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Andrea James

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Andrea James
Andrea-James-2007.jpg
James in 2007
Born (1967-01-16) January 16, 1967 (age 49)
Occupation Producer, writer, activist
Website andreajames.com

Andrea Jean James (born January 16, 1967) is an American writer, film producer, director, and trans woman who is an LGBT rights activist.[1][2]

Education and career

James grew up in Indiana and attended Wabash College, where she majored in English, Latin and Greek. After graduating in 1989, she obtained a master's degree in English language and literature from the University of Chicago.[3] After her MA, James wrote ads for Chicago advertising agencies, working in the business for ten years.[3] The experience encouraged her to become involved in consumer activism, with a particular interest in medical and academic fraud.[4]

In 2003, together with author and entertainer Calpernia Addams, she co-founded Deep Stealth Productions to create content by and for transgender people.[5] She is the host of the instructional program, Finding Your Female Voice.[6] She produced and performed in the first all-transgender cast of The Vagina Monologues in 2004, debuting a new piece created by Eve Ensler for the occasion. She was also a consultant on and appeared in Beautiful Daughters, a documentary film about the event.[7]

James was a script consultant for Transamerica, a 2005 film, helping actress Felicity Huffman prepare for her role as a transsexual woman.[8] She appeared in the 2005 HBO documentary Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She, and in 2007 directed a short film, "Casting Pearls".[9] She was a consulting producer for, and appeared in, the reality-dating television series, Transamerican Love Story, on the Logo digital channel in 2008.[10] In 2009, she directed another short film, "Transproofed".[11]

Writing

James and Calpernia Adams at the Out and Equal Workplace Summit

James writes about consumer rights, technology, pop culture, and LGBT rights. She is a contributor to Boing Boing, QuackWatch, eMedicine, and The Advocate.[12] She created Transsexual Road Map in 1996, a consumer website for transgender people.[13]

In addition to Transsexual Road Map, James later set up HairFacts, a website on hair removal, and HairTell, a companion discussion forum.[14] In 2004, she founded the nonprofit GenderMedia Foundation.[15] She was appointed in 2007 to the Board of Directors of TransYouth Family Allies, a nonprofit that supports transgender youth and their families, and in 2008 to the Board of Directors of Outfest, where she was involved in the restoration of the documentary, Queens at Heart.[16]

Criticism of The Man Who Would Be Queen and backlash

Together with professors Lynn Conway and Deirdre McCloskey, James was a driving figure in the controversy surrounding professor J. Michael Bailey and the 2003 publication of his book, The Man Who Would Be Queen. Bailey argues in his book that there are two forms of transsexualism: one a variant of male homosexuality, and the other a male sexual interest in having a female body, a taxonomy some critics see as inaccurate and damaging.[17] Bailey's position was strongly criticized by several transgender activists, including electrical engineer Lynn Conway and James, who wrote that the book was an example of academic exploitation of transgender people, and a "cure narrative" framed by one case report about a six-year-old child,[18] with James describing it as "one of the most insidiously vicious pieces of transphobia ever to come out of academia."[19] Gender studies professor Kim Surkan said the protests by James and others against Bailey "represented one of the most organized and unified examples of transgender activism seen to date."[20]

Historian and bioethicist Alice Dreger, a colleague of Bailey's at Northwestern, wrote a paper accusing James of harassment and of stifling academic freedom, and tried to stop her from speaking at the campus about the controversy.[21] In her later book Galileo's Middle Finger cataloging the politicization of science from both the right and left, Dreger concludes that the allegations levied against Bailey were "a sham. Bailey’s sworn enemies had used every clever trick in the book — juxtaposing events in misleading ways, ignoring contrary evidence, working the rhetoric, and using anonymity whenever convenient, to make it look as though virtually every trans woman represented in bailey’s book had felt abused by him and had filed a charge."[22]

The dispute became heated when James posted an attack page on her website containing photographs of Bailey's children juxtaposed with sexually explicit captions taken from Bailey's work, including in one case placing the caption "cock-starved exhibitionist" alongside a picture of his daughter.[22][23] When Bailey accused her of harassment, James said that juxtaposing images of children with Bailey's material was intended to echo what she saw as his disrespect toward gender-variant children, but she eventually removed the pictures and added an editorial note explaining her decision in May 2003. In response to criticism, she noted that "those of you who feel uncomfortable with my use of Bailey's children need to know how he uses our children."[23] On the page, which James described as not intended to be a "reasoned critique," she noted her goal was to be "as personally offensive to Professor Bailey as I find his book....instead it is a very coarse and mean-spirited screed, designed to reflect what I consider his own motivations to be."[19]

References

  1. ^ Lam, Steven. "What's 'gay' now: we are everywhere indeed", The Advocate, June 20, 2006.
  2. ^ Faderman, Lillian (2007). Great events from history: Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender events, 1848–2006. Salem Press. p. 700. ISBN 1-58765-265-X. Andrea James, transsexual activist and writer. 
  3. ^ a b Wabash College. "Andrea James to Give Talk at Wabash", Wabash College, October 21, 2008.
  4. ^ Jardin, Xeni. "Welcome to the Boing Boing guestblog, Andrea James!", Boing Boing, December 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Addams, Calpernia and Andrea James. "Transformations", The Advocate, July 22, 2003.
  6. ^ Hopper, Douglas. "Helping Transgender Women Find a New Voice", All Things Considered, National Public Radio, March 5, 2006.
  7. ^ Tennyson, Joyce. Vagina Warriors. Bulfinch Press, 2005, p. 11. ISBN 978-0-8212-6183-5
  8. ^ Nangeroni, Nancy and MacKenzie, Gordene O. Episode #555, gendertalk.com, April 15, 2006.
  9. ^ Adelman, Kim. "'Pariah' Leads The Pack of Outstanding Shorts at Outfest '07", Indiewire, July 18, 2007.
  10. ^ Pozner, Jennifer L. Reality bites back: the troubling truth about guilty pleasure TV. Seal Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-58005-265-8
  11. ^ Everleth, Mike. "Echo Park Film Center: Transgender Short Films", Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film, January 10, 2011.
  12. ^ Jardin, Xeni. "Welcome to the Boing Boing guestblog, Andrea James!", Boing Boing, December 28, 2009.
  13. ^ Garvin, Glenn. "Breaking Boundaries", The Miami Herald, March 15, 2003.
  14. ^ Painter, K. "Who qualifies to zap hairs?", USA Today, March 26, 2006.
  15. ^ Ensler, Eve et al. "V-Day LA: Until the violence stops", Gender Media Foundation, 2004.
  16. ^ James, Andrea. "Life Without Puberty: Hormone blockers for minors, the trans movement's new frontier", The Advocate, February 2008.
  17. ^ Carey, Benedict. "Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege", The New York Times, August 21, 2007.
  18. ^ James, Andrea. "Fair comment, foul play", National Women's Studies Association conference, June 21, 2008, pp. 3–4; also see "The Bailey Brouhaha", National Women's Association Conference, courtesy of YouTube, June 21, 2008, accessed March 30, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Invective: J. Michael Bailey's "The Man Who Would Be Queen"". 2003-06-05. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  20. ^ Surkan, Kim. "Transsexuals protest academic exploitation," in Faderman, Lillian (ed). Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender events, 1848-2006. Salem Press, 2007, pp. 700–702.
  21. ^ Bailey, Michael J. "Academic McCarthyism", Northwestern Chronicle, October 9, 2005.
  22. ^ a b "Why Some of the Worst Attacks on Social Science Have Come From Liberals". Science of Us. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  23. ^ a b http://web.archive.org/web/20030605112712/www.tsroadmap.com/info/j-michael--bailey.html

External links