Dr Lisa Diamond - February 15, 2024 at Eccles APEX

Dr. Lisa Diamond

February 15, 2024
The Great Hall

Lisa M. Diamond is Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah. She studies the expression of sexual attractions and sexual identity over the life course, and the influences of early life experiences on later sexual development. Dr. Diamond is best known for her research on sexual fluidity, which describes the capacity for individuals to experience shifts in their pattern of same-sex and other-sex attractions over time. Her 2008 book, Sexual Fluidity, published by Harvard University Press, describes the changes and transformations that she has observed in the sexual attractions, behaviors, and identities of a sample of lesbian, bisexual, and “unlabeled” women that she has been following since 1995. Sexual Fluidity has been awarded the Distinguished Book Award from the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Study of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered Issues. Dr. Diamond is co-editor of the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology and is a fellow of two divisions of the APA. Dr. Diamond has published over 120 articles and book chapters, and has been invited to present her research at over 100 national and international Universities and conferences She has received awards for her work from the Developmental Psychology and LGBT Psychology Divisions of the APA, the American Association of University Women, the International Association for Relationship Research, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.


Understanding Social Safety
By: Christina Schweiss

The Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. event on Feb. 15 featured Lisa Diamond, a Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah. Her presentation was called "Social Safety and Human Thriving Across the Spectrum of Sexual and Gender Diversity."

Diamond explained that stress has been around since the beginning of human history. People who belong to a minority tend to be more stressed than others, and that is because of the fact that they don't feel like they have social safety. In other words, they feel misplaced more often than not and don't feel accepted.

When you are a part of a minority group, you don't know what you will experience going out into the world.

"Every day is a little bit unpredictable," said Diamond.

Social safety is having a group to go to, or to see who you are. Knowing you are not alone ties into our primal ancestors – you feel safe.

Diamond said, "We all need conditional protection and connection from people around us."

Diamond explained that stress is something everyone experiences, saying, "Each experience of stress has a toll on us. Too much stress is bad for us – like a car breaking down."

When we surround ourselves with other people who love and accept us, our stress levels go down.

"[Other people are] a cue to our nervous system that we will be okay," said Diamond. "We need to spend more time together, and with individuals who validate us."

Diamond mentioned the concept of being resilient. She explained that resilience is a state of having high access to social safety. That way when you're stressed, you have a group to go to.

People can provide social safety in many different ways: by smiling at someone, asking if someone needs help, listening to people — the list goes on and on.

Diamond told the audience, "Go out into the dangerous world and come back to your campfire." The campfire in this analogy represents where you feel the most understood and feel socially safe.




  • Going to a Town - Rufus Wainwright
  • Us Against the World - Jungle
  • The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
  • Getting Older - Billie Eilish