Legal Equality, Gay Numbers and the after (Math?) of Eugenics

Scholar and Feminist Online, Issue 13-2, Spring 2016

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 16‒12

Posted: 28 Apr 2016  

Dean Spade

Seattle University School of Law

Rori Rohlfs

San Francisco State University - Department of Biology

Date Written: Spring 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Spade, Dean and Rohlfs, Rori, Legal Equality, Gay Numbers and the after (Math?) of Eugenics (Spring 2016). Scholar and Feminist Online, Issue 13-2, Spring 2016; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 16‒12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2771360

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

Rori Rohlfs

San Francisco State University - Department of Biology ( email )

1600 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132
United States

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