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Normal Life: Administrative Violence,…
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Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the…

by Dean Spade

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When my daughter was home on spring break, we got to talking about LGBTQ activism and specifically "what's next" after marriage equality. She mentioned this book, which she read for a class a couple of years ago, and credited it with expanding her thinking about the intersectional nature of LGBTQ politics. And now it has also expanded mine. In Normal Life, Dean Spade offers a strong critique of the popular LGBTQ agenda, focused on non-discrimination and largely championed by people who already come from a position of privilege (white, educated, wealthy). Spade describes the intersectional issues that affect life chances, especially for those who are non-white, poor, and/or caught up in the criminal justice system. Spade advocates for social justice work that attacks these underlying issues: how do you reduce incarceration? Ensure healthcare? Housing and food? There was particular focus on the trans community, whose concerns are only just coming to the forefront of privileged minds like mine.

This book is not for everyone -- it's really dry reading -- but I learned a heck of a lot in less than 200 pages. ( )
1 vote lauralkeet | Apr 29, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0896087964, Paperback)

Wait—what’s wrong with rights?

Much of the legal advocacy for trans and gender nonconforming people in the US has reflected the civil rights and “equality” strategies of mainstream gay and lesbian organizations—agitating for legal reforms that would ostensibly guarantee equal access, nondiscrimination, and equal protection under the law. This approach assumes that the state and 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 trans people, especially the most marginalized, are even more at risk for poverty, violence, and premature death by virtue of those same “neutral” legal structures.

Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law raises revelatory critiques of the current strategies pivoting solely on a “legal rights framework,” but also points to examples of an organized grassroots trans movement that is demanding the most essential of legal reforms in addition to making more comprehensive interventions into dangerous systems of repression—and the administrative violence that ultimately determines our life chances. Setting forth a politic that goes beyond the quest for mere legal inclusion, Normal Life is an urgent call for justice and trans liberation, and the radical transformations it will require.

An attorney, educator, and trans activist, Dean Spade has taught classes on sexual orientation, gender identity, poverty and law at the City University of New York (CUNY), Seattle University, Columbia University, and Harvard. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:44 -0400)

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