The New York Times whitewashes criticism of flawed bisexuality article,

by carefully selecting which 'Letters' to Publish


HBI member Chandler Burr emerges as Bailey's new spokesman



Investigative notes Filed 7-22-05

[V 7-22-05]

by Lynn Conway



On July 12, 2005, the New York Times published six short letters to the editors about their July 5, 2005 article entitled "Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisted."


The authors of the selected letters were:  Joan Roughgarden, John Craig, Ken Forsberg, Chandler Burr, Paul Burns,and Catherine Gaffney.


None of the selected letters mentioned Mr. Bailey's controversial history, i.e. that he was a disgraced academic who had been forced to resign as Chairman of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University following an investigation into his research misconduct.


None of the selected letters mentioned that Bailey had made an earlier similar attack on the identities of transsexual women, and thus that his new attack on yet another sexual minority appears sociopathic to many observers.


None of the letters mentioned the GLAAD and FAIR Alerts about the shoddy journalism and suspect science in the article, even though those national alerts from widely respected groups had been available for several days and had been mentioned in many letters to the editors.


Instead, the selected letters presented a range of non-controversial comments about the article (see below).


Roughgarden, Craig, Forsberg and Burns were negative about the article, but for reasons other than the above. Gaffney contributed a humorous reflection. However, Burr wrote a strongly supportive letter for Bailey, in which he scathingly attacked Bailey's critics, calling them "hysterical - and anti-science".


By NOT including any letters that mentioned Bailey's controversial history, his forced resignation, his earlier attack on the identities of transsexual women, or the GLAAD or FAIR alerts, this letter-selection by the Times editors amounts to a whitewashing of the very widespread LGBT community criticism of the article.



HBI member Chandler Burr emerges as Bailey's new spokesman:


By writing his letter (below), Chandler Burr emerges as Bailey's proxy and spokesman in this new controversy.  Bailey likely hopes that by having a well-known gay man as his spokesman and defender, he can blunt gay criticism of his bisexuality "science". 


Burr is an old-guard (Fourattist) conservative gay man who has written a series of controversy books supporting Dean Hamer's and Simon LeVay's "gay gene" theory. For that theory to be valid, there cannot be a continuum of gender or sexual orientation. Instead those men insist that gender and orientation are "bi-polar", i.e., that people are only male or female, gay or straight, with nothing in between (except "liars").  This is the ideological framework from within which their scientific attacks on the identities of transsexual women and bisexual men have arisen, for trans women and bi-men cannot exist under their theory.


Burr is an advocate and book-writing spokesman for the "gay gene" world view, and is tightly connected with LeVay, Hamer, Bailey and Blanchard. It seems likely that Benedict Carey would already have known him, since they are both visible gay men and Burr is also an "employee" of the Times (see below). Carey would almost certainly have known that Burr had sent a letter to the editors (being alerted by either Bailey or Burr), even possibly coordinating with Burr on the writing and tone of the letter and suggesting that his editors publish Burr's letter. 


The fact that the Times included the title of (and thus promoted) Burr's now outdated 1996 book, which supports the LeVay-Hamer theory that bisexuality 'does not exist', is further evidence of inside bias.  For, in contrast, the editors did NOT include the title of Professor Roughgarden's new 2004 book (Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People) which presents a large amount of more recent scientific (biological) evidence for gender and orientation diversity in people.


Furthermore, we find on Mr. Burr's own website that he is "The New York Times' writer on scent".  Thus Mr. Burr has an employee relationship with the New York Times. 


Doesn't it seem odd that an employee was allowed to plant a scathing attack on critics of Mr. Carey's New York Times' article in a letter to the editor?   Especially since that employee's letter that was apparently the only one the Times could find that approved of the article?  Talk about bias and conflict of interest! 



In his letter, Chandler Burr takes the exact stance that we predicted would be used by Bailey's ardent supporters:  Burr tries to shift attention away from Bailey's shoddy science and his bizarre interpretations of mediocre data by attacking all of Bailey's critics as being "hysterical" and "anti-science". 


This is exactly the way that earlier Bailey proxies and spokesmen John Derbyshire, Dan Seligman, Steve Sailer and Stephen Pinker had defended Bailey's attacks on the identities of transsexual women.  However, if anything smells "hysterical" and "anti-science" around here, it is Mr. Burr's letter to the Times! 


Note that in addition to his "gay gene" ideological connections with LeVay, Hamer Bailey and Blanchard,  Chandler Burr is also a member of the Human Biodiversity Institute (HBI) (along with Bailey, Blanchard, and many of Bailey's earlier spokesmen Derbyshire, Seligman, Sailer and Pinker).

HBI is the group of racists, anti-immigrationists and genetic superiorists whose activities were exposed by the prestigious Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in the Winter 2003 SPLC investigative report entitled:

QUEER SCIENCE: An 'elite' cadre of scientists and journalists tries to turn back the clock on sex, gender and race.

That should give readers some idea of the kind of person we are dealing with in Mr. Burr.

The New York Times           Science


Published: July 12, 2005
Gauging Bisexuality

To the Editor:

Re "Straight, Gay or Lying: Bisexuality Revisited" (July 5):

Results casting doubt on the reality of bisexuality reported are probably incorrect. In the 300 or more known vertebrate species with natural homosexuality, all combine heterosexual with homosexual relations.

Humans are not likely to differ from other species in this regard, including our closest nonhuman relative, the bonobo. Indeed, in all human cultures homosexual expression has been, and is, combined with heterosexual expression.

The data in the article show that 20 percent of the pool having same-sex relations do identify as bisexual.

These people surely aren't all lying. Instead, psychologists should add a fourth possibility to their list: namely, that they are wrong.

Dr. Joan Roughgarden
San Francisco
The writer is a professor of biology at Stanford.


To the Editor:

The study of bisexual males conducted by Toronto and Chicago psychologists may demonstrate that men who identify as bisexual are in fact either mostly homosexual or mostly heterosexual ("Straight, Gay or Lying?"). But it fails to disprove what Freud and Kinsey asserted: that the psychological makeup of most males has a significant bisexual dimension.

I have worked with bisexual men as a professional counselor for 15 years. Most of the men I work with are well-educated upper-middle-class married men - leaders in their businesses and communities. Not one of them has ever identified openly as bisexual. If any did, the consequences would be devastating.

These men would never volunteer for the kind of study the Toronto and Chicago scholars conducted. The study is thus one in which truly bisexual men have screened themselves out.

In ancient Greece, most males passed through distinct homosexual stages in both adolescence and adulthood. How do the study's psychologists account for this undeniable fact?

John Craig
Fairfax, Va.


To the Editor:

The article on bisexuality was interesting, but I confess some amazement that still today, in the year 2005, an article like yours treats women as an afterthought and still makes it into print in a major newspaper ("Straight, Gay or Lying?"). Sure you throw "at least in men" into the second sentence. But you then go on to discuss bisexuality in general based just on the results for males, burying the results for females at the very end of the article.

"Doesn't matter if bisexuality is clear in women; it's what happens in men that really defines the term," you seem to be saying.

Kind of incredible. Freud would have approved. The rest of us expect better from you.

Ken Forsberg
Madison, Wis.


To the Editor:

Some gay and bisexual advocates are condemning "Straight, Gay or Lying?" regarding a study suggesting that bisexuality may not exist among human males - something those of us familiar with the scientific literature have known since, basically, forever.

Compare this hysterical - and anti-science - reaction to the conservative Christians' anti-science reaction to studies showing that homosexuality is an inborn orientation like left-handedness. They're identical.

The right hates science because the data contradict (in the case of homosexuality) Leviticus; the left because the data contradict the liberal lie that we're environment-created, not hard-wired in any way.

These particular scientific facts are making these advocates scream like members of the extreme right, though it's they who always tells the right to let go of concepts that are contradicted by science.

Chandler Burr
New York
The writer is the author of "A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation."


To the Editor:

Re "Straight, Gay or Lying?": The headline is not only disrespectful but also unprofessional in its insinuation. No, those of us living outside the boxes of gay and straight are not "lying," thank you very much! Many of us have struggled to stay open to ourselves in an increasingly, and oppressively, black-and-white, reductionistic world.

Paul Burns
St. Johnsbury, Vt.


To the Editor:

Re "Straight, Gay or Lying?": If our sexual preferences were best detected by who we look at in pornography, wouldn't pretty much everyone be attracted to mildly unattractive people who live on the West Coast and lack acting talent?

Catherine Gaffney



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