Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law
Dean Spade is an Assistant Professor at the Seattle University School of Law. In 2002, Spade founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a nonprofit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. For more writing by Dean Spade, see http://www.deanspade.net.
What’s Wrong with Rights?
This chapter examines the most common and visible legal interventions taken up in the contemporary struggle for trans rights: anti-discrimination laws and hate crime laws. It demonstrates why these reforms fail to provide relief to the poverty, criminalization, and violence faced by trans people, but instead provide a window-dressing of equality for ongoing conditions of subjection. It argues that these recognition-focused reforms not only fail to provide relief, but also enhance the power, resources, and legitimacy of systems, such as criminal punishment, that continue to endanger trans people.