Sexual Epistemology and Bisexual Exclusion: A Response to Russell Robinson’s “Masculinity as Prison: Race, Sexual Identity, and Incarceration”

15 Jan 2012 11:12am Michael Boucai 

In an effort to curb sexual assault behind bars, the Los Angeles County Jail currently houses inmates deemed homosexual and transgender in a special unit called "K6G." Professor Russell Robinson's Article, Masculinity as Prison: Race, Sexual Identity, and Incarceration, challenges this policy on a number of grounds. I focus in this Response on just two of Robinson's objections. First I affirm Robinson's proposal that carceral segregation programs, if they are to persist, will more effectively protect queer inmates from sexual assault if they do not fixate exclusively on queer identity. Homosexuality's complicated social epistemology, notoriously an "epistemology of the closet," compels this conclusion. I then reflect on some possible reasons (not necessarily justifications) for K6G's categorical exclusion of people who claim a bisexual identity. This exclusion is one of several aspects of the Jail's segregation policy that Robinson criticizes for disadvantaging individuals who diverge from a race- and class-specific stereotype of "the homosexual."



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