Episode 58

58 - Pioneers Series: Male Sexuality with Michael J. Bailey

Published on: 14th January, 2022

Dr. Michael Bailey is an American psychologist, behavioral geneticist, and professor at Northwestern University best known for his work on the etiology, or origins, of sexual orientation. He maintains that sexual orientation is heavily influenced by biology and male homosexuality is most likely inborn. Dr. Bailey’s 2003 book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, gave an accessible, intimate, and compassionate account of male sexuality, with a focus on gender-nonconforming boys, gay men, and male-to-female transsexuals. The book was nominated for an award, which was later retracted, from the Lambda Literary Foundation, an organization that promotes gay literature. Aside from legitimate critiques of the book and Dr. Bailey’s theories, attacks spilled into the realm of the egregious as a small group of radical transwomen viciously went after Mike, his reputation, and his family. All of this was documented thoroughly in Alice Dreger’s book, Galileo’s Middle finger, which ultimately exonerated Dr. Bailey of the accusations against him.


Today, Mike explains how he got interested in working with sexuality during a time when it was quite taboo in academia. After publishing research on male sexuality, Mike began encountering transexual women who wanted to talk about their experiences. He came to recognize that some MtF transsexuals were nothing like what he’d expected. He went on to study this further, write his book, and soon after, all hell broke loose. While Mike is certainly no contrarian, he unapologetically tells the truth and has committed himself to do his job well as a psychological researcher.



Download The Man Who Would Be Queen: 



Christine Benevunuto: Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On Amazon.com/gp/product/B0085UCVKY/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0


Alice Dreger (June 2008). “The controversy surrounding The Man Who Would Be Queen: a case history of the politics of science, identity, and sex in the Internet age”. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 37 (3): 366–421. doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9301-1.


Ray Blanchard (1989). “The classification and labeling of nonhomosexual gender dysphorias”. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 18 (4): 315–334. doi:10.1007/bf01541951. PMID2673136. S2CID43151898

Extended Notes

  • A little bit about Michael and how he got into this field of work.
  • Back then, there was stigma that if you were researching about gay or queer topics, you were also gay/queer.
  • Gender non-conforming children tend to be correlated to having same-sex sexual orientation later on in life.
  • However, where do transgender people fall in between all of this? Michael shares the first time he spoke with a transgendered woman.
  • There are different types of transgendered people, and reasons why they transition, and you really can’t group these two together in studies.
  • Since then, Michael has met more people who have autogynephilia.
  • What kind of feedback has Michael received since conducting, and publishing, his research?
  • Michael talks about his book, The Man Who Would Be Queen.
  • Michael’s book gained a lot of negative press and people petitioned to have it removed.
  • Why did so many people react so negatively to Michael’s book?
  • How does someone become an autogynephile?


“I knew I had learned something fundamental [about the trans community]. Even among academics at sex conferences, autogynephilia was not known.” — Michael [23:10]

“The autogynephiles who put their families through this are not a representative group of autogynephiles. We are seeing a combination of autogynephilia and narcissism.” — Michael [51:30]

“I believe there is a strong genetic component in autogynephilia cases.” — Michael [58:40]

This podcast is partially sponsored by ReIME, Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics:


Learn more about our show: Linktr.ee/WiderLensPod

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About the Podcast

Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast
Two therapists explore the expanding concept of "gender" from a psychological depth perspective.
Gender dysphoria has become a minefield for public discussion, with many afraid to express their views or question the narrative. Our mission is to examine this important and complex topic from a range of perspectives, but always through a psychological lens. By openly considering and examining gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella, we hope to give all interested parties permission to engage these fascinating topics with less fear and more honesty. Interviews and discussions will involve clinicians, medical professionals, academics, transgender people, parents, detransitioners and other interesting individuals whose lives have been touched by the concept of gender.

Conversations between two practicing therapists give listeners an opportunity to contemplate gender from a depth perspective not currently taken up in most of today’s accessible debates. As a result of their work with gender dysphoric therapy clients as well as their personal divergent experiences with gender, Stella and Sasha hold a refreshing and informed perspective.

Is gender identity a facilitation of development and expression of creativity, or can it be a defense against painful existential realities of living in a human body? What can we discover about masculinity, femininity, identity, gender performance, and sexuality when we peer beneath the surface and dive into a deeper psychological exploration? What is the relationship between body, mind, identity, culture, and psyche?

This podcast engages listeners in an intimate and fascinating behind-the-scenes inquiry about a topic as taboo as it is salient today.

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GETA - an association of therapists who believe that individuals experiencing gender related concerns ought to be treated using a whole person approach. GETA connects like minded clinicians, provides educational resources and trainings, and helps people with gender dysphoria find support. For more info, visit genderexploratory.com.
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About your hosts

Stella O'Malley

Profile picture for Stella O'Malley
Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist and author who works in private practice in Ireland. Her work focuses on parenting, family dynamics and working with teenagers.

Much of Stella’s counselling and writing focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being and she is a regular contributor to the media. She is also the resident psychotherapist for the current TV series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families.

Stella's first book, Cotton Wool Kids, was released in 2015 while Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong was released in 2017. Stella’s latest book Fragile, was released in 2019 and focuses on overcoming anxiety and stress.

Stella was the presenter of the documentary Trans - Kids: It’s Time To Talk broadcast on Channel 4 in November 2018 and she contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.

The Jungian analyst, Lisa Marchiano, and Stella launched Secrets of the Motherworld in September 2019, offering thoughtful exploration of the most intimate aspects of motherhood in a bid to help mothers feel less alone.

Stella is a Clinical Advisor for the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners. She is also the lead facilitator for the Gender Dysphoria Support Network.

Stella holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Sasha Ayad

Profile picture for Sasha Ayad
Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in private practice, and has treated adolescents for over 10 years. Her work focuses on teens and young adults struggling with issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity.

She became interested in the sharp rise in teenagers who declare a trans identity for the first time during adolescence. She discovered, through working with hundreds of families, that many teens were developing gender dysphoria only after adopting a transgender identity. She questions the practice of medical transition for children and teenagers, and her clinical work focuses on developmentally appropriate, least-invasive-first talk therapy.

Sasha is also a founding member and Clinical Advisor in the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners.

Sasha’s previous work experience includes:
- School counselor for middle and high school students at a charter school for underserved communities

- Behavioral therapy with children on the autism spectrum

- Individual and group counseling for women and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence

- Developed and ran the first counseling program at a large state supported living facility for adults with intellectual disability

Sasha holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.