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52 Stan. L. Rev. 353 (1999-2000)
The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure

handle is hein.journals/stflr52 and id is 373 raw text is: The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual
Kenji Yoshino*
In this article, Professor Kenji Yoshino seeks to explain why the category
of bisexuality has been erased in contemporary American political and legal
discourse. He first argues that the invisibility of bisexuality relative to homo-
sexuality does not reflect the incidences of those orientations in the population.
Defining bisexuality as the possession of more than incidental desire for both
sexes, Yoshino shows that the major sexuality studies demonstrate that the inci-
dence of bisexuality is in fact greater than or comparable to the incidence of
homosexuality. Yoshino explains the erasure of bisexuality by positing that
both self-identified heterosexuals and self-identified homosexuals have overlap-
ping interests in the erasure of bisexuality that lead them into an epistemic
contract of bisexual erasure. These interests include: (1) the stabilization of
exclusive sexual orientation categories; (2) the retention of sex as an important
diacritical axis; and (3) the protection of norms of monogamy. Noting that
such contracts tend to become visible only when they are challenged, Yoshino
describes how bisexuals have increasingly contested their own erasure. Fi-
nally, Yoshino examines the effects of bisexual invisibility and visibility in the
legal realm, focusing on the sexual harassment jurisprudence of recent dec-
* Associate Professor, Yale Law School. I thank Akhil Amar, Ian Ayres, Jennifer Gerarda
Brown, Ariela Dubler, Bill Eskridge, Oren Izenberg, Robert Post, Bill Rubenstein, Vicki Schultz,
Reva Siegel, and Amanda Tyler. I am also grateful to participants in workshops at Columbia Law
School, Fordham Law School, and Yale Law School, as well as students in my Theorizing Sexual-
ity seminar at Yale and Larry Lessig's Advanced Constitutional Law seminar at Harvard. Rick
Baker, Romana Mancini, Ravenna Michalsen, Zachary Potter, Rose Saxe, and Eric Sonnenschein
supplied excellent research assistance.


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