breadth of vision. He takes us on an unforgettable journey into the minds and lives of feminine men. Bailey skillfully interweaves vivid case studies with cutting-edge scientific findings, placing both in a deep historical context from the sexual playground of ancient Greece to the dilemmas of gender in the modern world. Refreshingly candid, remarkably free of ideology, this book is destined to become a modern classic in the field. But readers should be prepared to have some cherished assumptions about human nature shattered."
-- David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating and Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind
"...a real page-turner of a popular science book on male homosexuals and transsexuals. I finished it in a 24 hour period... Lots of fascinating individual profiles along with summaries of scientific studies by Mike and others in the field."
"[Bailey uses] chatty, lay readers' terms and anecdotes from his own personal life and research... Recommended for comprehensive collections in sexuality, psychology, and social science."
-- Library Journal, May 15, 2003