Yasmin Nair

Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You

Filed By Yasmin Nair | October 29, 2012 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Against Equality, hate crimes legislation, Prison Industrial Complex

AEBook3_Front.jpgAt long last, the third and final book in the Against Equality Collective's pocket-sized book trilogy, "Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You," is out.

This anthology, edited by AE's co-founder and Bilerico contributor Ryan Conrad, takes a critical look at the celebrated passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 in the United States. It includes work by writers and collectives like James D'Entremont, Imani Henry, Liliana Segura, Jason Lydon for Pink and Black, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and me.

LGBT organizations have rallied around hate crime legislation (HCL) in an effort to address the violence faced by queers and trans people. Hate crime legislation ostensibly provides added protections to minority groups and serves as a deterrent against future crimes by extending and enhancing penalties. But, as the writers in Prisons Will Not Protect You point out, HCL only extends the reach of the prison industrial complex.

Hate crime penalty enhancement has no proven record of preventing anti-queer and trans violence. Furthermore, HCL disproportionately targets the poorest populations, particularly people of color, who cannot afford the legal resources necessary to fight back against charges of having committed "hate crimes." Ironically, they are from the very same marginalized communities that HCL is supposed to protect.

Prisons Will Not Protect You analyzes the inequality and violence perpetuated by hate crime legislation and its role in perpetuating the prison industrial complex. This archival anthology features an original introduction by Dean Spade, the prominent trans legal scholar and author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (2011).

As you know, our last two books were Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage and Against Equality: Don't Ask to Fight Their Wars. They have both been widely praised and circulated, and provide in-depth analysis and questioning of the mainstream gay movement's championing of its holy trinity of issues: Marriage, the Military, and Hate Crime Legislation.

Each is an archival anthology, featuring work that has been collected on our website but presented in book form after several requests that we produce a more portable and accessible version of the archives. However, each book also features an exclusive print-only introduction, the first by yours truly, the second by famed queer thinker and activist and fellow Bilerico contributor, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and the third by Dean Spade. We are also proud to publish the work of several exemplary contributors, including Kenyon Farrow, Larry Goldsmith, Tamara K. Nopper, John D'Emilio, and Kate Bornstein, and to have had the brilliant Chris E. Vargas design all our covers.

Against Equallity: Prisons Will Not Protect You is available from AK Press, againstequality.org, and Amazon. Proceeds from all book sales underwrite Against Equality's policy of sending all AE titles to LGBTQI prisoners at no cost.

AE is available for interviews and presentations, and you can follow us on Twitter (@AgainstEquality) and join our Facebook page.

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