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

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

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.

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