Save The Date! I’ll be joining my Captive Genders editor Eric A Stanley & Ryan Conrad at Wesleyan on Friday April 26th to imagine queer and trans resistance to the prison industrial complex! If you are in town please join us, its free!
Not that the Mayor or Department of Corrections has ever cared about the lives of people living in NYC jails & detention centers -or communities facing disproportionate policing for that matter- but Bloomberg has again refused to evacuate anyone on Rikers Island, which is incredibly vulnerable to Hurricane Sandy given that its a water-locked landfill!
To read more about the story, Salon posted this article about Bloomberg’s decision.
Mother Jones covered the story during Hurricane Irene here
TAKE ACTION! Call 212-NEW-YORK and urge them to evacuate detainees!
“I have the money; I got it from Black people — they’ve made me financially able to have it —and I want to use it in ways that will help our people.” —Aretha Franklin on offering to bail out Angela Davis. For all the people who thought Harry Belafonte had no right to question Jay & Bey on Black entertainer’s lack of commitment to Black struggle (different from charity, Beyonce. Love you, boo) - Kenyon Farrow
Sylvia Rivera Law Project Prison Penpal Postcards have arrived! Designed by Sylvia Rivera Law Project Prisoner Advisory Committee member Giovanni Germanotti.
Please come out on Thursday, August 16th to learn about Sylvia Rivera Law Projects’s detention work & join in on the postcard project party!
6:30-8:30pm at SRLP. Light refreshments & metrocards provided. All are welcome! 147 W 24th St., 5th Floor. Building has elevator.
(photo by Gabriel Foster)
this is a beautiful article by Toshio Meronek, editor of Critical Resistance newspaper The Abolitionist, about the relationship between queer & trans people, the prison industrial complex and the histories of prison abolitionist organizing.
must read article by Captive Genders co-editor Eric A Stanley & Normal Life author Dean Spade!
hey NYC area friends!
i’m doing another event at the New Museum this coming Thursday and I would love for you to be there! it will feature two amazing artists, Chris Vargas & Eric A Stanley, who will screen their prison break film, CRIMINAL QUEERS!
Jeannine Tang & I will moderate the conversation, it should be great.
did i mention its free? it is *free!*
here’s the full description, i hope to see you there!
Thursday June 7, 2012, 7:30 pm
New Museum Theater
As transgender issues, artists, and theory have received greater recognition in contemporary art discourses and institutions since the 2000s, activist Reina Gossett, art historian Jeannine Tang will discuss the role of art and artists in recent movement building, and how contemporary art figures in critical trans politics today.
This will feature a screening of the film “Criminal Queers,” followed by a conversation with filmmakers Eric A. Stanley and Chris Vargas. ”Criminal Queers” visualizes a radical trans/queer struggle against the prison industrial complex and toward a world without walls.
Remembering that prison breaks are both a theoretical and material practice of freedom, this film imagines what spaces might be opened up if crowbars, wigs, and metal files become tools for transformation.
By expropriating the “prison break” genre the question of form and content collapse into a rhythm of affective histories as images of possibility materializes even after possibility itself is foreclosed.
Follow Yoshi, Joy, Susan and Lucy as they fiercely read everything from the Human Rights Campaign and hate crimes legislation to the non-profitization of social movements. Criminal Queers grows our collective liberation by working to abolish the multiple ways our hearts, genders, and desires are confined.
This event is supported by the New Museum, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. A parallel conversation on recent organizing and movement building will be hosted by Sylvia Rivera Law Project on Friday, June 8 at 6pm. ** Reina Gossett is a trans activist working at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project as Director of Membership and was formerly director of the Welfare Organizing Project at Queers for Economic Justice as well as a Soros Justice Fellow on staff at Critical Resistance.
Eric A. Stanley works at the intersections of radical trans/queer aesthetics, theories of state violence, and visual culture. While completing a PhD in the History of Consciousness department at UCSC, Eric along with Chris Vargas, directed the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2012) which have been screened at Palais de Tokyo, LACE, Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow and SF Cameraworks among numerous other venues. Eric is also the editor of Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011) which was recenlty selected as a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.
Jeannine Tang is an art historian teaching as Academic Advisor at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, while completing her doctoral work at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Chris E. Vargas is a film and video maker based in Oakland, CA, whose thematic interests include queer radicalism, transgender hirstory, and imperfect role models. He earned his MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. Since 2008, he has been making, in collaboration with Greg Youmans, the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love…with Chris and Greg. Episodes of the series have screened at numerous film festivals and art venues, including MIX NYC, SF Camerawork, and the Tate Modern. With Eric Stanley, Vargas co-directed the movie Homotopia (2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2012). His solo video projects include Extraordinary Pregnancies (2010), Liberaceón (2011), and ONE for all… (2012).
** During the run of the exhibition “Museum as Hub: Carlos Motta: We Who Feel Differently,” Motta invites local queer artists, activists, and academics to hold public events on select Thursday evenings in the Museum as Hub. Events include a conversation about transgender issues in contemporary art, a lecture on queer and feminist theologies, a workshop on HIV/AIDS activism today, a “cruising” walk, a presentation of a book about queer responses to gay inclusion in the military, and a collective reading of queer texts, all of which address critical issues of contemporary queer culture in the United States.
May 31, 2012
Contact: Chase Strangio
(212) 337-8550 Ext. 302
After a two year legal struggle, New York courts uphold an incarcerated transgender woman’s right to change her name, reversing an earlier denial of her legal name change related to lack of medical evidence and the possibility of “confusion”
ALBANY - The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, held that an incarcerated transgender petitioner cannot be denied a name change simply because she seeks to adopt a feminine name in place of a traditionally masculine name.
SRLP initially filed a name change petition on behalf of Shaniece N. Powell, a writer who runs the blog Indelicate Prose (indelicateprose.wordpress.com), in the Supreme Court of Chemung County in July 2011 following a lengthy legal struggle to obtain her birth certificate, which are often inaccessible to incarcerated people. Justice Judith O’Shea of the Supreme Court initially denied Ms. Powell’s petition because it did not include affidavits from physicians or therapists that she had completed sex reassignment surgery. Justice O’Shea ruled that “the name change will cause confusion…and is fraught with the danger or deception.”
Upon reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision, the Appellate Division, Third Department ordered that Ms Powell’s petition be granted. Writing on behalf of a unanimous panel of five judges, Justice Mercure stated that the petitioner had the right to change her name and that “confusion is attendant to any change of name and does not, in itself, justify denial.” In support of the decision, Justice Mercure cited two of SRLP’s earlier victories: Matter of Golden, the first appellate level case holding that failure to provide medical evidence is not grounds to deny a name change petition filed by a transgender petitioner and Matter of Guido, which held that judges cannot impose extra requirements under the name change statute simply because the petitioner is seeking a name change to one traditionally associated with the opposite gender.
In overturning the Supreme Court decision, the Third Department also rejected Justice O’Shea’s suggestion that the submission of medical or psychological affidavits were necessary to supplement Ms Powell’s petition.
Chase Strangio, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project attorney & Equal Justice Fellow who represented Ms. Powell named the decision as a victory, “We applaud the Court’s reversal of the lower court’s denial of Ms. Powell’s name change. The decision below ignored the law and clearly reflects the biases that transgender individuals are perpetually forced to navigate in the legal system. Legal name changes are vital for transgender individuals who need identification that affirms their preferred name. In New York, and in most jurisdictions in the United States, a name change order is required before legal identification documents can be updated. SRLP has fought judicial bias in the name change process since we opened in 2003.”
Sylvia Rivera Law Project attorney Elana Redfield discussed the broader implications of today’s ruling, “Prior to today’s decision, name changes in the Third Department (which covers vast territory in Eastern New York State, excluding New York City) might include a statement that the name change order does not prove that a gender change has taken place - which led to a lot of confusion and was wasn’t actually within the court’s power to determine. The court’s decision today improves on the previous case law by not making any determination or statements regarding the petitioner’s gender - leaving it open to the individual to self-determine their gender or gender transition without the court overreaching their jurisdiction to weigh in on it.”
After the initial ruling in the lower court that denied the name change, Ms Powell reflected that she would continue the fight to get her name changed, “well…the new news was of course disheartening, but I hope that we can strike again and get a new outcome. I am really not shocked. My type aren’t really accepted with kisses to the cheek and warm embraces. I will not give up hope and I am remaining positive and optimistic.”
By reversing the lower court’s order in this case, the Appellate Department helps to ensure that transgender individuals in prison will have access to the courts to assume names consistent with their gender identities and that the law that applies equally to incarcerated and non-incarcerated transgender petitioners. For Ms. Powell, this decision means that she will be referred to by her preferred name by officers, prison officials and other individuals.
Even with a victory such as this ruling, the work isn’t over yet, Strangio explained, “the struggle for full justice for our transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex community members in prison continues but we honor this decision, as well as Ms. Powell’s bravery and resistance, as powerful acts to bring affirmation and recognition to those who are fighting to survive in New York prisons and jails.”
Full decision available here.