Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law

  • ISBN 13:


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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 12/06/2011
  • Publisher: South End Pr

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What's wrong with rights? Much of the legal advocacy for transgender people has followed the path of the gay and lesbian civil rights and "equality" strategy--legal reforms that are supposed to guarantee equal access, nondiscrimination, and equal protection under the law. This legal strategy assumes the state, its legal, policing, and social services apparatus--even its policies and documents of belonging and non-belonging--are neutral and benevolent. While we all have to comply with the gender binaries set forth by regulatory bodies of law and administration, many transgender people, especially the most marginalized, are even more at risk for poverty and the likelihood of violence and premature death by those same "neutral" legal structures. In short, what guarantees can anti-discrimination, equal access, or equal protection laws actually deliver? Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Lawis the highly anticipated debut by Dean Spade, heralded as a deeply influential voice on trans and queer liberation struggles. Spade raises revelatory critiques of the current strategies for trans rights, but also points to examples of an organized grassroots trans movement demanding the most essential of legal reforms while making more comprehensive interventions into dangerous systems of repression--and the administrative violence that ultimately determine our survival. Setting forth a politic that goes beyond the quest for mere legal inclusion, Normal Lifeis an urgent call for justice and trans liberation, and the radical transformations it will require. A trans activist, attorney, and educator, Dean Spadehas taught classes on sexual orientation, gender identity, and law at CUNY, Seattle University, and Harvard University. In 2002 he founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a collective that provides free legal services and works to build trans resistance rooted in racial and economic justice.

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