The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism

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9780309084185: The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism
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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 â€" the very idea we have of ourselves as either male or female beings â€" 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 â€" 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 â€" and often with anger, fear, and hurt feelings â€" 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 â€" and men who become women â€" 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 â€" a distinctly muscular and obviously male pair of legs posed in a pair of low-heeled pumps â€" 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.

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From the Author:

I have written a book that I knew would be controversial for several very different reasons. For example, I argue that extreme femininity in men is tightly linked with homosexuality; that it is likely to have a biological cause; that many stereotypes about gay men are true. These assertions are based on the best available scientific data, summarized in my book.

But I knew that the most controversial section would be the third, on transsexualism. In this section I review the evidence, which I believe is convincing, that there are two (and most likely only two) types of male-to-female transsexuals. One is the type that most people think about, comprised of males who have been overtly feminine from birth and who are unambiguously and strongly attracted to men. The other type has been unknown (or perhaps more accurately, misunderstood) by almost everyone until recently. This type is motivated something akin to a sexual fetish, and it is the image of themselves as women. That is, these are males who fantasize sexually about wearing women’s clothes, having female anatomy, and doing feminine things. Some of them want to become women so badly that they do so.

My book has provoked a fierce negative reaction among some transsexuals. This reaction was predictable, but the controversy is too complicated to do justice to in the "reviews" section of Amazon. These hostile critics do not want you to read my book. You can only understand the controversy—and you can only understand transsexualism—if you do read it.

Other transsexuals have experienced satisfying self discovery and peace of mind after reading my account, which suddenly made their predicaments comprehensible to them. Transgendered people looking for answers, especially, should take the intellectual risk.

From the Inside Flap:

"Absolutely splendid."
-- Simon LeVay, Ph.D., author of Queer Science

"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

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