Lisa Diamond Calls Out Boehner’s DOMA Team For Fucking With Her Shit

You might remember Lisa Diamond from a number of places — maybe your Mom bought you Sexual Fluidity in an attempt to express passive acceptance of your lifestyle with a nod to the possibility that you might flow back on over to hetero-ville (this actually happened to somebody I know, could be an isolated incident) or maybe you remember seeing her in The Real L Word, in which she met with Nikki Weiss and Jill Goldstein about the TV series the now-married couple optioned from Diamond’s book.

Or maybe — and this is the most likely position of all — you have no fucking idea who she is. Well, neither does The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States Representatives, apparently, but that didn’t stop them from extracting quotes from her work to support their unsupportable thesis!

As you may recall, Paul Clement, Legal Eagle of the Universe, left his law firm in order to defend DOMA, as requested by John Boehner, who is an idiot. Their whipsmart crack-team of legal experts are presently hard at work ensuring 81-year-old widow Edie Windsor’s relationship with her deceased partner is not recognized by the federal government. As Rachel covered for you when their spectacular document was revealed, it truly is an anti-gay masterpiece.

Misrepresenting research — whether that means presenting faulty/biased research as fact  or presenting actual research with inaccurate context — is essentially all the anti-gays can do in these cases because, as aforementioned, their case is fundamentally wrong. DOMA is based on discrimination against gay people, plain and simple. Discrimination is a difficult thing to defend in court, so instead they make shit up, mostly about babies, indoctrinating children and being born gay.

Yesterday, Lisa Diamond filed an affadavit to complain that her work was being distorted. Diamond, an associate professor of developmental psychology at the University of Utah, says her areas of specialty “include the nature and development of affectional bonds and the nature and development of same-sex sexuality.” She also wrote Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men For WomenThis is what Diamond lays out in her affidavit:

BLAG misconstrues and distorts my research findings, which do not support the propositions for which BLAG cites them. Specifically…BLAG quotes the following statement from one of my papers: “…there is currently no scientific or popular consensus on the exact constellation of experiences that definitively ‘qualify’ an individual as lesbian, gay or bisexual” – as support for their claim that sexual orientation is not immutable. This is incorrect. My quoted statement concerns the scientific and popular debates over the defining characteristics of LGBT individuals and it says nothing whatsoever about the immutability of sexual orientation itself. Hence, BLAG has incorrectly characterized my research.

BLAG goes on to state on page 11 that “according to multiple sources, a high number of persons who experience sexual attraction to members of the same sex early in their adult lives later cease to experience such attraction” and in support of this claim they provide the following quote from one of my articles: “50% [of respondents] had changed their identity label more than once since first relinquishing their heterosexual identity.” The quotes statement refers to sexual identity labels (i.e., how individuals describe and interpret their sexuality), and not to sexual orientation. Neither this article nor any of my other published work supports BLAG’s claim that “a high number of persons who experience sexual attracton to members of the same sex early in their adult lives later cease to experience such attraction.” Hence they have completely misinterpreted my research.

Alvin McEwan at Pam’s House Blend points out that this is far from the only problem in the BLAG’s documents — just like the bogus science from the the Prop 8 case.

McEwan focuses on the “Plantiff Mistates the Science on Same-Sex Parenting” section,which he categorizes as “a huge mess.” The work of George W. Dent is used to make the case that same-sex parenting is inferior to heterosexual parenting, but Dent backs up his thesis with completely fabricated statements as well as citations of discredited researcch and researchers. This includes the work of George Rekers, the ex-gay movement icon recently caught taking a European trip with a rentboy. Rekers has also been in the news lately for his role in the eventual suicide of one of his patients, who entered treatment for homosexuality at the age of four, and who at no point experienced successful conversion to a straight man.

Some of Geroge W. Dent’s crazy shit includes:

Every child with homosexual guardians has lost at least one biological parent. Loss of a parent is universally regarded as a great misfortune. If the child has one biological parent, the other adult is a step-parent. In fables step-parents are typically hostile to their step-children.

 At this point I want to laugh at the ridiculousness of it but it’s just not funny anymore! It’s exhausting. I know I’ve only been alive for 29 years but i wish people could just stop making shit up. The bad research and inept researchers brought to testify in the Prop 8 trial were one thing; anyone who has ever served on a jury can agree that not everyone speaking before the judge is going to be a blue-ribbon witness. This, however, is a case being brought by the actual government of our actual country, and which John Boehner wants the Justice department to pay for. In short, this isn’t just embarrassingly bad research being presented with the brazen hope that no one will actually look at it; this is your federal tax dollars at work! And also Lisa Diamond’s — that lady is well within her rights to complain.

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1795 articles for us.

38 Comments

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    i want to comment, and yet, what more can one say about this stupid bullshit? thank you for continuing to write about all this, though. this is about the only source of news i can read about these legal cases that doesn’t make me want to throw my computer on the floor and punch the nearest person in the face. (which would be bad, because i’m usually at work. it’s not even my own computer.)

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    Oh man! Last winter I signed up to take part in a research study at the U of U by Lisa Diamond. It involved giving saliva samples and writing down my sexual attractions every day for a month, but I ended up not having the time to go to the U to pick up the equipment needed.

    Now I’m sad I didn’t contribute to this awesome lady’s research. :( Sorry, Dr. Diamond!

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    “maybe your Mom bought you Sexual Fluidity in an attempt to express passive acceptance of your lifestyle with a nod to the possibility that you might flow back on over to hetero-ville (this actually happened to somebody I know, could be an isolated incident)”

    Isolated incident? Not at all. I’ve heard this a lot too. It just goes to show that there are real-world consequences for young lesbians when this “sexuality is fluid business” gets thrown around. Likewise, there are consequences when fluid queer women use the wrong label to describe themselves (you know what I mean).

    People hear about this stuff. Parents hear about it. I know that sexuality is fluid for a lot of queer women. But so many times people say “Well sexuality is fluid” like it’s a given for *everyone*. Does any of this give parents an excuse to not accept their child’s sexual orientation? No. But it sure as heck doesn’t help young lesbians who are trying to get taken seriously for being what they are.

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      I completely agree with you and glad someone actually has th backbone to say what a lot of us lesbians are thinking.

      I hope the fluidity brigade are happy now, they’ve perpetuated the idea that lesbians don’t exist and homosexuality is a choice into the mainstream. Well done, you overly PC morons should be so proud of yourselves.

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            I addressed what I felt was Anon’s tone rather than content because I didn’t think bitter feelings-vomit really needed a thought-out, rational response. If Anon had made a real comment I might have made a real response and we could have politely discussed our differing views. Autostraddle is a place for intelligence and mutual dialogue and I am offended when commenters don’t respect AS writers and their fellow commenters enough to do so.

            But sure, here’s my feelings-

            Just like Anon, sexually fluid people want their identity to be respected. What I personally hate about that fluid/not-fluid argument is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Why can’t we acknowledge that while some people are fluid, some aren’t? I hate having to assume other human beings are too dumb to be able to understand a concept like “I’m like this, but my friend is like this. Both of these are valid, and exist.”
            I’d rather fight against ignorance in the wider population than unproductively blaming people who dare to be different from me.

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            Oh I’m sorry, did I sound a little annoyed? That’s often a byproduct of not being taken seriously and having your sexuality trivialized even by people who are supposedly fighting for the same cause as you.

            The problem with the fluidity cult is that they don’t say “MY sexuality is fluid.” but rather the all-encompassing “Sexuality is fluid.” Your sexuality may be fluid but please don’t speak for everyone, my sexuality is not fluid and I don’t apologize for that.

            I’m sick of sexually fluid individuals constantly preaching about how everyone has the potential to be fluid and even trying to change the definition of what a lesbian is. I’m sick of going to this site and the forums on another popular lesbian website and seeing posts that read “I’m a lesbian but I have sex with men…” and anyone who argues that being a lesbian means being exclusively sexually and romantically attracted to women being met with hostility and ad hominem attacks. Why are lesbians being made to feel like outsiders on lesbian websites? It’s absurd.

            If you don’t see how reckless all this fluidity talk is then you need to open your eyes. This article is proof of how damaging the sexual fluidity movement is now it’s hitting the mainstream, it perpetuates the idea that lesbianism doesn’t exist and that homosexuality is a choice. Other than right-wing homophobes who are desperate to prove that homosexuality is a choice, parents who don’t want to accept their child is gay and straight men who think they can “turn” lesbians this relentless sexual fluidity brainwashing benefits no one.

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            The problem with the fluidity cult is that they don’t say “MY sexuality is fluid.”

            Sooo… your problem is that they generalise? Irony much?

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            i don’t want to get crazy or whatever but i guess i kinda feel like straight people giving you shit is about them being straight, not me being queer

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            “Oh I’m sorry, did I sound a little annoyed? That’s often a byproduct of not being taken seriously and having your sexuality trivialized even by people who are supposedly fighting for the same cause as you.”

            It’s funny, if I didn’t know better I could have easily read that statement as being from a bisexual person frustrated with the biphobia in the gay/lesbian community.

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            Also, I don’t see how anyone who reads the articles about bisexuality and sexual fluidity can believe we’re the privileged group here. We can’t have an article on either of those topics without it starting a shitstorm. By contrast, there are many articles with “lesbian” in the title which do not elicit such a reaction.

            I won’t deny that lesbians have issues with people denying their sexuality; I’m not going to play Oppression Olympics and act like bisexuals have it worse. Because they don’t, necessarily. But I don’t think you’re doing either group a favor by acting like your rigidity over labels is the same as “having your sexuality denied.” It’s actually pretty insulting, to me, that you think that’s comparable.

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            My sexuality has never been fluid either.

            However, how other people describe themselves has nothing to do with me. If a woman calls herself a lesbian, but occasionally has sex with men, it doesn’t mean they they can’t call themselves a lesbian nor does it mean I too could have sex with men. We are just different lesbians.

            You have to realize that to some degree your experience is completely unique and there is no group in which you would have 100% in common with 100% of the time.

            As you get older, people will stop questioning your identity because they’ll know you by your history.

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    A million thumbs up for you Krista, it’s nice to see some people in the community that haven’t gone completley loco, and refuse to be a part of the homophobic fluid propoganda.

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    Hello everyone, I hope everyone is having a good day for I had two vegan muffins when I was suppose to have one. They were delicious and some crumbs even got on my keyboard (oh no). Anyway I am not here to tell you about my muffin eating adventures (hehee) but something that has been on my mind for some time.

    Non-fluid lesbians are real because I am a non-fluid lesbian. Fluid lesbians are real because I know two and one of them made me some yummy vegan muffins (full circle).

    We both can exist, how you may ask? Well for me anyway it is about perspective, labels and sexytime with people. I personally don’t take the word “lesbian” seriously because of the fluidity talk, OMFG right? Not really, it is just *I* feel that most labels really should be taken with a grain of salt and I rather tell people my sexual preference/orientation is often with beautiful women pointing south (sometimes north if I am frisky) EXCLUSIVELY, not “lesbian”. I use lesbian/gay/queer as a political term for sexual politics and equality.

    A lesbian who sleeps with men often or once in a while might confuse me for a bit BUT it does not stop me from only wanting sexual/romantic relationships with women (this list includes trans women/cis women/cis-gender women/oh-girl-I-like-your-top women).

    Yes it’s annoying when people conflate identities but you live with it because we all want to be seen as equals to straight people. Also what most I-will-never-be-attracted-to-men lesbians I find are really annoyed about when it comes to the whole sexuality is fluid is that unfortunately gets conflated with hetero-sexist and sexist rhetoric like, “Oh you just need to find the right man.” So to them sexual fluidity sounds like, “sexuality is fluid=you will find someone of the opposite sex attractive and therefore non-fluid does not exists, you’re in DENIAL!!! (evil cackle)”

    Non-fluid lesbians just need to be more secure about their identities and just kindly remind that “you go glen coco on being fluid but it does not apply to me!”

    In conclusion fluid lesbians/gays/bis/etc. exist and non-fluid lesbians/gays/bis/etc. exist too. NOW CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG LIKE WE USE TO IN MIDDLE SCHOOL? I JUST WANT EVERYBODY TO BE HAPPY DAMMIT!

    Ugh I ran out of yummy vegan muffins :(

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    PS:I just want to date a bisexual woman who is secure in her identity because I do feel like the label gymnastics people do to “keep” a label is a little ridiculous.

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          Okay, really? I decided not to respond to you above because I was too frustrated to say anything of value and didn’t want to drag everything out. I consider it a flame thread because there was a lot of anger and bitterness involved, on both sides. Secondly, this is not a lesbian site. Autostraddle is a “girl-on-girl culture” site, which includes lesbians, bisexuals, and other queer-identified individuals, including the sexually fluid people you find so offensive. Our beloved CEO of Everything Riese is bisexual-identified. If this was a solely “lesbian” site we’d have to get rid of a lot of the contributing writers and editors.
          Don’t seek an argument with me, we’ve both stated our opinions and I still disagree with you and (I assume) you disagree with me. Let’s be done.

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    I’m not at all that surprised that Diamond’s theories are being used this way – I expected it and blogged about the potential for it happening as soon as I started reading her work. Her protests are going to fall on deaf ears – no one is going to pay attention to the details of what she’s saying, and there’s a lot of convoluted thought process in her work anyway. Trying to make distinction between sexual orientation and “labels” doesn’t make any more sense to the gay community than it does to the heterosexuals, hence the flame wars here and on other gay sites.

    And her work isn’t widely accepted amongst researchers, either. There’s quite a bit of disagreement about her methods and conclusions. All in all, her theories aren’t a net win for the LGBT community either in understanding or in the political arena.

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