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To the New York Times,
In your recent article on J. Michael Bailey and his book, The Man Who Would Be Queen (“Criticism of a Gender Theory, and Scientist Under Siege” by Benedict Carey, August 21, 2007), your journalist reported, “The Lambda Literary Foundation, an organization that promotes gay, bisexual, and transgender literature, nominated the book for an award.”
Mr. Carey failed to disclose that the Foundation later withdrew the award nomination in response to our judges’ assessment of the book, which they ultimately considered transphobic and inappropriate for a Lambda Literary award.
Further, the Bailey incident revealed flaws in our awards nomination process, which I have completely overhauled since becoming the foundation’s executive director in January 2006. Any book with LGBT content may be nominated by its publisher or its author, but the selection of the book as a finalist for an award is in the hands of the category’s judges. Trans writers now serve as judges in our awards process (both in the Transgender category as well as other categories), so that a book such as Bailey’s could be nominated for an award by the author/publisher but not selected as a finalist or recipient by the judges. In addition, we have expanded many of our categories by dropping the “gay” and “lesbian” designation, in favor of “men’s” and “women’s,” to better represent and embrace the literature of bisexual and transgender writers.
Our judges spoke for the foundation in 2004 when they withdrew Bailey’s book from consideration of a Lambda Literary Award, and the foundation’s position remains the same. With the help of the transgender community, we have improved the integrity of our awards, by making them more inclusive and our methods more transparent.
Lambda Literary Foundation