Introduction and Chapter 1: Normal Life

65 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2013

See all articles by Dean Spade

Dean Spade

Seattle University School of Law

Seattle U Law RPS Submitter

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: 2011


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 - or social - death by virtue of those same putatively neutral legal structures.

Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law raises revelatory critiques of the current strategies pivoting solely on a legal rights framework, but also points to examples of an organized grassroots trans movement that is demanding the most essential of legal reforms in addition to making more comprehensive interventions into dangerous systems and conditions - and the administrative violence that ultimately determines our life chances. Setting forth a politic that goes beyond the quest for mere legal inclusion, Normal Life is an urgent call for justice and trans liberation, and the radical transformations it will require.

Keywords: transgender, trans liberation, racial transformation

Suggested Citation

Spade, Dean and RPS Submitter, Seattle U Law, Introduction and Chapter 1: Normal Life (2011). South End Press, Brooklyn, NY 2011; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 13-17. Available at SSRN:

Dean Spade

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

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

Seattle U Law RPS Submitter (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

1215 E Columbia St
Seattle, WA 98122
United States
206-398-4126 (Phone)
206-398-4036 (Fax)

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