Trans Law Reform Strategies, Co-Optation, and the Potential for Transformative Change

Women's Rights Law Review, Vol. 30, p. 288, 2009

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 09-08

29 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2009 Last revised: 14 Dec 2009

Dean Spade

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2009

Abstract

This paper considers two critiques of how law and rights struggles co-opt social movements and applies them to the example of the emergent law reforms in the area of transgender rights. First, it considers the limitations of the discrimination principle. Second, it looks at the emergent critique of "nonprofitization." Examining how the focus on formal legal equality and the growth of non-profit formations that centralize the concerns and experiences of white and upper class people have impacted gay and lesbian rights work, the paper suggests that these avenues present dangers to creating meaningful transformation of conditions facing trans population, including poverty and criminalization. This paper is an edited version of keynote remarks presented at a symposium.

Keywords: transgender, discrimination, non-profit, co-optation, social movements

Suggested Citation

Spade, Dean, Trans Law Reform Strategies, Co-Optation, and the Potential for Transformative Change (July 1, 2009). Women's Rights Law Review, Vol. 30, p. 288, 2009; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 09-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1433636

Dean Spade (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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