Gaydar Love


New at Reason: Is gender varying a disorder? Is there such a thing as "autogynephilia"? Is J. Michael Bailey's gaydar really 100 percent accurate? Deirdre McCloskey gives three emphatic no's.


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  1. “The Roman numerals are for the edition, like the Super Bowl”

    Very informative article, guys!

    Shall we declassify all disorders because to classify is to condemn? Hardly. Nonsense, rubbish, doesn’t deserve serious consideration. His freedoms are not being impinged upon, period.

  2. at the same time the author of the book has become a cause for a whole host of people who are decidedly very interested in impinging a whole lotta rights.

  3. And, by the way, it is all about sex, sex, sex, as any evolutionary biologist will tell you.

  4. Citizen-

    You did get her point that this “science” book was based on a doctored sample size of 7, right? The part where he violated his university’s policy on human experimentation, and abused the trust of his so-called subjects? (“so-called” because “subjects” implies he was actually doing science)?

    We know you hate queers, but please read the article before you jump to “personal attacks and smarmy prose… …to gloss over (your) weak thesis.”


    Very clever argument- as soon as you find a straw-man to make the counter argument, oh boy will you be set.

  5. Out of curiosity, why would someone need to keep “reminding myself it was a woman writing”? What possible difference could the authors gender make in interpreting the article? (Except in the final part, where she discusses her tran- experience directly, of course).

  6. it may be about sex sex sex – i’m inclined to agree – but what gets wrapped around that sex sex sex drive by way of social and sexual identity is another story entirely. there are scads of people who think the gradual emergence of gender as a measure of degrees rather than an either-or proposition is pretty much the end of the world. i don’t quite understand why.

  7. Sir Real (nice user name, I just ‘got it’)

    Possibly because the author of the article was basing a lot of their argument on the idea that they themself were a ‘woman’ and not a ‘gay man’ suffering from a ‘disorder’. Isn’t that pretty much where the author’s indignation lies? I feel I can state with reasonable certainty that even if the author in question here had actually used sounder scientific methods to reach their conclusions, the author of the article would have rejected the conclusions of the study. Hey, no one likes to feel ‘disabled’, do they?

    As someone with a disability, I can understand their point of view. But then, I consider what I have a disability…

  8. Hey, this really happened. No shit–try it yourselves.

    I went to “Gender Genie” and pasted in the latest column at Here are the results:

    Words: 958

    (NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)

    Female Score: 731
    Male Score: 2111

    The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

  9. Female Score: 3752
    Male Score: 6144

    The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

    That’s the result of the Dierdre McCloskey article…

  10. So to sum up, Ann Coulter is roughly 1/3 less female than a post-op MtoF transexual who describes herself as “not pretty.”

  11. Brilliant, Joe- mad props to you…

  12. joe,

    Not a fair comparison. Coulter is pre-op.

  13. Please, please, for pity’s sake, don’t back up that statement with evidence!

  14. I don’t think I commented on Bailey’s “so-called” research at all. I did read the article. I didn’t say I hate gays, further, she said explicitly that she wasn’t gay (did YOU read the article?). I’m quite certain that any psuedo-scientific research as poorly door as Bailey’s book could have been rebuffed with the professionalism we should expect from a university professor. Instead she writes like a child. Pedantic? Maybe. But it reads much like propoganda rather than reasoned deconstruction, and that makes her not much better than her target.

  15. But, Citizen, surely you realize that if you rebuff someone in the TG/G/L/B community that makes you a ravenous homophobe. Where’ve you been lately?

  16. What does it mean, I wonder, for a transsexual not to be gay? Does that mean as a man he was attracted to women, then as a woman she is attracted to men? Or does that mean, as the old joke goes, a TS is a lesbian trapped in a man’s body? Very puzzling.

  17. too bad nobody can get aroud the ole XY chomosone thing

  18. Okay what the hell is happening over at Reason. I don’t remember reading free minds and free hermaphrodites on the cover. Its not like this Bailey guy was causing some big fiasco here on Hit and Run. The subject of transvestites is boring, its boring to most of the population. Reason, publish some articles that are relative to me…like more stuff about legalizing it.

  19. So, we’ve got a case of a bunch of bad research, bad modelling, and claims about spotting gays that remind one of bogus psuedo-scientific methods like “phrenology.” Hmm, and also the Christian right salivating in the wings. Fairly long article to deal with those issues.

  20. I am a liberal on the issue, so it does not matter to me, but look at Ann Coulter’s neck next time she(?) is on “Hardball” – it does seem she(?) has an Adam’s Apple.
    But that is the least of my problems with Ms. Coulter.

  21. Well, I could give a crap as well, I generally have nothing against gays straights or tgs. My initial comment in this thread was an observation, and not intended to imply anything. I’m not good at implying, so I try to avoid it. The writer of the article insists on identifying as a woman, but doesn’t seem like one TO ME by the way she writes. Ann Coulter could very well be a man for all I know. I can’t stand her very much at all, and I tend to skew more toward conservative.


  22. Ann Coulter’s Gender Genie results are especially comical in light of her comments on Tom Friedman:

    “I cannot take those articles! He?s even more of a girl than Maureen Dowd: ?I was doing this, and he said to me and my friend, and I was in an elevator??do I need the atmospherics?? Get to the point! He writes like a girl. It?s like he?s writing about his coffee klatch.”

  23. Good christ. I’m glad I don’t usually read H&R comments, if this is the typical level of discourse.

    Let’s see: Respected (by some) academician authors a book, on a very shaky psuedoscience foundation, in which he essentially advocates classifying a self-identification and lifestyle choice, one which is harmless to others and wholly the person’s own business, a medical disorder. This advocacy is potentially and actually usable to pave the way towards labeling those self-identified transgendered as ‘sick’ and in need of ‘treatment’.

    And someone has the gall to ask what this has to do with Reason’s focus? To recap: Someone makes a personal lifestyle choice. Nannies attempt to censure that person’s choice, and cite flawed and pseudoscientific ‘studies’ to support their case. Could we be talking about marijuana here? Could we be talking about cigarettes? Food that is high in fat? Not wearing seatbelts?

    Or maybe it’s just that transgendered people are easy targets for dismissal, mockery, and abuse, even among those who claim to be defenders of liberty. As I have a close transgendered friend who was, in fact, subjected to EST at her parents’ request to ‘cure’ her, and who has never entirely recovered from this ‘treatment’, I’m a little less able to treat the subject flippantly.

    For my money, this was an excellent article, and I’d enjoy seeing future articles with the length and depth of this one.

  24. … but the thought of j mike b cruisin’ halsted, clark, and broadway — maybe slinkin’ into manhole or some such just makes me grin!

    “hi i couldn’t get into a NESCAC school. i go to northwestern”

    happy thursday,

  25. Odd. As I read the article, I had to keep reminding myself that the author was a woman, because the text reads pretty much the way a lot of gay men I have known talk. Anyone else feel that way? The grammar and syntax just doesn’t hit my ear like a woman’s does.

  26. That’s because it was written by a man. You can mutilate your body however you want, but you can’t change your genes.

  27. I’ve always wanted the brains of Einstein and the body of Schwarzenegger. God obviously misheard my order, so he gave me the body of Einstein, etc. This is a tragic cosmic mistake for which God should take the blame, not me. I’m not a moron, I’m a trans-brained person. If I just wish hard enough, and get enough surgery, I will become Einstein.

  28. Gosh, does that mean Ann Coulter is a guy?

  29. Nature has cruelly cheated me out of the opportunity to sit around the VFW hall, scratching my crotch and leering at swimsuit models on TV. No wonder I’m so irritable.

  30. Me, on the other hand, I’ve grown tired of hanging out every week with a bunch of old veterans telling the same old stories about our combat experiences again and again. I’d much rather be at the mall, picking out shoes to go with my fabulous new dress. But the other guys just don’t understand.

  31. We had a fairy in my unit who’d give you head if you gave him a bottle of gin. I’m not a sissy, but when you’re away from women for that long…

  32. … you develop a taste for gin?

  33. Say, if reason is taking just any old article it can get it’s hands on, I think I have some book reports from grade school that it might be interested. To be sure, I wasn’t using quotation marks or italics nearly as much as Deirdre; maybe that’s part of her “style,” the whole I’m-your-buddy-you-can-trust-me thing. My suggestion for her at U of I is that rather than teaching English, history, economics and communications that she could consider focusing on one and really nailing it. Until then, I’ll just assume that the personal attacks and smarmy prose is a cover to gloss over a weak thesis.

  34. Anybody see that episode of Northern Exposure where Maurice started giving away all his antique furniture, gourmet cooking supplies, and show tune records? He just realized that they were all stereotypically gay things.

  35. Given that I was one of the wise-asses early in this thread, I feel obliged to reply and agree with the last post. McCloskey is, in fact, a respected economist and her argument and the issues she raises are entirely appropriate in a libertarian site. Whose business is it, anyway, what sort of image such people have of themselves or wish to project to others? Why should anyone attempt to prohibit such people from dressing as they wish, seeking surgery to further their self image as they wish, etc.?

    My only problem with McCloskey’s article is my sense that she is basically beating a dead horse on the question of whether Bailey’s work is good science. Of course it isn’t good science. It isn’t science at all: it’s psychology.

  36. EMAIL:
    DATE: 12/20/2003 11:42:25
    The superior man loves his soul, the inferior man loves his property.

  37. EMAIL:
    URL: http://big-natural
    DATE: 01/09/2004 11:21:23
    Interesting site, is all true ?

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