Book Recommendation – The Man Who Would Be Queen

***Update 9-15-16 – The author made this book free to be read online or downloaded, link here – The Man Who Would Be Queen***

I just finished reading, “The Man Who Would be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism,” by J. Michael Bailey.  I thought it was an excellent read and is definitely one of the more helpful books/articles I’ve ever read for understanding myself and my crossdressing more fully.  My main disclaimer is that the author’s perspective on homosexuality, crossdressing, and transsexualism is far more morally neutral than my own.  He has a different worldview.  But I want to recommend it to you so that you can understand these issues and yourselves better.  He tackles them from a social perspective and a scientific perspective, explaining many things that I had not realized before or talked about on this blog.  My second disclaimer is that I definitely do not agree with all that he wrote, and I don’t necessarily wish to defend his research methods, nor do I wish to defend all of his theories or statements.  I’ll explain more as we go.

Some of you may know, some of you may not know, that Bailey is a super controversial figure when it comes to these topics, and his book is extremely controversial.  Some people love it, some people hate it, some people view it as a mixed bag.  Some people claim that Bailey and his science have been completely discredited, and that his research methods were unprofessional.  Others say he did a good job and regardless of any faults, his theories were correct.  Others say that all the accusations against him were false and concocted.  One thing is for sure, if you agree with his theories (or Ray Blanchard’s theories which he draws on), you will receive a hate-storm from many transsexuals.  Just do an internet search and you can find countless articles and debates about these figures and their books that will keep you reading for hours.

You would think that in a country that prizes free speech, we could discuss theories like this peacefully and with curiosity and tolerance.  But any talking about these theories usually meets with stiff resistance.  Yet I venture in anyway.  I already have had people threatening to try to get my blog shut down because of talking about these theories before, so why not continue?  I think most of what is in his book holds true, is convincing to me, and helpful for understanding myself and my friends.  Does he make things a bit simplistic at times?  Yes.  Does he say some things that might come across as insulting to some people?  Yes.  But in general, I found it a really helpful book.

Bailey’s book does not only deal with crossdressing and transsexualism but also with homosexuality.  I learned a lot about homosexuals, what they are often like, and what struggles they face.  I thought I already knew a lot about that issue, but I learned even more.   Let me tell you a couple things I learned about homosexuality.  One is that homosexuals really do tend to be more feminine, which puts them in a really difficult position because they are attracted to what is masculine.  This leads to femmephobia among homosexuals.  They do not like what is feminine in themselves or in one another, even though that is what they are naturally born like.  I learned that many of the stereotypes people have about gay men hold true, they do “tend” to walk a certain way, talk a certain way, and act more feminine.  But like all stereotypes, these are stereotypes and don’t ring true for every individual.  Bailey’s view is quite interesting.  He observes that many transsexuals are actually gay men who are naturally feminine, but feel like they could better attract a masculine heterosexual man as a woman, than a masculine gay man as a feminine man.  Some may argue with this, but it was really interesting and thought provoking.

Let’s move on to some of his theories about crossdressers.  Here is Bailey’s contentious view in summary – “Those who love women become the women they love.”  He affirms Ray Blanchard’s theory that there are two types of transsexuals.  There are those who are homosexual like the type of person I spoke of in the above paragraph.  They are naturally feminine, usually start living as girls at a younger age, they are able to pass well, and they are attracted to men.  And then there are those that are autogynephilic.  Some of you probably know this term already if you read other websites about crossdressers.  The term itself is quite loaded and leads to feisty debates.  I have usually avoided such technical language in most of my blog posts to be able to communicate to a general audience of people who are struggling.  But it’s a good term and theory to be familiar with – autogynephilia.  From wikipedia – “Autogynephilia (/ˌɔːtˌɡnəˈfɪliə/; from Greek αὐτό- (“self”), γυνή (“woman”) and φιλία (“love”) — “love of oneself as a woman”) is a term coined in 1989 by Ray Blanchard, to refer to “a man’s paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman.”

In other words, autogynephilic men are sexually aroused by the image or idea of themselves as women.  This could be through fantasy or actual crossdressing.  I would fall into this camp.  Most of us are not naturally feminine (though of course I would say there are exceptions).  Most of us didn’t truly want to become girls when we were just young boys (though if you are like me, your fantasies about crossdressing started at a very young age).  We are attracted to women and most of us are married.  For many of us this tendency to crossdress remains a sexual addiction but doesn’t go further.  For others of us, we continue down this path to the point of living as women, getting surgery, and becoming the women we love so much and want to be.  The claim is that if a man becomes a woman later in life, or after being married already, he is probably one of these autogynephilic crossdressers.

In general I think Bailey and Blanchard are right on when describing these two types of transsexuals.  Before I started to become familiar with the theories and these researchers a few years ago, this was the idea I had just from reading the stories about crossdressers and transsexuals online.  It seems pretty obvious just from my personal experience alone that most of us fall into one of these two camps.  Now, where I differ from them perhaps, is that I would never say that ALL of us fit neatly into one of these camps.  We are all complex and messed up people.  We are broken and confused in a myriad of ways because of our sin, because of our genetics, because of our upbringing, and because of our environment and different experiences.  So no, I do not believe that all of us fit neatly into one of these two categories.  There are going to be exceptions and people with other combinations of feelings, sexuality, and gender manifestations that won’t neatly fit these categories.  But broadly speaking, I find these theories to be convincing and true to my experience and what I’ve read about others’ experiences.

Bailey talks about two sub-types of men with autogynephilia.  There are those, like me, who are aroused by the idea of crossdressing as a woman, that is, to look like a woman with clothes on.  Then there are those where their fantasies are more focused on the body.  They have fantasies of being nude women.  He says it is those with the nude fantasies who usually are not content until they get a sex reassignment surgery.  They can’t just crossdress to disguise themselves.  They are obsessed with the idea of actually having breasts or a vagina.  This seems to make sense, but as I’ve counseled so many men on these issues and read so many blogs and stories, it seems that it is more than just these people who are getting the surgeries and living as women full-time.  I think there are many who only had the crossdressed clothed fantasies, and spent so much time rationalizing their behavior and their “inner woman” that they fell in love with the new identity and continued in it.   They want “her” to be real so badly that they become “her”.  That reminds me of this article.

Bailey says that these autogynephiles who try to live as women and think they are attracted to men, are not actually attracted to men, but just the idea of having a man attracted to them as a “woman.”  That is, the arousal is focused on them thinking about themselves not someone else.  I imagine some people find this really offensive, and maybe it’s not really true, but it makes sense to me, as I’ve had similar fantasies while reading crossdressing fiction.

Bailey isn’t sure what causes us to become autogynephiles.   I am glad he admits this.  He thinks it is innate but doesn’t have a good argument for this and admits it.  He mentioned a story of a crossdresser with a father who also crossdressed.  He says we are not at all close to identifying the real causes.

One interesting thing he talked about was that crossdressers on average have more paraphilias, especially masochism.  This was disturbing to read about, but again it rang true in myself.  If our sexuality has been diverted, and misplaced, so that we are attracted to self, it’s not difficult to imagine our sexuality has been warped and broken in other ways as well.  This would also explain why crossdressing fiction sites are some of the most disturbing places on the internet to go, filled with stories of masochism, sadism, infantile fantasies, incest, exhibitionism, and other strange fetishes.

Bailey claims that most crossdressers deny this sexual component, and that they are lying to themselves and others.  They want to portray themselves as multi-faceted, courageous, and empathic to their wives especially, to show that they are having courage enough to portray their inner femininity, which sounds a lot better than saying your sexual attraction is misplaced from others and instead to yourself.  A lot of people have taken issue with Blanchard and Bailey for accusing crossdressers of lacking such integrity and accusing them of lying.  I want to be slow in accusing crossdressers of lying, and yet at the same time, I know how much I allowed myself to be deceived while in the throes of crossdressing, and how much I even purposely deceived myself in order to rationalize my behavior.  I have seen such self-deception many times.  So I don’t think what he is saying is a stretch.  When we are faced with looking at ourselves truly and deeply, of course we would not want to admit that such an important part of ourselves is just a misplaced broken sexuality.  That would force us to deal with it and try to get help.  But if we claim it’s a part of our soul that needs to be brought out, then we and others can’t tell us to stop.

Bailey is a researcher and as such he doesn’t make many moral claims or many suggestions about what the various types of people he’s discussed should do and how they should live.  He personally doesn’t hold out much hope for change or happiness for people with gender dysphoria except for them to get surgery and live as women.

This is where I differ the most.  I have been resisting my crossdressing desires, and over time those desires lose their power and my attraction to real women grows.  It’s a process of healing, but it’s very possible.  I have experienced tremendous change, and you only have to read some of the comments on my blog, or join our prayer group, to find out how many men there are who have also experienced great change and healing (both of Blanchard’s types have found help).  The situation is far from hopeless.  Bailey, as far as I can tell, is not a Christian, so I’m not surprised that he sees no hope for change.  Without a Christian worldview, it would be hard to believe there is much hope for any of us in our brokenness, whether it’s selfishness, greed, sexual problems, marriage problems, etc.  But we know that in Christ, we are not left alone in our brokenness.  But I would also go so far as to say that even without a relationship with God, you can still overcome and heal from crossdressing.  It’s not so terribly difficult as people would have us imagine it to be.

So in conclusion, if you want to understand yourself more, please read this book.

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10 comments on “Book Recommendation – The Man Who Would Be Queen

  1. Michael29 says:

    Wow! What a good find! Bailey’s theories on generalized types on transsexuals, crossdressers and/or transgender-identified individuals – and your personal take-aways & interpretations from your own experience – would seem to ring true w/ my experience as well! I’ve definitely noticed these two general types among others in the struggle and those who accept it as a way of life w/ any forms of taking on a feminine persona of any/all sorts. But actually having someone who actually talks about it & who’s tried to solidify these realities into an actual “name & description” for it is good to see! __ Not only was the portion that you mentioned about Bailey’s findings about transsexuals, crossdressers & transgender-identified make sense from my own experiences, observations & through reading about & learning more, but really everything you mentioned really rang fairly accurate from my perceivings! Thank you, Thorin for letting us in on some of your own resource-findings! :- )

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  2. thorin25 says:

    Your welcome Michael! It’s good to hear from you again. How are you doing?

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  3. K says:

    Bailey has a lot of interesting observations, and I think he made some good conclusions from his observations. However, not all cross-dressers/former CDers fit into his categories (such as myself), so his system is not complete. We are all individuals and can’t all be put into neat boxes, but that is not say his conclusions are not useful, I’m sure they are.

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  4. Michael29 says:

    I’m doing better than last time I was on here…but more so, the Lord has been bring about a lot of growth & a much more consistent desire to be submissive to him… Though I just moved from Ohio to Florida 2 weeks ago, so things are a bit crazy at the moment, but the Lord’s definitely using for my good & his honor and glory – even though it’s hard to believe it at times. But MOST DEFINITELY, he’s showing me that he loves me, and that he can even get through my hatred for him – toward men – and bring about a new longing/desires. . . a love where there was only distain before. Still a working progress. But he’s not giving up on me. Thank you for asking! : )

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  5. thorin25 says:

    K i certainly agree. Not everyone fits neatly into those categories.

    Michael, if you would like to rejoin our prayer chain you are most welcome 🙂

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  6. PP says:

    Well said, Thorin. I am Jewish, not Christian, but as much of our messages are the same, I wanted to share some wisdom I heard from one Rabbi. I wish I could recall the particulars, but he insinuated that one interoperation of Genesis was not just of G-d creating the world, but that G-d used Torah to create the world, and implied that with Torah, we could recreate ourselves. So the person who argues: “I can’t help it, I was born this way,” could be answered: “Perhaps, but with this tool, you can change even something you were born with.”

    [The lecture I’m citing put it much more articulately than I just did here, but I hope the idea comes across.]

    Like you, I have confronted many of the same demons and came to similar conclusions, though I fear my method is to manage my own cross dressing and not let it grow too powerful. I hope. Bailey’s theory also matched my own experience, and I found it more sensible than the pagan “born in the wrong body” mumbo-jumbo that passes for Psychology today. Well put.

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  7. thorin25 says:

    PP thank you so much for the comment. I’m glad you felt welcome to be comment. I want others to be welcome here even if they are not Christian. Our worldviews are different in some important ways, but of course we have much in common as well.

    I’m not sure exactly what that scholar meant. From my perspective in Scripture, it is not we who recreate ourselves, but God recreates us (transforms us, redeems us, sanctifies us, makes us new). Born in sin, we can’t change or recreate ourselves. But perhaps it would help if you unpacked what he meant by “recreating ourselves.”

    To me, all of us are born with original sin. Not only do we share humanity’s guilt for Adam and Eve’s sin as our representatives, but we are born with a bent to sin, we are born already as enemies of God, we sin every day. This means even if I was born with transgender feelings, or born with same-sex attraction, or born with selfishness or born with proneness to alcohol addiction, or anger, whatever it may be, it doesn’t mean I should be allowed to embrace it or give in to it. No. It is just part of my original sin. Something to be resisted, and hopefully transformed through God’s grace.

    As a Jew, how do you reconcile crossdressing, even within moderation? I see it as rebellion against my Creator who created me to be a man. Yet crossdressing is trying to be something I am not, envying other creatures he has made.

    And why do it in moderation? How is it in any way good? If something is sinful, isn’t it still sinful even in moderation?

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  8. pp says:

    Hi Thorin. Until a couple weeks ago, I forgot that I had a post here, let alone that you responded to it.

    I looked up the lecture I referenced, and listened to it again. It comes from Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, called “A Rational Approach to the Divinity of the Oral Tradition.” You can find it online, or I can give you a referenced. He discusses the difficulty of the first line of Genesis, how in literal Hebrew it translates more to “In the beginning of (blank) G-d created heaven and Earth” By looking at the sentence more literally, he says that interpreting Bereshis (the first word of the Book, and many Jews till refer to the book of Genesis as “Bereshis”) that you could interpret that word as “with reshis.” (Resh, aleph, shin) Which would make the sentence as “With “reshis” G-d created heaven and earth.” In the Torah, reshis means one of two things: The Jews, or the Torah. Since there were no Jews at the time of creation, you could argue that this sentence could be read as “With the Torah, G-d created heavens and Earth.”

    Kelemen goes on to interpret this idea as seeing the Torah as a device G-d uses to create nature. And similarly, you could use the Torah to change and create yourself. So if someone says: “I cannot follow the scripture; my genetic compulsion to dressing as a woman is too strong,” you can answer: “That’s okay; with Torah, you can change your nature, change your genetic compulsion, because that’s what this device does.”

    Early in my crossdressing career, when I was “coming out” I had a friend, a catholic girl, that helped me shop, occasionally went with me to the night clubs, and so forth. I was practically an atheist back then. This girl and I are still friends. She once asked me: “You were very much into the crossdressing scene. Now you seem less into it, and you’re married with a kid. Did becoming more religious help you decide you wanted to get married and be a father?” And I answered “Absolutely.” And it was one of those answers that kind of surprised me, that gets drawn out of you before your brain has a chance to analyze it.

    So yes, I used to dress publicly in seedy places. Now I’m back to doing it solely at home and in private, the way I began. I never lied to my wife. She doesn’t usually participate, but once in a while she does, and I do not force it on her. It probably would be best to cease completely, but at least it’s smaller degrees than what it used to be in the past.

    I much appreciate your blog.

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  9. thorin25 says:

    Thank you PP, for the comment and the appreciation of my blog. I encourage you to keep thinking through your crossdressing. Please keep reading my other posts. To me, and obviously it’s nearly impossible to tell this through a simple text comment, but to me, it seems like you know crossdressing is wrong, but you are looking for some way to justify it, through the Bible or through rationalizations. I used to rationalize as well and even try to say why crossdressing was positive in order to justify my bad behavior. I think this is human nature.

    I don’t have time or interest, to be honest, in listening to that lecture, but I believe if you would talk to that rabbi he would explain to you that you are applying what he is saying in the wrong way.

    God created the world through words, the Word, the Word Jesus Christ. But even if you believe he created through the Torah, that doesn’t give us license to do whatever we want.

    The Torah gives God’s will for your life, right? Then you should live by the Torah, not do whatever you want. There is absolutely no way to take one verse of Genesis and use it to scrap the rest of the Torah, or the rest of the Old Testament. God is very clear that he has a certain way he wanted the Israelites to live, some things please him and some things don’t. Yet you are trying to use the Torah to justify “recreating yourself” which seems to mean “do whatever you want to do that comes natural to you.” It just doesn’t work. The Bible makes clear, even just the Old Testament itself, even without the New Testament, that we are born sinners and what comes natural to us is sin and rebellion. The story of the nation of Israel proves that. Even David, a man after God’s own heart, said he was sinful from the time he was conceived by his mother.

    What I’m saying is, even as a Jew, and not a Christian, what you are doing flies in the face of the central messages of the Torah, which is that we don’t make our own destiny, but God makes a covenant with us to be our God and we his people, but to be his people we have to live in the way he wants.

    And this is all aside from the obvious fact that the Torah itself forbids crossdressing. https://healingcd.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/deuteronomy-225/ But even if it did not, your reasoning does still not hold up.

    I say this to you in love and in gentle dialogue. Please keep thinking it through

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  10. PP says:

    You are correct, Thorin: it is forbidden by the Torah. And for those who try to rationalize it, your website is an excellent response to those who insist that “it’s harmless.” You’ve documented it very well, especially the people who lose control.

    At some point, I will need to do Teshuvah and cease. It is hard to initiate though, as I’m sure you understand.

    The purpose of my citation though was actually a response to those who claim to be helpless, or that it is inborn. I’ve heard that rationalization a lot, and I’m sure you have as well. The reason I mentioned that argument was I found it fascinating that the very first line of Genesis could anticipate and rebut the claim of the LGBT lobby that they are helpless to change because they were “born that way.”

    I can rationalize my crossdressing, like any of us can. I know that spiritually, none of those excuses will matter to Hashem.

    Sorry if I spill my thoughts, it is very rare to discuss this topic with anyone of any spiritual bent. Even the Psychotherapists are now more enablers than serious sounding boards.

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