Lisa Diamond, Department of Psychology, University of Utah.
A NEW VIEW OF LESBIAN SUBTYPES: STABLE VERSUS FLUID IDENTITY TRAJECTORIES OVER AN 8-YEAR PERIOD
Version of Record online: 13 MAY 2005
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 119–128, June 2005
How to Cite
Diamond, L. M. (2005), A NEW VIEW OF LESBIAN SUBTYPES: STABLE VERSUS FLUID IDENTITY TRAJECTORIES OVER AN 8-YEAR PERIOD. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29: 119–128. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2005.00174.x
The author acknowledges the participation and assistance of the recruitment sites.
- Issue online: 13 MAY 2005
- Version of Record online: 13 MAY 2005
- Initial submission: January 15, 2004 Initial acceptance: September 20, 2004 Final acceptance: December 8, 2004
Research has increasingly documented that the distinction between lesbian and bisexual women is one of degree rather than kind, and some researchers have therefore argued for an end to sexual categorization altogether. To the contrary, I maintain that researchers should explore alternative criteria for sexual categorization that might allow us to discern novel and meaningful subtypes of same-sex sexuality. Toward this end, I explore the usefulness of a typology that focuses on change in lesbian identification over time, using a sample of young sexual-minority women that has been observed longitudinally for a period of 8 years. Specifically, I contrast women who have maintained consistent lesbian identifications over this time period (stable lesbians) to women who have alternated between lesbian and nonlesbian labels (fluid lesbians) and women who never adopted lesbian labels (stable nonlesbians). The pattern of similarities and differences among the groups changes as a function of the specific phenomenon being assessed (e.g., sexual and emotional attractions, sexual contact, developmental histories), suggesting the value of using multiple, alternative sexual typologies as heuristics to guide future research into life span development of sexual orientation and identity.