Wildness: A Successful Failure

A response to a discussion with Wildness filmmakers Wu Tsang and Roya Rastegar. This conversation took place on March 1, 2013 and kicked off the The Scholar & Feminist Conference 2013: “Utopia.” Watch the video here: A year ago, Wu Tsang and Roya Rastegar, directors of the magical-realist documentary Wildness, joined Janet Jakobsen in a […]

“Transsexual Empire,” Trans Postcoloniality: The Biomedicalization of the Trans Body and the Cultural Politics of Trans Kinship in Northeast Asia and Asian America

In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health, released a 150-page report called the “Legal environments, human rights, and HIV responses among men who have sex with men and transgender people in Asia and the Pacific: An agenda for action.”[1] While the data assembled […]

Impossibility Now

“Impossibility Now” is a trans* politics manifesto by Dean Spade. This video was created for the February 2013 conference “Gender Talents: A Special Address,” which asked invited speakers to perform a manifesto. The video takes themes from Dean’s book, Normal Life, and illustrates them with images. Dean teamed up with filmmaker Basil Shadid to shoot […]

Beyond Marriage and the Military: Race, Gender, and Radical Sexual Politics in the Age of Neoliberalism

I define neoliberalism as the investment and integration of social movements into state-sponsored institutions, such as electoral power, market power, marriage, citizenship, and the military. In my current project, I am examining how black lesbians and transgender women negotiate their gender/sexual identities and their home communities, and how this affects their mental and physical health. […]

Spatial Stigma, Sexuality, and Neoliberal Decline in Detroit, Michigan

During the past two years, I have been engaged in a multidisciplinary ethnographic project funded under the Ford Foundation initiative, “Youth Sexuality, Health, and Rights in the United States.” The project examines the structural climate of youth sexuality and sexual health through a political economic lens, focusing specifically on three different modalities of sexual commerce […]

The FIERCE Fight for Power and the Preservation of Public Space in the West Village

In 1998 New York state signed the Hudson River Park Act into law, which essentially created a public-private partnership to develop the dilapidated piers from Battery Park to 59th Street along the West Side of Manhattan. The Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) was born as the overseers for the future development of each pier, one […]

Reclaiming Our Lineage: Organized Queer, Gender-Nonconforming, and Transgender Resistance to Police Violence

The riots that erupted at the Stonewall Bar on Christopher Street on the night of June 28, 1969, like the one at San Francisco’s Compton Cafeteria in 1966, signaled a real turning point in queer activism. And yet, rather than being narrated as an urgent act of resistance and rebellion against state violence, the story […]

Creating Change

Twice in the last handful of years, I was given the opportunity to share my thoughts about the state of the LGBT movement and about issues of strategic direction. In November 2005, in Oakland and in January 2009, in Denver, I spoke at plenary sessions of the NGLTF’s (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) Creating […]

Sex Work and Queer Politics in Three Acts

Sex work has always been relevant to queer and trans communities, both as a livelihood option and as an issue that critically informs the space between social and political margins, and the centralities of queer and trans communities. The vital set of issues raised by the intersections of sex worker and queer populations has not […]

This is What Pride Looks Like: Miss Major and the Violence, Poverty, and Incarceration of Low-Income Transgender Women

“Just because there’s this umbrella, LGBT, we’re all grouped together. But guess what? Someone poked a hole in the umbrella and the girls are still getting wet.” —Miss Major I first met Miss Major socially in 2005 at the apartment of a mutual friend in the Bay Area; her then boyfriend, 30 years her junior, […]