The average life span of a transgendered person is twenty-three years. The statistic is shocking, until it begins to make sense. Gender non-conformists face routine exclusion and violence. Transgendered people are disproportionately poor, homeless, and incarcerated. Many of the systems and facilities intended to help low-income people are sex-segregated and thereby alienate those who don’t comply with state-imposed categories. A trans woman may not be able to secure a bed in a homeless shelter, for example. Spade writes that just as the feminist movement tended to “focus on gender-universalized white women’s experience as ‘women’s experience,’” the lesbian- and gay-rights movement has focused primarily on a white, middle-class politic, centered on marriage and mainstream social mores.
Dean Spade is the first openly trans law professor. Meaghan Winter interviews him for Granta.
Really good interview about trans politics, social movements, and the limits of change through law. Another good quote:
“A lot of us are trying to look at what has really been powerful in the history of the U.S. in terms of changing people’s lives, and that’s been broad social movements led by people directly impacted by the issues. They often have demands that far exceed what the law could ever give, demands that are not going to be passed by Congress or won in courts. Those demands actually confront the things that America is based on, like white supremacy or settler colonialism. The law can be a useful tool to address certain needs for certain communities, but it’s nowhere near a silver bullet that will make people equal. That mythology is the part of the mythology of our nation, a mythology that people are often not willing to question if they are benefiting from existing conditions of maldistribution.”