J. Michael Bailey attacks the identities of yet another sexual minority group:

He claims that the plethysmograph proves bisexual men are "lying",

and that most are just gay men after all.

By Lynn Conway

Posted:  7-06-05. 

Updated: 10-17-05.

Links updated 9-20-07



Introduction by Lynn Conway

"Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisted", by Ben Carey, New York Times, July 5, 2005.

"How Benedict Carey trolls for 'science stories' for the New York Times",, July 10, 2005

"Bailey attacks the identities of bisexual men, back in 2002". (contains the original Bailey bisexuality paper)


Log of media reports:

7-06-05 "Bisexuality Study: NYT Gives Prominence To Disgraced Researcher", by Michael in New York


7-07-05:  Bisexuality research the work of crackpot J. Michael Bailey.

7-08-05  FAIR Action Alert:  New York Times Suggests Bisexuals Are "Lying". Paper fails to disclose study author's controversial history. (also below).

7-11-05  NGLTF Press Release: "National Gay and Lesbian Task Force denounces New York Times story..." (Fact Sheet, PDF)

7-11-05:  NARTH Reports: Northwestern University Graduate Student Publishes Study Alleging Bisexuality Not A Sexual Orientation

7-12-05: The New York Times whitewashes criticisms of flawed bisexuality article, by selecting which 'Letters' to Publish

7-12-05: HBI member Chandler Burr emerges as Bailey's spokesman in this new controversy

7-13-05: Online Magazine opens ongoing "Special Issue" on bisexuality, taking off on and from the Times article.

7-14-05  Bay Windows Online: "Times article on bisexuality sets off a storm; activists and researchers dispute findings", by Ethan Jacobs (Note: contains strange misprint)

7-15-05  Washington Blade: "Report on bisexuality study angers gay activists: Critics say New York Times ignored methodology, author’s past", by Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg. (see also New York Blade, 7-15-05)

7-19-05  LA TIMES Opinion: "The folly of putting labels on sexuality: Straight, gay or bisexual attraction is far too nuanced and subjective to withstand crude statistical analysis."

7-20-05: "NYT Science Section: Another Botched Story", by Michael in New York

7-20-05:  San Francisco Bay Guardian: Techsploitation: "Name Calling", by Annalee Newitz 

7-21-05:  Bay Windows Online: "Researcher on bisexuality study breaks with colleagues," by Ethan Jacobs (more)

7-27-05:  Metro - Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper: Techsploits: "Name Calling", by Annalee Newitz  

8-03-05:  Chicago Free Press: "BAILEY'S BISEXUALITY STUDY", by Paul Varnell (archived in   

8-22-05:  American Sexuality Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 4:  "Sexual Prejudice: The erasure of bisexuals in academia and the media," by Loraine Hutchins. (PDF)

10-16-05: “Gay, straight, or Bailey: J. Michael Bailey's very personal crusade against bisexuality,” by Andrea James.



E-mail commentary:

7-05-05: Andrea James, "Institutionalized bigotry as "science""

7-05-05: David W. Austin, "Re: "Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisted""

7-06-05: IASR Friend,  Report on Bailey's antics at IASR 2005

7-07-05: Andrea James, "Bisexuality article's timing"

7-08-05: Loraine Hutchins: "Coordinated LGBT Response to NYTimes & Its Ripple Effects"

7-14-05: Ron Suresha: "Bailey study, as reported by NY Times, demonstrates bisexual erasure"



Links to bisexual advocacy groups and research publications:

Bisexual Resource Center


Bisexual Foundation

Bi and Bi-Inclusive Groups Worldwide
Journal of Bisexuality



Link to major new report on bisexual health (2007):
3-13-07:   National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Press Release:

"New groundbreaking report on bisexual health addresses critical health needs, dispels myths, answers frequently asked questions" 


Miller, M., André, A., Ebin, J., and Bessonova, L. (2007). Bisexual health: An introduction and
model prctices for HIV/STI prevention programing
. New York: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Policy Institute, the Fenway Institute at Fenway Community Health, and BiNet USA.

(143 page, 4.2MB PDF)


This new report includes a discussion (on p.35-37 and p.101) of J. Michael Bailey's infamous 2005 pronouncements in the New York Times, and recommends (on p. 94) that "Researchers and journalists should avoid sensationalizing stories and research and should include bisexual people’s perspectives"  





For more background see:


"The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure," by Kenji Yoshino, Stanford Law Review; January 01, 2000. (more, more).  As Ron Suresha reports:  "...significantly, the NY Times article made no note of a recent, far more scientifically objective, 30,000-word article published in Stanford Law Review, "The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure," brilliantly written by highly esteemed Yale legal scholar Kenji Yoshino. The article concludes that gays and straights ("monosexuals") have made an unspoken and unconscious deal to "erase" bisexuals, to pretend that bisexuality doesn't exist, for differing yet overlapping cultural and political reasons."


"Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals From Around the World", Robyn Ochs (editor), Sarah E Rowley (Co-Editor)

Published by the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) in Boston, this homegrown bi community effort contains 184 essays from around the world.

Not only does the reader discover bisexuality from the mouths of bi's, buying it supports the best resource the bi community has, the BRC.


A note from Lynn Conway: 

When he recently promoted the bizarre results of his "bisexual study" in The New York Times, J. Michael Bailey clearly didn't know any more about the bi-community than he knew about the trans community when he wrote "The Man Who Would Be Queen".

Clearly Bailey did not know about, or even care to investigate, the mass of information available about these communities on the internet. Furthermore it is obvious that he didn't know about the book and internet anthologies containing hundreds of life stories now openly available from these communities - such as in "Getting Bi" and in the "TS Women's Successes" pages. 

But ignorance of his topic areas has never stopped HBI member J. Michael Bailey from doing his "Queer Science", as exposed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, in their investigation in 2003.


Introduction by Lynn Conway:


Here he goes again. This is such a familiar pattern:


Having been burned by exposure of  his research misconduct while attacking the identities of transsexual women, J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University has moved on to attack yet another sexual minority group.  In this case the group is self-identified bisexual men, who number in the millions. 


Bailey and his graduate student Gerulf Rieger (whom he is grooming for a similar career in "science by press release") are claiming to have proven that bisexual men are "lying" about their identities, as reported in the New York Times science section on July 5, 2005.  Mr. Bailey bases this claim on further applications of pseudoscience in the form of plethysmograph arousal tests.


Mr. Bailey's "discovery" is now being widely announced in the media, and promises to provoke a new storm of controversy.  However, he thrives on controversy and will likely exploit news of it as evidence at Northwestern University that he is "doing important work" - as a substitute for publications in respected journals.  The controversy can thus advance both Mr. Bailey's notoriety and scientific career, and those of his promoters and supporters at CAMH (the notorious Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto; formerly known as the Clarke Institute) and at NIH (National Institutes of Health).


Nevertheless, if the past investigations of Mr. Bailey's psuedoscientific defamations of transsexual women are a guide, we'd expect that criticisms of his bisexuality research will be countered with personal attacks on bisexual critics as being "gay men in denial". Other critics will be dismissed as being either "anti-science" or as having inadequate credentials. Thus bisexual men should be forewarned that Mr. Bailey intensely dislikes any criticism of his work, and responds accordingly,



What kind of intellectual milieu generates such strange pseudoscience?  During the investigations of Bailey's defamation of trans women, we learned that he works closely with a clique of rather conservative, mostly older-generation gay psychologists, academics and pundits - men like Simon LeVay, Dean Hamer (NIH), Ray Blanchard (CAMH), James Cantor (CAMH), etc. 

Those men love Bailey, in his role as their "straight man" spokesman, for his vicious Fourattist denials of the existence of transsexualism, as in his 2003 book "The Man Who Would Be Queen".  As we know, the gay elite of that generation view postop trans women as "crazy queens" who are gay men and who should have been satisfied staying that way.  Here's a classic statement by old-time gay thought-leader Fouratt, which well conveys such men's misplaced paranoia about transsexualism:

"Modern medicine is once again trying to cure us of our desire for same sex love. Our gender variant gay and lesbian population is under intense pressure to deny their homosexuality and to take all physical, hormonal and emotional steps in order to be accepted into heterosexual society." - Jim Fouratt

It's likely that such men love Bailey even more for his pseudoscientific denial of bisexuality. After all, there are many more people who identify as bisexual than as transsexual, thus bisexuality represents a much bigger threat to their narrow conception of gay male identity.


Also recall that LeVay and Hamer claim to have discovered the existence of a gay gene. Could it be that the existence of anything other than a very narrow notion of gay maleness would put at risk Hamer's and LeVay's claims to scientific fame?   Or could their certainty of the existence of the "gay gene" possibly bias and compel them to project a narrow concept of gayness onto anyone who is not totally straight?


Whatever their motives, it must be reassuring to this clique that in Mr. Bailey's hands the plethysmograph can identify all those liars out there - the millions upon millions of liars - in all their rich variations and cultural diversity all around the world. 


Even so, it's surprising that Mr. Bailey retains strong support from this clique. These men must be well aware of Bailey's work in homosexual eugenics, including his recent bizarre attempt to defend homosexual eugenics (more) in a widely announced seminar at Northwestern (a seminar that was widely shunned, with almost no one attending).  What's wrong with this picture?  Lots.



Meantime, how is it that Bailey gets such press coverage anyways? 


We can understand Bailey getting help from his right-wing homophobic journalists friends such as John Derbyshire (National Review),  Dan Seligman (Forbes Magazine) and Steve Sailor (VDARE), all of whom jumped to Bailey's defense and viciously attacked the transsexual community on his behalf when Bailey was brought up on research misconduct charges at Northwestern (for which he was later forced to resign his chairmanship). 


After all, Mr. Bailey and all three of those Bailey supporters are active members of the "Human Biodiversity Institute" (HBI aka HBES aka HBDG),  a "think-tank" exposed by the prestigious Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a clique of racists and anti-immigrationists in a 2003 Investigative Report entitled "Queer Science: An 'elite' cadre of scientists and journalists tries to turn back the clock on sex, gender and race."

But how is it that that journalists such as Benedict Carey and Dennis Rodkin don't see through Bailey's obvious pseudoscience, nor apparently care a whit about his bashing of sexual minorities?  Rodkin even wrote a major feature article in the Chicago Reader defending Bailey's defamation of trans women - right at the time that Chicago was becoming one of the most trans friendly cities in the US - a time when the gay community was much more fully aware of the reality of trans identities.  How could these gay writers go so wrong?  Could it be that as rather naive and inexperienced journalists they were drawn into this charade upon being "noticed" and getting attention from the self-proclaimed "famous gay scientists" who stand behind Bailey?  


If so, let's remind them of Andrea James' recommendation:  “I suggest checking out Columbia Journalism Review’s “Blinded by Science” regarding the unfortunate tendency to present crackpot findings for “balance” ”


You might also ponder why Mr. Bailey would widely announce such a defamatory "scientific claim" about how all bisexual men are "lying about their identities", unless his work had been independently repeated and confirmed by other independent research groups?  

After all - all we have is this one "new study", which is simply a recently warmed-over version of his old 2002 paper about the same study. That old 2002 study aroused no interest in the scientific community at the time, and has not been scientifically repeated and confirmed by any independent researchers. Nevertheless, is Mr. Bailey claiming that his research is perfect and that we are to believe him, without outside independent confirmations whatsoever?
To put forward such startling claims in the name of "science" based on such tenuous evidence - claims that are causing angst to millions of people worldwide - seems the height of professional irresponsibility.  Following as it does on his similarly defamatory accusations that all transsexual women are "lying" (about their personal histories and inner identities) appears to many people to border on sociopathy.
However, Mr. Bailey may have had his reasons.  For background on why he may have felt compelled to make these pronouncements when he did, please carefully read the report below from a confidential source (someone who is attending a conference the article was apparently closely timed to coincide with).

To follow this situation, check back from time to time for additions to the list of links above.  For more background on Mr. Carey and his work at the New York Times, and discussions of follow-on actions regarding his article, see "How Benedict Carey trolls for 'science stories' for the New York Times".


New York Times 

Health Section


Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited

Published: July 5, 2005


Some people are attracted to women; some are attracted to men. And some, if Sigmund Freud, Dr. Alfred Kinsey and millions of self-described bisexuals are to be believed, are drawn to both sexes.

But a new study casts doubt on whether true bisexuality exists, at least in men.

The study, by a team of psychologists in Chicago and Toronto, lends support to those who have long been skeptical that bisexuality is a distinct and stable sexual orientation.

People who claim bisexuality, according to these critics, are usually homosexual, but are ambivalent about their homosexuality or simply closeted. "You're either gay, straight or lying," as some gay men have put it.

In the new study, a team of psychologists directly measured genital arousal patterns in response to images of men and women. The psychologists found that men who identified themselves as bisexual were in fact exclusively aroused by either one sex or the other, usually by other men.

The study is the largest of several small reports suggesting that the estimated 1.7 percent of men who identify themselves as bisexual show physical attraction patterns that differ substantially from their professed desires.

"Research on sexual orientation has been based almost entirely on self-reports, and this is one of the few good studies using physiological measures," said Dr. Lisa Diamond, an associate professor of psychology and gender identity at the University of Utah, who was not involved in the study.

The discrepancy between what is happening in people's minds and what is going on in their bodies, she said, presents a puzzle "that the field now has to crack, and it raises this question about what we mean when we talk about desire."

"We have assumed that everyone means the same thing," she added, "but here we have evidence that that is not the case."

Several other researchers who have seen the study, scheduled to be published in the journal Psychological Science, said it would need to be repeated with larger numbers of bisexual men before clear conclusions could be drawn.

Bisexual desires are sometimes transient and they are still poorly understood. Men and women also appear to differ in the frequency of bisexual attractions. "The last thing you want," said Dr. Randall Sell, an assistant professor of clinical socio-medical sciences at Columbia University, "is for some therapists to see this study and start telling bisexual people that they're wrong, that they're really on their way to homosexuality."

He added, "We don't know nearly enough about sexual orientation and identity" to jump to these conclusions.

In the experiment, psychologists at Northwestern University and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto used advertisements in gay and alternative newspapers to recruit 101 young adult men. Thirty-three of the men identified themselves as bisexual, 30 as straight and 38 as homosexual.

The researchers asked the men about their sexual desires and rated them on a scale from 0 to 6 on sexual orientation, with 0 to 1 indicating heterosexuality, and 5 to 6 indicating homosexuality. Bisexuality was measured by scores in the middle range.

Seated alone in a laboratory room, the men then watched a series of erotic movies, some involving only women, others involving only men.

Using a sensor to monitor sexual arousal, the researchers found what they expected: gay men showed arousal to images of men and little arousal to images of women, and heterosexual men showed arousal to women but not to men.

But the men in the study who described themselves as bisexual did not have patterns of arousal that were consistent with their stated attraction to men and to women. Instead, about three-quarters of the group had arousal patterns identical to those of gay men; the rest were indistinguishable from heterosexuals.

"Regardless of whether the men were gay, straight or bisexual, they showed about four times more arousal" to one sex or the other, said Gerulf Rieger, a graduate psychology student at Northwestern and the study's lead author.

Although about a third of the men in each group showed no significant arousal watching the movies, their lack of response did not change the overall findings, Mr. Rieger said.

Since at least the middle of the 19th century, behavioral scientists have noted bisexual attraction in men and women and debated its place in the development of sexual identity. Some experts, like Freud, concluded that humans are naturally bisexual. In his landmark sex surveys of the 1940's, Dr. Alfred Kinsey found many married, publicly heterosexual men who reported having had sex with other men.

"Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual," Dr. Kinsey wrote. "The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats."

By the 1990's, Newsweek had featured bisexuality on its cover, bisexuals had formed advocacy groups and television series like "Sex and the City" had begun exploring bisexual themes.

Yet researchers were unable to produce direct evidence of bisexual arousal patterns in men, said Dr. J. Michael Bailey, a professor of psychology at Northwestern and the new study's senior author.

A 1979 study of 30 men found that those who identified themselves as bisexuals were indistinguishable from homosexuals on measures of arousal. Studies of gay and bisexual men in the 1990's showed that the two groups reported similar numbers of male sexual partners and risky sexual encounters. And a 1994 survey by The Advocate, the gay-oriented newsmagazine, found that, before identifying themselves as gay, 40 percent of gay men had described themselves as bisexual.

"I'm not denying that bisexual behavior exists," said Dr. Bailey, "but I am saying that in men there's no hint that true bisexual arousal exists, and that for men arousal is orientation."

But other researchers - and some self-identified bisexuals - say that the technique used in the study to measure genital arousal is too crude to capture the richness - erotic sensations, affection, admiration - that constitutes sexual attraction.

Social and emotional attraction are very important elements in bisexual attraction, said Dr. Fritz Klein, a sex researcher and the author of "The Bisexual Option."

"To claim on the basis of this study that there's no such thing as male bisexuality is overstepping, it seems to me," said Dr. Gilbert Herdt, director of the National Sexuality Resource Center in San Francisco. "It may be that there is a lot less true male bisexuality than we think, but if that's true then why in the world are there so many movies, novels and TV shows that have this as a theme - is it collective fantasy, merely a projection? I don't think so."

John Campbell, 36, a Web designer in Orange County, Calif., who describes himself as bisexual, also said he was skeptical of the findings.

Mr. Campbell said he had been strongly attracted to both sexes since he was sexually aware, although all his long-term relationships had been with women. "In my case I have been accused of being heterosexual, but I also feel a need for sex with men," he said.

Mr. Campbell rated his erotic attraction to men and women as about 50-50, but his emotional attraction, he said, was 90 to 10 in favor of women. "With men I can get aroused, I just don't feel the fireworks like I do with women," he said.

About 1.5 percent of American women identify themselves bisexual. And bisexuality appears easier to demonstrate in the female sex. A study published last November by the same team of Canadian and American researchers, for example, found that most women who said they were bisexual showed arousal to men and to women.

Although only a small number of women identify themselves as bisexual, Dr. Bailey said, bisexual arousal may for them in fact be the norm.

Researchers have little sense yet of how these differences may affect behavior, or sexual identity. In the mid-1990's, Dr. Diamond recruited a group of 90 women at gay pride parades, academic conferences on gender issues and other venues. About half of the women called themselves lesbians, a third identified as bisexual and the rest claimed no sexual orientation. In follow-up interviews over the last 10 years, Dr. Diamond has found that most of these women have had relationships both with men and women.

"Most of them seem to lean one way or the other, but that doesn't preclude them from having a relationship with the nonpreferred sex," she said. "You may be mostly interested in women but, hey, the guy who delivers the pizza is really hot, and what are you going to do?"

"There's a whole lot of movement and flexibility," Dr. Diamond added. "The fact is, we have very little research in this area, and a lot to learn."




E-mail commentary about Bailey's new claims:

Andrea James (1)

David W. Austin

IASR Friend

Andrea James (2)

Loraine Hutchins

Ron Suresha




From: Andrea

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 12:51 PM
Subject: Institutionalized bigotry as "science"

Dear Mr. Calame:

I was disheartened to see the Times giving credence to pseudoscientific fringe element psychologists in “Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited” by Benedict Carey on July 5. J. Michael Bailey’s recent work is based on results from a half-century old genital “lie detector” so unreliable it’s inadmissible in court, and based on the generally discredited Kinsey Scale of sexuality. Bailey’s scientifically and ethically questionable work and his tendency to jump to overreaching conclusions led to secret sanctions against him by Northwestern University last year, and he subsequently relinquished the Chair of his department.

I can’t wait for Mr. Carey’s next piece, “White, Black, or Lying: Mixed Race Revisited.” I’m sure it will be just as “scientific” and “balanced.” Bailey’s colleagues in the neo-eugenics movement can supply Mr. Carey with the “science” behind the provocative headline. They have a cottage industry built on this kind of science by press conference.

I suggest checking out Columbia Journalism Review’s “Blinded by Science” regarding the unfortunate tendency to present crackpot findings for “balance”:

Maybe you could send the link to all your health and science writers and editors to avoid this kind of pathological science from being taken seriously in the future.

Andrea James
Los Angeles

From: Austin, David W
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 9:58 AM
To: ''
Subject: Re: "Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisted"

Dear Mr. Calame,
On July 3, 2005, the Times published an article detailing a study that called into question the authenticity of bisexuality as an innate orientation.  Because the article appeared on the front page of the "Science Times" section, I expected that the coverage would be scientific.  I was disappointed.  The study examined only 33 men who identified as bisexual:  a statistical sample that is problematic at best.  And the study's senior author was Dr. J. Michael Bailey.  Dr. Bailey's research in the field of sexuality has provoked numerous controversies.  He has published research that equates homosexuality with psychopathology, Archives of General Psychiatry (October 1999, vol. 56, no. 10), and a book on transsexuality, The Man Who Would be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism, that prompted Northwestern University -- his employer -- to conduct an investigation after several of Dr. Bailey's research subjects charged him with failing to obtain their informed consent regarding their participation in his study.  Dr. Bailey has also been accused of engaging in sexual relations with a research subject. See  He resigned as chair of the Psychology Department in the wake of the investigation.
In light of the above, I believe that the Times' standard of journalistic integrity was comprised when the author of the article, Benedict Carey, failed to highlight the numerous questions that have arisen in connection with Dr. Bailey's other studies and only disclosed the identity of the senior author more than half-way into his article.  In addition, I was disturbed by the similarity in the title that headlined the story -- "Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisted" -- and that of an article authored by a publicist for the company that published The Man Who Would Be Queen.  In fact, Robin Pinnel's press release on behalf of Joseph Henry Press, was titled "GAY, STRAIGHT OR LYING? SCIENCE HAS THE ANSWER".  One wonders whether the Times, in dedicating a full half page of the cover to a study that is scientifically insignificant, was not somehow manipulated into promoting Dr. Bailey's work.  And one wonders, as well, what purpose was served by dedicating three full paragraphs to the musings of Joseph Campbell regarding his own sexual attractions.  A lone individual's anecdotes are not the proper counter-measure to faulty science. 
Finally, lest you should think my concerns regarding the integrity of the scientific reporting are overstated, I would point out that as of this morning, Carey's article appears among those most e-mailed on the Times' website.  Of course, the theories espoused by Bailey are fodder for those who would seek to deprive gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals their rights on the basis that their sexuality is an expression of choice and not an innate or immutable characteristic.  And it is precisely for that reason that the Times should have exercised more oversight in publishing and presenting a poorly written article.
David Austin




Note by Lynn Conway:  Robin Pinnel's similarly titled press release about Bailey's book can be found at the following link.  As you'll see, "Gay, Straight or Lying" is a favorite media-alerting catch-phrase and classification scheme of Bailey's.  Of course Benedict Carey didn't plaigerize it outright, but instead modified it a little bit by reversing the first two words (Gay and Straight).




From: IASR Friend

To: Lynn Conway
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 11:39 PM
Subject: IASR 2005

Dear Lynn,

Even as we speak, Bailey and his goon squad have infiltrated this year's International Academy of Sex Research Conference in Ottawa, Canada.
Bailey, Rieger, Chivers, and all the usual suspects are walking around on a cloud and parading themselves off like faux-Einsteins with their newest "scientific discovery" of the reported myth of bisexuality - one of the most basic, fundamental, and universal truths in human sexuality. It is sickening that media frenzy can actually be a substitute for solid peer-reviewed research.
In reality none of these charlatans has any real published research to offer to the Academy this year. That elusive Psychological Science paper is mysteriously not even published yet (or available to read and critique). In reality they are still reeling from the nearly-fatal blows you dealt them with your investigation last year. They are seriously in grave danger of becoming ancient history. So isn't it just a little TOO much of a coincidence that this disastrous (but much-hyped) New York Times article came out just one day before this conference began??? Especially since a publication date for that "study" has not even been announced??? Had it not been for that New York Times article, they would still be walking around this event with their tails between their legs in shame as they should. But now, at the expense of millions of bisexuals' lives, they are the talk of the town.
Lynn, these people are desperate now and running on empty ... they need every last little shred of publicity, especially controversy, that they can get just to stay afloat. What better way to do that than to target yet another marginalized sexual minority population who they know they can terrorize without having to answer for it? I mean really, WHO is going to stand up for the bisexuals? 
Well if you ask me it's time Bailey and company answer for it. Someone should seriously investigate and expose this latest New York Times scandal for what it is. Why was that New York Times article even published??? I'll tell you. It was a cheap desperate attempt to stay afloat on a ship that is too slowly but inevitably sinking....






From: Andrea James
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2005 08:51:26 -0700
To: <>
Cc: <>
Subject: Bisexuality article's timing

Dear Mr. Calame:

Since I wrote to you yesterday about “Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited” by Benedict Carey in the July 5 Health section, it has come to my attention that the timing could not have been more fortuitous for the authors. The authors’ science by press conference about a paper not yet available to read and review came just as the International Academy of Sex Research conference was beginning in Ottawa, Canada. According to a sexologist at the conference, the authors are basking in the glow of this carefully orchestrated “controversy.”

I believe this has risen to the level of a potential breach of ethics on the part of Mr. Carey. I do not make this accusation lightly. Either Mr. Carey has been unwittingly manipulated into a perfectly timed media coup akin to Clonaid or cold fusion, or he was coordinating this with the authors. I am now requesting a formal investigation into the timing of this article and will be working with media watchdog groups in uncovering how this irresponsible article managed to have such impeccable timing for those whose work is featured.

Andrea James
Los Angeles




From: Loraine Hutchins (lorainehutchins AT

To: Bisexual Activists' Discussion List ; BiNetUSA AT

Sent: Friday, July 08, 2005
Subject: Coordinated LGBT Response to NYTimes & Its Ripple Effects


A number of us on these two lists, and friends with folks on these lists, just collectively experienced an historic occasion - a joint conference call of bi activists and leaders with leaders from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to strategize about how best to coordinate responses to the offensive July 5th NYTimes piece, "Gay, Straight, or Lying."

The call was instigated by NGLTF's director, Matt Foreman, who feels really strongly that its the right time for all allies of bi people to help us educate society about the true nature of bisexuality. We pulled it together in a little over a day and it involved almost two dozen people from around the country, mostly bi, including a lot of bi men, and multiple staff from both GLAAD and the TF. As Lani said to me after the call, "This is REALLY the LGBT community working together, something we've been working for for years and years!!!"

Bottom line recommendations/conclusions of the call:

1. Keep those letters to the Times coming, get them in by the end of this weekend, Monday a.m. latest!

(See previous thing from GLAAD i forwarded or go to their site and . If you want to see an e-file copy of the original journal article by Bailey et. al., entitled "Sexual Arousal Patterns of Bisexual Men," which is not yet in print, OR a draft list of talking points being rewritten for people to use and riff offa, please e-mail me privately off line and i will forward either/both to you to aid your writing this weekend).

2.Send cc's of your letters to both GLAAD ( lund AT ) and NGLTF (rsklar AT , as well as to this list, so that we'll all have a sense of what the Times is getting. The word is that the Times is considering running "some" letters "early this week." THE MORE THE BETTER, whether they run them or not.

3. Both GLAAD and NGLTF will develop press releases within the next few days that quote more reputable researchers and academics -- such as Paula Rust, Ron Fox, Lisa Diamond, Fritz Klein, Beth Firestein, Karl Hamner -- countering and critiquing what Bailey et. al. are claiming.

4. Longer-term: work with all of our own local press contacts to use the current furor over the Times story (and the faulty research it toots) to pressure editors of both gay and mainstream papers to write more informative op eds on bisexual people's stories. We will keep you all up to date with what we hear about this. GLAAD is working on getting a meeting(s) with various Times editors, at which NGLTF and spokespeople from the bi community can also be present, to state our case. We are developing a Talking Point Fact Sheet, a Bi Resource list, and a list of bi men and bi researchers available for media interviews. This all has the potential to make both the gay and mainstream media better educated on bisexuality, but us using it and working it and walking the walk and talking the talk will make all the difference!

It's also the perfect time to catch the wave with two new bi books just out (Bi America and Getting Bi) and two more coming (Pete Chvany & Ron Suresha's "Bi-Men: Coming Out Every Which Way" by Haworth Press later this year and Beth Firestein's new advice anthology for therapists about how to work with bi clients, forthcoming from Columbia Univ. Press, title still unknown), as well as continuous great research being published through the Journal of Bisexuality.

Let's sustain this incredible energy and keep it going!



Note by Lynn Conway:  These media "windows" never last long, so prompt responses are vital.   Loraine says she "can't remember a time when bisexuality had such an opportunity in the U.S.since about 10 years ago - with the Newsweek cover story, etc. - so let's not blow it".  The difference this time is that trans, gay, lesbian and het allies of bi people are a bit more clued-in and better able to stand up with bi's to explain the issues. Let's be  proud of that and use it well.


Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 5:05 PM
Subject: NY Times re Bailey study

Bailey study, as reported by NY Times, demonstrates bisexual erasure:

J. Michael Bailey's 2003 book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transexualism," presented case studies of transpersons so distorted and outrageous as to cost him the psychology department chairmanship at Northwestern University. Declaimed by the transgender community and the GLBTQ activist community, the Lambda Literary Foundation was forced to withdraw its award of a Lammy to "The Man Who Would Be Queen," eventually causing LLF president Jim Marks to resign.

Recently, the discredited "sexpert" J. Michael Bailey turned the focus of his distorted vision of human sexuality from transpersons to bisexual men in recently published research conducted despite strong public outreach efforts by the Chicago GLBTQ community to dissuade men from participating in Bailey's study. The study concludes that bisexual men, despite claims to bisexual identity and activity, experience a disparity of sexual attraction to one gender or another, usually favoring men. It bases this conclusion of "no true bisexuality" on the premise that sexual identity and human sexual attraction are measured merely by penile engorgement.

Astonishingly, a July 5th, 2005, NY Times article by Benedict Carey, "Straight, Bi, or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited," lends credence to Bailey's claims, ignoring many methodological problems of the research and Bailey's quite recent disgrace. Although it notes mild dissent on the issue of bisexual identity, the article carefully avoids contact with bisexual advocates to present a counterpoint.

More significantly, the Times piece made no note of a controversial article published in Stanford Law Review, "The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure,," written by esteemed Yale legal scholar Kenji Yoshino. Yoshino's 30,000-word article concludes that gays and straights ("monosexuals"), for differing yet overlapping cultural and political reasons, abide in an unspoken and unconscious agreement to "erase" bisexuals and to pretend that bisexuality doesn't exist.

Bailey's motivation to conduct questionable research on bisexual male sexual response in order to create controversy, and the NY Times unquestioning acceptance of his research without adequate response from the bisexual activist community, excellently illustrate Mr Yoshino's premise.

In today’s sexual world, the straight, gay, and lesbian communities still often refuse to accept the reality of bisexuality. My forthcoming nonfiction anthology, "Bi Men: Coming Out Every Which Way," confronts head-on the limiting views that bisexuality is a transitional phase of sexual evolution or a simple refusal to accept being either homosexual or heterosexual. This pioneering collection of moving personal essays by bisexual men and those who love them explores what it means to be bisexual in today’s monosexually oriented society. "Bi Men" refutes the denial and lies about bisexual men from gays like Michael Bailey, and perpetuated by straight mainstream media such as the New York Times.

"Bi Men: Coming Out Every Which Way," which I edited with bisexual activist Pete Chvany, is forthcoming next month (August 2005) as a double issue of the Journal of Bisexuality. Review copies are available from Haworth Press onlline. Please also visit my Website for more information.

Ron Suresha
Author, Bears on Bears: Interviews & Discussions
New London, Connecticut



Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting


Action Alert

New York Times Suggests Bisexuals Are "Lying"
Paper fails to disclose study author's controversial history


In a lead article in the New York Times' July 5 Science section, headlined, "Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited," Times writer Benedict Carey reported that an upcoming study "casts doubt on whether true bisexuality exists, at least in men." In suggesting that men who claim a bisexual sexual orientation are liars, the Times relies heavily on a single study whose senior researcher has a career marked by ethics controversies and eugenics proposals--facts that were not presented to readers.

According to the Times, the study "lends support to those who have long been skeptical that bisexuality is a distinct and stable sexual orientation. People who claim bisexuality, according to these critics, are usually homosexual, but are ambivalent about their homosexuality or simply closeted. 'You're either gay, straight or lying,' as some gay men have put it."

In leaping to dramatic conclusions from a single study with a small population, Carey echoes the study's authors, who seem equally eager to generalize from scant evidence--and to confuse the study's assumptions with its conclusions. Carey quotes the study's senior author, J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, who acknowledges that bisexual behavior exists, but argues that "in men there's no hint that true bisexual arousal exists, and that for men arousal is orientation."

But that arousal equals orientation seems to be assumed, not proven. The study measured men's self-identified orientation against their physical arousal while watching various kinds of pornography; bisexual men's self-identified orientation did not correspond with their physical arousal, according to the study, with some being aroused much more by on-screen men and a smaller group responding much more to on-screen women.

This finding could just as easily be read as evidence that arousal in bisexual men does *not* equal orientation--that simple measurement of arousal does not predict people's behavior or identity. But the Times reporter himself uses the phrase "true bisexuality," which suggests that people with bisexual behavior and identity might still not qualify as "true" bisexuals.

Well into Carey's piece, some cautionary or critical viewpoints were aired. None of those viewpoints, however, gave readers any hint of Bailey's controversial history. In 2001 Bailey co-authored an article that argued that, if it became possible for parents to determine the sexual orientation of their fetus, "selecting for heterosexuality seems to be morally acceptable…. Selection for heterosexuality may tangibly benefit parents, children and their families and seems to have only a slight potential for any significant harm" (Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2001). The fact that a researcher has promoted the eugenic elimination of homosexuality would seem to be relevant background for gauging the credibility of his studies of bisexuality.

Bailey more recently came under fire for his 2003 book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism," which defended the discredited theory that transsexual women are not female-gendered people born with male bodies, but "are extremely feminine gay men or are sexual fetishists who are 'erotically obsessed with the image of themselves as women'" (Chronicle of Higher Education, 12/10/04). Bailey profiled a handful of transsexual women for his book, many of whom filed complaints against him for not getting their consent to be studied (Times Higher Education Supplement, 5/28/04).

The book shares remarkable similarities to Bailey's new study on bisexuality: In both, the researcher denies people's own evaluation of their identities, suggesting that bisexuals and transgender people are lying about who they are.

In fact, the Times' headline could have been taken from the press release for Bailey's book, which was headlined, "Gay, Straight, or Lying? Science Has the Answer." A new study by the same author, peddling a very similar theory, should have been a red flag to journalists, and readers should have been informed of the author's controversial history in order for them to better evaluate the study.

When the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation asked the Times to retract its inflammatory headline, the paper argued that "gay, straight or lying" is "a commonly used phrase among many gay people" (, 7/7/05). It's unclear why a derogatory stereotype about one group--bisexuals--should be more acceptable in a headline because it is attributed to another group--gay people.

ACTION: Please ask the Times' new public editor, Byron Calame, to examine the Times' report on bisexuality, particularly the lack of relevant information about the senior researcher's controversial background and the headline's suggestion that an entire sexual minority is "lying."

New York Times
Byron Calame, Public Editor
Phone: (212) 556-7652

As always, please remember that your comments have more impact if you maintain a polite tone.

Read the Times article here:

See also GLAAD's action alert:



LynnConway.comTS InformationBailey Investigation > Bi-Sexuality Revisited