bi lies, reprised

Remember the kerfuffle about the stupidly titled NYT article on bisexuality? (Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited) The study, to be published in Psychological Science in Aug. 2005, was described by NYT science writer Benedict Carey as suggesting that there are no truly bisexual men, and indeed it seemed as if the study’s authors fostered that interpretation.

Bay Windows (the New England lgbt paper), and the Ottawa Citizen, got a different perspective from one of the authors, grad student Meredith Chivers, who described it as “ludicrous” to “reduce sexual orientation to a question of sexual arousal”. She also added that she and her coauthors “disagree[d] about the definition of sexual orientation. … I think the study shows that sexual orientation is a multifaceted and complex psychological construct and sexual arousal is only one part of that construct.”

Finally, commenting directly on the NYT coverage, she said:

I think the negative response to the New York Times article headline is warranted. I hope that people who are active in this controversy will also read the original article with an unbiased mind, so that they can decide for themselves, rather than unequivocally accept the information the media has provided thus far.

I hope so, too, but in fact most people won’t have access to Psychological Science ["The page you requested is only available to APS members"]. Without open access to the scientific literature, we must rely solely on science reporting. Which is why accurate reporting that captures nuance rather than elides it is so crucial.

update 8/15: americablog posted on 7/6 some interesting details about the study’s main author, Dr. J. Michael Bailey.

Related posts: Bi Lies (7/5)