Exploding the Consensus

Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences Lawrence S. Mayer & Paul R. McHughThe New Atlantis, Fall 2016 Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh, authors of the new special report Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences published earlier this year by The New Atlantis, close their review with something of a challenge. “We expect,” write the authors, “that this report may elicit spirited responses, and we welcome them.” “Spirited” may perhaps be an understatement. The report’s critics have been vicious in their accusations, but The New Atlantis has remained courteous but firm in its response. To understand this report in full, the reader must first understand the authors’ intended audience. In the Preface, Mayer begins by stating that the report “was written for the general public and for mental health professionals in order to draw attention to—and offer some scientific insight about—the mental health issues faced by LGBT populations.” One of the top criticisms of Sexuality and Gender has been that it appeared in The New Atlantis, which is not a peer-reviewed journal. In a Frequently Asked Questions page on the journal website devoted to the report, the editors attempt to answer just this criticism. Their response is thoughtful. Most academic papers, because of their place of publication, are not readily available to the general public. Subscriptions to academic journals are not cheap, but even more expensive are subscriptions to the academic databases that house them. Hence, most social science research is available only to a small, very select audience—universities. The scholars authoring this report wanted their research to be available to the larger public, because it is in that sphere that policy decisions regarding these topics are being made—and at a furious pace. There is much about issues of sexuality and gender, the authors wri
Please subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.