Nov 29, 2011

normal life


dean spade's long awaited book on administrative law!! you should read this book! it's like miu miu glittery booties- some trends SHOULD be followed. so this is like an academic book but very accessible. you can order it from the extremely righteous south end press or if your morals get loose when you're impatient like me you can also overnight thru amazon... I SAY whatever you do GET IT

to me his words read like a kind of poetry/blade/waterfall in their truth:
The stories I heard from my first clients and continued to hear from the trans people I met through my work at SRLP [Sylvia Rivera Law Project] portrayed a set of barriers--both from bias and from the web of inconsistent administrative rules governing gender--that produce significant vulnerability. The impact of these conditions ranges across subpopulations of trans people: even those with privilege, education, white privilege, US citizenship, physical and mental ability perceived as average or above, and English-language skills experience many of these hurdles. Those with such privileges have many of the same ID problems, often cannot afford health care, experience incidents of physical attack, have their parental rights terminated by courts, are arrested for using bathrooms or barred from gender appropriate bathrooms at work and/or school, are discriminated against in hiring, are discriminated against by insurance companies, and lose family support. Most experience a downward mobility in terms of wealth/income because of their trans identities. However, access to certain privileges that serve in determining the distribution of life chances (e.g., whiteness, perceived ablebodiedness, employment, immigration status) often offer some individuals degrees of buffering from violences faced by people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, indigenous people, prisoners, foster youth, and homeless people. The most marginalized trans people experience the most extreme vulnerability, in part because more aspects of their lives are directly controlled by legal and administrative systems of domination--prisons, welfare programs, foster care, drug treatment centers, homeless shelters, job training centers--that employ rigid gender binaries. These intersecting vectors of control make obtaining resources especially difficult, restrict access to zones of retreat or safety, and render every loss of a job, family support, or access to an advocate or a health care opportunity more costly. The most marginalized trans people have the least protection from violence, experience more beatings and rapes, are imprisoned at extremely high rates, and are more likely to be disappeared and killed. 
[BOLDS my emphasis] 
for some reason the idea that poverty can actually "restrict access to zones of retreat or safety" feels like MIND BENDING. it makes me think about how often people use money to push boundaries and buy their way through closed doors, etc... but when you don't have that, it's like there can be no relief. no space where you are not completely bent over ass dominated by the law...

lately i've been trying to better understand what "safe space" really means, in terms of queerness transness - but also in terms of wealth. dean's voice inspires me to keep re-thinking how we create it...  

it's also powerful analysis that can be difficult to share and communicate, this basic transformative idea that the most vulnerable members of our communities (trans or whatever X) experience the most violence and therefore should be put at the center of our movements as opposed to periphery. in my experience, "vulnerable" can also be tricky when put into practice particularly in organizing/service provision contexts, because it can strip people of their agency and turn them into victims or "clients." it's a wobbly but important line to keep walking...

post update.


this is some gay mag cover i held onto from a few years go... i think about this image a lot. (especially re dean's work) because it's it really feels like the time we are slogging through right now: the gay agenda, obama etc. from the moment of wildness's genesis til now - which is the filter i'm processing through. i notice the world paying a little more attention to trans stuff. i think our movement runs the risk just like any other of co-opting weird norms, if we end of fighting for inclusion or legal equality...

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