Captive Genders in Montreal and more.

We are finally back from tour, we had such an amazing time, thanks! We will be doing some more date in Washington and Oregon in January, then the LA area at some point after that so keep a look out. If you are interested in some configuration of us coming to where ever you might live and talking about the book email us and we can try to work it out. I will do a proper email about the tour sometime soon. However, here is a little video with me (Eric) and Angela Davis having a “conversation” about queer politics and abolition. Thanks to re:thinking queer for making it happen.

In other news, some great folks are having a book launch in Montreal on Thursday November 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm. Sadly neither Nat nor I  will be there, but there will be lots of amazing people, check it out and let us know how it goes!

Also, here is the fb page for it.

[français ci-dessous]

Prisoner Correspondence Project, Certain Days, Kersplebedeb Publishing & QPIRG Concordia invite you to the Montreal book launch of:

Captive Genders: trans embodiment and the prison industrial complex

Thursday November 24th, 6:30pm
QPIRG Concordia
1500 de Maisonneuve O. suite 204
metro Guy Concordia

– presentation by a trans guy incarcerated in Joliette (a Montreal area women’s prison) speaking about his experiences in a gender-segregated prison environment
– selected readings from the Captive Genders anthology just published by AK Press
– excerpts from the Prisoner Correspondence Project’s article Imprisoned Pride, featuring the voices of currently incarcerated queer prisoners, speaking to their experiences behind bars
– words from Amazon Contreraz, a jailhouse lawyer, trans activist and prisoner at Corcoran, California

The book will be available for sale at the launch at the discounted price of $15 (usual price is $23.05)

– Whisper translation available (English-French & French-English)
– Venue is wheelchair accessible
– Childcare available on site
– Snacks will be served

About the book:
Pathologized, terrorized, and confined, trans/gender non-conforming and queer folks have always struggled against the enormity of the prison industrial complex. The first collection of its kind, Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith bring together current and former prisoners, activists, and academics to offer new ways for understanding how race, gender, ability, and sexuality are lived under the crushing weight of captivity. Through a politic of gender self-determination, this collection argues that trans/queer liberation and prison abolition must be grown together. From rioting against police violence and critiquing hate crimes legislation to prisoners demanding access to HIV medications, and far beyond, Captive Genders is a challenge for us all to join the struggle.



Le Projet de Correspondance avec les Prisonniers, le collectif Certain Days, les publications Kersplebedeb et le GRIP à Concordia
vous invitent au lancement montréalais du livre :

Captive Genders: trans embodiment and the prison industrial complex

Jeudi 24 novembre, 18h30
GRIP à Concordia
1500 de Maisonneuve O. suite 204
métro Guy-Concordia

– une présentation d’un gars trans incarcéré à Joliette (une prison pour femmes de la région de Montréal) qui parle de ses expériences dans un environnement d’isolement genré en prison
– une lecture d’extraits de l’anthologie Captive Genders, parue recémment par AK Press
– des extraits de l’article ‘Fierté Emprisonnée’ du Projet de Correspondance avec les Prisonnier.e.s, incluant les voix de prisonnier.e.s queer présentement incarcéré.e.s qui parlent de leurs expériences derrière les barreaux
– les mots d’Amazon Contreraz, une avocate en prison, activiste trans et prisonnière à Corcoran, Californie

Le livre sera disponible lors du lancement au prix réduit de 15$ (au lieu du prix régulier de 23,05$)

– Traduction chuchotée disponible (Anglais-Français et Français-Anglais)
– Lieu accessible aux chaises roulantes
– Garderie disponible sur place
– Des collations seront servies

Au sujet du livre:
Traités comme des malades, terrorise.e.s et confiné-es, les gens trans, au genre non-conforme et queer ont toujours lutté contre l’énormité du complexe prison-industriel. Dans cette première collection en son genre, Eric A. Stanley et Nat Smith réunissent ensemble des anciens prisonnier-es et des gens détenus, des activistes et des universitaires pour offrir de nouvelles façons de comprendre comment la race, le genre, l’habilité et la sexualité se vivent sous le poids écrasant de la captivité. À travers la politique de l’auto-détermination du genre, cette collection affirme que la liberation trans/queer et l’abolition des prisons doivent grandir ensemble. Des émeutes contre la brutalité policière aux critiques des lois contre les crimes haineux, aux revendications des prisonnier.e.s pour des médicaments contre le VIH, et bien plus, Captive Genders est un défi à nous joindre à la lutte.


Captive Genders book tour

We (Eric, Ralowe and Toshio) are about to leave on a whirlwind tour. If you are in the area come lets figure out how we are going to abolish prisons together. Also, if you cannot make it, tell your people?! We are excited to learn more about whats going down and how people are fighting and winning.  Captive Genders will be available for sale at most events. All events are free, open to the public, and accessible. Also, many events will feature local contributors and organizers!

October 19, 2011 Wed 7-9pm. University of Richmond, in Richmond, VA                    Keller Hall Reception Room at U of R. FB event page is here.

October 21, 2011 Sat. 8-10pm Red Emma’s Cafe in Baltimore, MD                               800 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, MD                                                                            Book launch party with lots of amazing friends during the American Studies Association conference. FB event page is here.

Ocrober 25, 2011 Tues. 1-2:30 pm, CUNY Graduate Center, New York City                   365 Fifth Ave room 5409                                                                                     Sponsored by the Prison Studies Group and the Women of Color Network.

October 25, 2011 Tues. 7-9pm NYU, New York City                                                        NYU Kimmel Center, Rosenthal 10th Floor                                                                        60 Washington Square South  with Reina Gossett, Kimma Walker, Nadia Guidotto, and Michelle Potts. Sponsored by Pride Month. FB event page is here.

October 26, 2011 Wed. 7-9pm Bluestockings Bookstore Café, New York City                172 Allen Street with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Reina Gossett, Michelle Potts and Kimma Walker. Sponsored by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. FB event page is here.

October 27, 2011 Thur. 1-2:30pm Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ               Livingston Student Center, Room 201 AB with Regina Diamond.                          Sponsored by the Center for Social Justice and LGBT Communities. FB event page is here.

October 27, 2011 Thur. 7:30-8:30pm University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA      Angela Y. Davis and Eric A. Stanley in conversation (more info soon)

October 29, 2011 Sat. 2-3:30pm Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA                 Science Center 199 with Che Gossett. FB event page is here.

October 29, 2011 Sat. 7-9pm A-Space Community Center, Philadelphia, PA               4722 Baltimore Avenue with Che Gossett. FB event page is here.

October 31, 2011 Mon. 8-9:30pm Wesleyan College, Middleton, CT (more info soon)

November 1, 2011 Tue. 4-5:30 pm University of Maryland, College Park (more info soon)

Captive Genders in Richmond, VA

We are excited to be doing a panel at the University of Richmond to celebrate the book’s launch and to learn more about how people are fighting the proposed new Richmond city jail.
Wed. October 19th from 7-9pm.
Keller Hall Reception Room
The panel will feature:
Eric A. Stanley: co-editor
Ralowe T. Ampu: contributor, Gay Shame SF
Toshio Meronek: editorial collective, The Abolitionist, CR’s paper

Sponsored by Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity @ U of R

SF, thank you and east coast book tour

We just wanted to thank everyone that came out to the SF book launch at Modern Times, the event was packed and a great success.  All of the contributors helped shape the amazing evening, we look forward to more events with even more contributors and all of you. (check out the video from the launch of Jay and Miss Major)

Also, be on the look out for our east coast book tour dates. Once they are all secured we will get the word out far and wide. A few that we do know, October 24th we will be at NYU and then on October 26 we will be at Bluestocking Bookstore in NYC. More info to come soon!

Interview in SF Weekly

Check out Toshio Meronek‘s interview, “Book Editors Say Queers “Shouldn’t Ask to Sit at the Table — We Should Dismantle the Table” with Nat and Eric in the SF Weekly.

If you thought living in a concrete cage was bad, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender behind bars can be even worse. The editors of a new anthology called Captive Gendersmaintain that queer people experience abuse at a much higher rate behind bars than straight inmates. Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith have collected stories from queer inmates as well as accounts from academics and activists. They say the issues raised in the book show the efforts by many queer people to join society’s mainstream are misguided and hazardous. The collection, according to activist and onetime political prisoner Angela Davis, traverses “the complicated entanglements of surveillance, policing, imprisonment, and the production of gender normativity.”

Stanley, Smith, and other contributors gather Thursday at Modern Times Bookstore to talk about how queer people deal with a system that treats them so harshly. We recently spoke with the two editors on the topic.

Why do you believe there are more LGBT people in prison, per capita, than heterosexual people?
Smith: Queer people, women-identified people, people of color, poor people, and immigrants are the majority of people who are in prison. We are all in prison because we are the people who are most policed, who in being kept poor, jobless, homeless, and imprisoned ensure the ruling of everyone else and the power of those in control. We are in prison because the LGBT movement is more interested in who can get married, not who is allowed to work, or what kind of work we are allowed to do. We are in prison because we are Other, and Other is not allowed participation, nor are we allowed to challenge the tenets of what participation forces us to do — marriage, the military, policing each other, playing by the rules of the state.

What are some ways that prison life is tougher on queer and trans people than others?
Stanley: Prison is a materialization of degrees of “unfreedom,” but for many trans and queer folks, they live this unfreedom as horrific expressions of daily violence from other prisoners as well as from guards and prison staff. A number of the authors in this book point to the use of solitary confinement, also called “ad seg,” for “administrative segregation,” as a means of disciplining gender and sexuality. If a trans woman refuses to cut her hair she is often placed in ad seg, which means she must spend 23 hours a day alone, in total isolation. Ad seg is also used as a form of “protection” for trans and queer prisoners. So, many folks are forced to choose between two unlivable situations.

Why do we hear so much about issues like “don’t ask, don’t tell” and same-sex marriage, yet so little about this issue?
Because it is an issue of mainstream belonging. These are issues of fighting for more state control, and they have, frankly, nothing to do with justice. We shouldn’t need or want a piece of paper from the state to be able to love and be loved, to be able to get access to health care, or be allowed to stay in this nation. We shouldn’t be asking to sit at the table — we should be dismantling the table. Fighting for marriage, fighting to be in the military, fighting for hate-crime legislation to criminalize and imprison more people — these are not solutions to the day-to-day issues we face of poverty, violence, or lack of respect as community members. These reforms actually work against us, strengthening this system rather than weakening it.

Stanley: The politics of neoliberal citizenship now have a terrorizing rainbow facade. Captive Genders is in part working to undo the power and centrality of mainstream LGBT politics by showing how many of these projects, like hate crime legislation, paradoxically work to harm trans and queer people while reproducing state violence.

Do you have any examples of queer people organizing against this system?
Yes. In the book there are many examples of folks organizing historically and today. Jennifer Worley has a great piece on Vanguard, a group of queer and trans street youth that organized in the mid-1960s in the Tenderloin. There is also a really powerful interview with Miss Major, a veteran of the Stonewall Riots who is currently the executive director of the Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project, which is based here in San Francisco. The project works on organizing with formally incarcerated trans women of color.

GLBT Historical Society
Vanguard youth protest police sweeps by sweeping the streets of the Tenderloin (1966).

What are some alternatives to prison?
There are many examples of alternatives to prison, like community accountability processes and restorative justice models. Basically, the idea is to attempt to lessen harm while addressing the needs of the survivor. Currently we have a criminal justice system that is based on punitive power, and its goal is convictions, not actual “justice.” The magnitude of the prison industrial complex obscures us from actually imagining what a world without the prison would be like.

Do you believe people inside prison will be allowed to read the book?
It depends on what guard is opening the mail that day, and whether the guard opening the mail is in a bad mood, has a vendetta against the content or the recipient, and so on. Many prisons have a rule that books come straight from the publisher, though that is no guarantee. Our publisher, AK Press, does offer a 20 percent discount for books ordered by or for prisoners. The only true guarantee would be in freedom from imprisonment.

Hear from other contributors to Captive Genders on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. at Modern Times Bookstore, 2919 24th St. (at Alabama). Admission is free.