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An open letter to retract research that is dangerous for the LGBTQ+ community

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

As many of you have seen, this week we launched a call for signatories to support our petition to the Journal of Environmental Management, to retract a paper that they recently published, titled "Sand, Sun, Sea and Sex with Strangers, the “five S's”. Characterizing “cruising” activity and its environmental impacts on a protected coastal dunefield" The article was authored by academics based at Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Flinders University in Australia. It argues that the sexual activity of gay/bisexual men has a detrimental impact on protected coastal regions and publishes maps of areas where this was observed to happen. This is an egregious act, and significantly increases the risk of homophobic attacks being coordinated in these areas. On social media, we we questioned Flinders University regarding the ethics of this article and they passed responsibility to the authors at Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, whilst also claiming that an article written in The Conversation based on the Journal of Environmental Management "is regarded as factual, evidence based and ethical."

We, like many others, are astonished that this level of irresponsibility passed editorial and peer review to be published. This, of course, is not the first article like this to also be published. As a community, we want to help enact change, and challenge "research" such as this, and the editorial processes that lead to their publication.

We have penned an open letter to the Editors-in-Chief of the journal in question, asking them to retract the article, and will be sharing this with the respective universities of the authors. We have further contacted the funding body, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Commissioner of the fund, raising concerns that public funding was used to support a study that could directly endanger the lives of people engaging in cruising.

If you wish to disseminate the letter to colleagues, or those who would like to write their own letter of complaint to any of the institutions/publishers involved, please contact us directly at or through our Twitter account (@thestemvillage)

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