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Bisexuals, Multiracials, and Other Misfits Under American Law

Ruth Colker

Publication Year: 1996

The United States, and the West in general, has always organized society along bipolar lines. We are either gay or straight, male or female, white or not, disabled or not.

In recent years, however, America seems increasingly aware of those who defy such easy categorization. Yet, rather than being welcomed for the challenges that they offer, people living the gap are often ostracized by all the communities to which they might belong. Bisexuals, for instance, are often blamed for spreading AIDS to the heterosexual community and are regarded with suspicion by gays and lesbians. Interracial couples are rendered invisible through monoracial recordkeeping that confronts them at school, at work, and on official documents. In Hybrid, Ruth Colker argues that our bipolar classification system obscures a genuine understanding of the very nature of subordination. Acknowledging that categorization is crucial and unavoidable in a world of practical problems and day-to-day conflicts, Ruth Colker shows how categories can and must be improved for the good of all.

Published by: NYU Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Bisexuals are blamed for spreading AIDS to the heterosexual community,1 transsexuals for destroying America's moral fabric, interracial couples for having children who will not fit into American society, and the somewhat disabled for diverting...

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1. Introduction: Living the Gap

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pp. 1-14

Sandra Bern is biologically female and has been married to the same man for nearly three decades, yet disclaims the gender category of "female" and the sexual orientation category of "heterosexual." She avoids such categories because they presume...

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2. A Bi Jurisprudence

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pp. 15-38

Martin S. Weinberg and his colleagues report that one-fourth of self-identified bisexuals are currently "confused" about their bisexuality, with more than half of the women and three-quarters of the men reporting previous confusion.4 People who do...

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3. Sexual Orientation

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pp. 39-86

In a 1981 decision, the South Dakota Supreme Court thought it reasonable to ask Sandra Jacobson to forego a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex. "Concerned parents," the Court wrote, "in many, many instances have made sacrifices of...

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4. Gender

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pp. 87-120

The categorization system of homosexual, transsexual, and transvestite is as important to the affected class (as a means of self-identity) as to the society at large (as a means of oppression). But, as the following story illuminates, categorization can...

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5. Race

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pp. 121-162

The year 1967 was a watershed in the history of interracial relationships in the United States. In the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Virginia statute that made it a felony for "any white person...

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6. Disability

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pp. 163-194

"Transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders"1 were excluded from coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act...

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7. Bipolar Injustice: The Moral Code

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pp. 195-232

Dr. Jean Jew, an Asian-American woman, is a tenured professor at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.1 In the 1980s, she was subjected to a relentless campaign of racial and sexual slurs because of her purported relationship with her supervisor...

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8. Invisible Hybrids under the U.S. Census

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pp. 233-248

The point of this book is not that we should abandon categories. A legal system without categories is impossible, and a society without a legal system invites anarchy. If one thing is clear about American society, it is that it always will be dependent...


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pp. 249-294


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pp. 295-300

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814772195
E-ISBN-10: 0814772196
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814715383
Print-ISBN-10: 0814715389

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 1996

OCLC Number: 45843999
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hybrid

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Discrimination -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • Minorities -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Sexual orientation -- United States.
  • Law -- Social aspects -- United States.
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