Problematic Details Article Mocks Bisexual Women and Lesbians

By GLAAD |
January 15, 2010

In its January edition, Details magazine published an article by Ian Daly titled “The Lure of Dating an Ex-Lesbian: so-called hasbians are going for straight guys just like you!” In this piece, Daly misses an opportunity to increase bi visibility and instead defames women who have dated both women and men, dubbing them “hasbians” or “ex-lesbians.”

Daly sites various pop culture references in an attempt to prove that being a lesbian is passé or no longer trendy as it was in the 90’s, and reaches the conclusion that as a result of this more women are “switching” to male partners. Additionally, he lumps bisexual women with male partners into the category of “hasbian” notably ignoring the definition of bisexuality.

Daly makes a dubious claim that a bisexual woman is somehow “shifting” when entering into a committed relationship with a man. A bisexual person is someone who is physically, romantically, emotionally and/or spiritually attracted to men and women, but by Daly’s definition, once a bisexual person enters into a committed relationship with anyone, they’re “shifting.”

Daly writes:

“There are no reliable statistics by which to gauge how many refugees there are from the isle of Lesbos. Bisexual women, for instance, don't have to "switch teams" to enter into relationships with men, even if they've lived with other women for decades. But if the hasbian (and for simplicity's sake, we'll include bisexuals who've shifted from women to men) really is having a coming-out moment, it might be because the lesbian had her big coming-out moment in the nineties—the decade that saw Cindy Crawford shaving k.d. lang on the cover of Vanity Fair, the birth of Lilith Fair, and the mainstream popularity of lesbian-friendly folksingers like DiFranco, the Indigo Girls, and Dar Williams, not to mention a slew of literal "coming-out moments" set off by Ellen's "Yep, I'm gay" in 1997.”

Without any real knowledge or statistics (the one fact Daly concedes, and yet his own admission on the dearth of statistical data does not preclude him from continuing with his absurd premise) and a handful of pop culture references and interviews with men who have supposedly “landed” a woman who was once involved with another woman, the author spins an elaborate tale naming these isolated incidents as a cultural sea-change in which masses of (uncountable) women are drawn to opposite sex relationships.

He even suggests that a woman’s “biological clock” might be affecting her “sexual proclivities.” In other words, as a woman reaches child-rearing age, even one who has never experienced an attraction to men, might be more inclined to find a male partner in order to reproduce. If the author of this article is unfamiliar with the numerous same-sex couples, many of which include a bisexual partner, who are happily raising children right now, GLAAD would be happy to provide contacts for him to interview.

The article ends with a disturbing segment in which two people who identify as "ex-gays" are quoted. This is particularly offensive given recent news reports on the link between American "ex-gay" activists and Uganda’s virulently anti-gay legislation. The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution in August of 2009 invalidating the efficacy of "ex-gay" treatments and discouraging mental health professionals from telling their patients that it is possible to change their sexual orientation.

Below is an interview with Rachel Maddow and Richard Cohen, the author of the book, Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality and head of the International Healing Foundation, in which she clearly links ex-gay activists with the proposed Uganda bill.

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This irresponsible article perpetuates misconceptions about lesbians and bisexual women and damages our community. GLAAD urges you to contact Details and express your concerns about this piece.

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