Legal Equality, Gay Numbers and the after (Math?) of Eugenics
Scholar and Feminist Online, Issue 13-2, Spring 2016
Posted: 28 Apr 2016
Date Written: Spring 2016
In recent decades, a legal equality or “rights” politics that focuses on same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, hate crime laws, and military service has become the most visible and resourced politics opposing heterosexism. To achieve these ends, advocates of the legal equality agenda have increasingly produced statistical data to support their arguments for legal equality. Gay numbers have proliferated. Demographers and policy reformers have produced reports that provide empirical support for the agenda of same-sex marriage recognition and military inclusion and that aim to describe gay and lesbian or sometimes LGBT populations. In this article, Rori Rolfs and Dean Spade examine how this statistical knowledge about LGBT populations is being produced by legal equality advocates and observe how critiques of legal equality strategies might apply to critiques of the project of counting LGBT populations. The authors examine the history of the development of statistical methods by eugenicists and note how racial national norms guide the production of statistical data in gay legal equality advocacy.
Keywords: Legal Equality, Same-Sex Marriage, LGBT
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