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.
Law Reform and Movement Building
This chapter argues that law reform strategies have a place in trans resistance, since so much harm to trans people still occurs at the hands of legal and administrative systems, but that law reform should not be the central aim of trans politics. The chapter introduces a framework for understanding how survival services, media advocacy, and law reform all might be reconceptualized as tactics within a theory of social change that centers mobilization and community organizing. It looks at how the professionalization and nonprofitization of social movements has altered the leadership, accountability, and demands of movements over the last few decades and advocates a grassroots model that seeks to build participation, democracy, and power for trans resistance.