Thank You, Lambda Literary

When I reported on the short lists for this year’s Lambda Literary Awards I noted that the Lammys still had a way to go in dealing with inter-community strife. The reason for that is that the LGBT Non-Fiction category included a book that was openly transphobic. Doubtless it got put their by transphobic judges (and there are many transphobic people among LGB folk), but Lambda Literary have since looked into the issue and have decided to withdraw the nomination.

Explaining all of this will take a little while. Back in 2004 the Lammys included a nomination for a book called The Man Who Would be Queen by J. Michael Bailey. This was a very sloppy piece of scholarship which purported to prove that trans people only came in two types: those who are “really” gay men who transition in order to have sex with straight men, and those who are narcissistic perverts who are sexually aroused by images of themselves dressed as women (so-called autogynephiles). Bailey’s work has been roundly condemned by most professionals in the trans health field, and spectacularly debunked in one study that showed that 93% of cis women fit the definition of autogynephiles.

The Lammys, after due investigation, withdrew Bailey’s book from the short list. Nevertheless, he has defenders, and it is one of those, Alice Dreger, who managed to get on a short list this year.

As is the fashion with hate-mongers these days, Dreger is trying to position herself and Bailey as innocent victims of a massive and powerful conspiracy of trans activists. She had the cheek to title her book, Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, comparing Bailey to the great scientist who was persecuted by the Catholic Church for saying that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Because of course the Secret Trans Cabal has just as much power as the 16th Century Catholic Church, and it is totally true that we have had Bailey imprisoned and threatened to have him burned at the stake unless he recants .

If you’d like to see an actual scientist take Dreger’s book apart, Julia Serano has done so at length. A shorter and more punchy version is available from Brynn Tannehill at The Advocate.

I don’t suppose that this will hurt Dreger very much. She’s currently undertaking a lucrative lecture tour promoting the book and complaining about how the evil trans activists are totally preventing her from putting forward her ideas. Claiming that you are unable to talk about things that you are actually being paid to talk about is the new fashion in victimhood as far as trans haters go. However, I am pleased that Lambda Literary have once again done the right thing. Hopefully next time they will review the shortlists before they go public with them.

2 thoughts on “Thank You, Lambda Literary

  1. Thanks for posting about this. I was not sure what was happening…I just saw the author’s complain about the Lammys removing her book. I have to admit, I find the Lammys very unprofessional on so many levels, that my first inclination is to assume they did wrong. Nice to see they did something right for once.

    1. Thanks Steve. The main reason I posted this is that Dreger and her ilk have far more access to the mainstream media than trans folk do, so I figured most people will only have heard her side of the story.

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