hands open holding letters that spell LGBTQ

Associated Faculty: James D. Weinrich

Email: [email protected]

James Weinrich

I've been doing LGBTQ research in psychology and biology ever since my Ph.D. thesis, half of which was about an evolutionary explanation of homosexuality. (The other half was about social class differences in sexual behavior among heterosexuals.)

After getting my Ph.D. in biology, I received a Junior Fellowship at Harvard for the next three years, where I elaborated the theories I had written about for the degree. I also ensured, via a calm but upfront demeanor, that the new biological theories of sexual orientation variability would not be phrased in a way that would jeopardize the gay movement.

Even though biology is a "hard" science, I took care to learn as much as I could about the humanities and social sciences. I am particularly proud of my association with historian John Boswell, who acted as my mentor while dipping in to that huge literature. From these interactions, I learned many things about human erotic variability that would help me prevent making big mistakes in my scientific theorizing later on.

Then I moved to Baltimore to work in the Psychohormonal Research Unit at Johns Hopkins, where I acquired some clinical skills (especially interviewing). I also met some of the most sexually diverse people on the planet -- another lesson in anti-stereotyping.

Moving back to Boston, this time to Boston University Medical School, I worked with the Family Studies Laboratory to resurrect a partly-completed study that ended up showing that homosexuality runs in families.

Following the grant trail, I moved to San Diego and UCSD, again in the Department of Psychiatry. Working for Igor Grant, I was the Center Manager (along with other roles) for the first 10 years of the HNRC (HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center). Although this multi-million-dollar NIMH grant revolved around neuropsychology, not sex research per se, I was able to insert some LGBTQ-related items into the general protocol.

Eventually the grant money ran out, so I decided to try teaching. I liked it, then went back to school -- at SDSU -- to earn a Master's degree in Psychology. My master's thesis was 100% LGB-related, and addressed the question of which erotic subgroups (heterosexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals) are attracted in which ways to their erotic targets (women's and men's bodies, preferred sex acts, and relationship types). For example, lesbian women, bisexual women, and straight men are all attracted to women, but do they share similar preferences for which body parts, sex acts, and relationship types?

This life-long scholarly interest in sexual orientation brought me to the attention of the Journal of Bisexuality, which hired me to become their editor in April, 2011. The journal is highly interdisciplinary, and I feel uniquely blessed to be able to draw on my research experience to get new, scholarly, interesting research created inside the ivory tower, and then out into the world at large.

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