Transpolitics in a Neoliberal Landscape

Dean Spade ’97, law professor and founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, gave a lecture last night in the James Room that was, I thought, fantastic.

He made some great points about inclusion politics–it’s not just about gay marriage, for example, and equality in the eyes of the law, but about structural and bottom-up change.  (This reminded me a lot of the idea in food activism that it’s not all about eating organic if your kiwi still comes from New Zealand, but eating locally, sustainably, making sure the workers who picked your kiwi get paid enough, etc.–major structural changes.)

His point that feminist laws sometimes have inappropriate solutions also hit home for me.  I’ve considered both domestic violence laws and prison reform, but never really put the two together to realize that maybe more jail time for abusers isn’t the best answer.

What did you think of the lecture?  In fifty years, will we be glad we did what we’ve done?


3 thoughts on “Transpolitics in a Neoliberal Landscape

  1. I’m so glad that you talked about this, Meg! The part that resonated with me the most is when Dean Spade said that transgenders are “impossible people” in the face of bureaucracy.

    Also, the Barnard Zines blog covered this, but Dean Spade has a Zine!

  2. Yeah! Impossible people! Wtf does that mean. I mean, the wheel was impossible once… *sigh*
    Whoa, a zine! Thanks for pointing it out!

  3. This talk was incredible! I definitely agree with you Meg- Dean Spade’s point about inclusion politics was fascinating. I started wondering about what activism would look like if every person saw the cause(s) that is most important to them as being completely interconnected with so many issues. I’m not sure that most people even make the connection between feminism and queer issues (as was addressed in the lecture). I’m starting to consider how the already-broad range of “wellness issues” that we talk about in Well-Woman could be expanded even further!

    As to looking ahead fifty years, I can only hope that the notion of “impossible people” will no longer exist. There are certainly many who are working hard to realize that goal…

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