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Milton Diamond

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Milton Diamond
Diamond in 2010
Born(1934-03-06)March 6, 1934
DiedMarch 20, 2024(2024-03-20) (aged 90)
Alma materCity College of New York (BS)
University of Kansas (PhD)
Known forFollowing up the case of David Reimer
Scientific career
FieldsThe study of human sexuality
InstitutionsUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Milton Diamond (March 6, 1934 – March 20, 2024) was an American professor of anatomy and reproductive biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.[2] After a career in the study of human sexuality, Diamond retired from the university in December 2009 but continued with his research and writing until retiring fully in 2018.[3] He died on March 20, 2024, at the age of 90.[4]

Early career[edit]

Milton Diamond graduated from the City College of New York with a BS in biophysics in 1955,[1] after which he spent three years in the Army as an engineering officer, stationed in Japan.[5] On returning to the United States, he attended graduate school at University of Kansas from 1958 to 1962 and earned a PhD in anatomy and psychology from that University.[5] His first job was teaching at the University of Louisville, School of Medicine where he simultaneously completed two years toward an Doctor of Medicine, passing his Basic Medicine Boards,[1] and in 1967 he moved to Hawaii to take up a post at the recently established John A. Burns School of Medicine. Milton Diamond had a long running feud with the psychologist Dr. John Money. In 1965 Diamond published "A Critical Evaluation of the Ontogeny of Human Sexual Behavior" a critique of Money's work. In the early seventies, Diamond and Money were attending a conference on transgenderism in Dubrovnik. According to the book As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl (page 174)[6] at this conference Money initiated a loud and aggressive argument with Diamond. One witness claims that Money punched Diamond; however, Diamond himself said that he could not recall any physical contact during this encounter.

David Reimer[edit]

Diamond was best known for following up on the case of David Reimer, a boy raised as a girl under the supervision of John Money after his penis was damaged beyond surgical repair during a botched circumcision, which was performed using an unconventional method of electrocauterization instead of a clamp and scalpel.[7][8] This case, which Money renamed that of "John/Joan" to protect Reimer's privacy, has become one of the most cited cases in the literature of psychiatry, anthropology, women's studies, child development, and biology of gender.[citation needed] With the cooperation of H. Keith Sigmundson, who had been Reimer's supervising psychiatrist, Diamond tracked down the adult Reimer and found that Money's sex reassignment of Reimer had failed. Diamond was the first to alert physicians that the model, proposed by Reimer's case, of how to treat infants with intersex conditions was faulty.[9]

Diamond recommended[10] that physicians should not perform surgery on intersex infants without their informed consent, should assign such infants to the gender to which they will probably best adjust, and refrain from adding shame, stigma and secrecy to the issue, by assisting intersex people to meet and associate with others of like condition. Diamond similarly encouraged considering the intersex condition as a difference of sex development, not as a disorder.[11]

Work, appointments and awards[edit]

Diamond wrote extensively about abortion and family planning, pornography, intersexuality, transsexuality, and other sex- and reproduction-related issues for professional sex and legal journals, as well as lay periodicals. He was frequently interviewed for public media and legal matters, and often served as an expert in court proceedings, and was known for his research on the origins and development of sexual identity. He retired from teaching in 2009, but continued to research and consult concerning transsexuality, intersexuality and pornography until he retired fully in 2018.


Diamond was based at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, from 1967.[5] He was appointed Professor of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology in 1971, and from 1985 until his retirement he was Director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society[5] within the School of Medicine.

In 1999 Diamond was appointed President of the International Academy of Sex Research,[12] and in 2001/02 President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.[13]


The awards Diamond received include:

Selected publications[edit]

  • Sexual Decisions (1980), ISBN 0-316-18388-1
  • Sexwatching: Looking into the World of Sexual Behaviour (1992), ISBN 1-85375-024-7
  • Sexual Behavior in Pre Contact Hawaiʻi: A Sexological Ethnography[21][22]


  1. ^ a b c "Scientific Advisory Board". Archive for Sexology. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
  2. ^ "Board of Regents' Meeting, Thursday, September 25, 2014" (PDF). University of Hawaiʻi. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  3. ^ "Pacific Center for Sex and Society – Home Page". University of Hawaiʻi. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "Obituary - Professor Emeritus Milton Diamond Ph.D." University of Hawaii. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c d "An Introduction to Professor Milton Diamond Ph.D." Changeling Aspects. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
  6. ^ Colapinto, John (2000). As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-092959-6
  7. ^ Colapinto, John (2001). As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 11-13. ISBN 978-0-06-019211-2.
  8. ^ "Health Check: The Boy Who Was Raised a Girl". BBC News. November 23, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  9. ^ "Sexual Identity, Monozygotic Twins Reared in Discordant Sex Roles and a BBC Follow-Up". Milton Diamond, Ph.D. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  10. ^ Diamond, Milton; Sigmundson, H. Keith (October 1997). "Management of intersexuality. Guidelines for dealing with persons with ambiguous genitalia". Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 151 (10): 1046–50. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170470080015. PMID 9343018. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  11. ^ Diamond, Milton; Beh, Hazel. (2008). "Changes In Management Of Children With Differences Of Sex Development". Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism. 4 (1): 4–5. doi:10.1038/ncpendmet0694. hdl:10125/66380. PMID 17984980. S2CID 13382948.
  12. ^ "Meeting History". International Academy of Sex Research. Archived from the original on March 30, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  13. ^ "Society Presidents". The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Archived from the original on November 15, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  14. ^ "Past awards for research". Gender Identity Research and Education Society. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  15. ^ "Archive for Sexology". HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSITÄT ZU BERLIN. Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  16. ^ "Intersexuelle Menschen e.V." Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  17. ^ "Zwischengeschlechtliche ehrten Milton Diamond". Zwischengeschlecht.info. Archived from the original on September 20, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  18. ^ "Regents' Medal for Excellence in Research awarded to outstanding UH faculty". University of Hawaiʻi System. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  19. ^ "Kinsey Award". The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  20. ^ "WAS Newsletter 2015, Volume 12 Issue 1" (PDF). The World Association for Sexual Health. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  21. ^ "Sexual Behavior in Pre Contact Hawai段: A Sexological Ethnography". Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  22. ^ "Sexual Behavior in Pre-Contact Hawaiʻi: A Sexological Ethnography". Archived from the original on December 24, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008.

External links[edit]