Volume 100 -- Issue 4 Georgetown Law Journal

Hybrid Revisited

In Sexual Reorientation, Professor Elizabeth Glazer seeks to offer a “new way of understanding sexual orientation that reflects the lived experience of human sexuality.” This new framework is based on the concepts of “specific orientation” and “general orientation.” “Specific orientation” is the “sex of the individual’s desired or actual partner(s).” “General orientation” is the “sex toward which the individual is attracted as a general matter.” Applying this framework, Glazer describes bisexuals as individuals who have a general orientation towards men and women even though they may be in a monogamous relationship with a particular man or a particular woman. This framework seeks to offer “antidiscrimination law a model for the protection of living identities, with respect to sexual orientation.” In particular, it aspires to facili- tate antidiscrimination law’s recognizing and protecting bisexuals.

Glazer would classify as a bisexual someone like “Sandy” who ends a relationship with a man to get involved with a woman. Sandy’s current specific orientation is towards a woman but her general orientation is toward “men and women.” Glazer would use Sandy’s specific and general orientations to classify her as a bisexual rather than as someone who transformed from a heterosexual to a lesbian. If Sandy were a plaintiff in a case involving a state’s ban on marriage between people of the same sex, her lawyer would be able to argue to a court that Sandy, as a bisexual, is constitutionally entitled to marry a woman without pretending she is an exclusive lesbian.

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