The Activist Files

The Activist Files is a podcast by the Center for Constitutional Rights where we feature the stories of people on the front lines fighting for justice, including activists, lawyers, and artists. We interview movement partners, our clients, and people using storytelling to create change, and look to highlight lesser known aspects of the work. Listen to our latest episode here, or subscribe through your iPhone podcast app, or directly on iTunes or Spotify!

June 20, 2019

On the 15th episode of The Activist Files, Staff Attorney Chinyere Ezie and Dean Spadeauthor, activist, and law professor at Seattle University School of Law, discuss the state of the queer and trans rights movement in the U.S. today, 50 years after the Stonewall uprising. Chinyere and Dean reflect on the formal progress that queer and trans communities have seen in the past half century, as well as the many more struggles that their marginalized members are still fighting today. They explain the phenomenon of pinkwashing and show how the mantle of “gay rights” has been co-opted by right-wing actors, while highlighting the need for an alternative vision of queer and trans liberation that resists a monolithic narrative of integration into conservative institutions, including marriage and the military, and relies on a message of “sameness,” while erasing ongoing struggles for immigrants' rights, police accountability, prison abolition, and other issues that impact and are led by queer and trans people. Chinyere and Dean also address the ongoing epidemic of violence against trans women of color and articulate their hopes for the future of this work, including continuing to challenge laws that create what Chinyere calls a “discrimination-to-incarceration pipeline,” providing mutual aid, and thinking creatively about how queer communities will be impacted by – and have to collectively organize around – future threats, such as climate change. For more on Dean Spade’s work, check out the Queer Trans War Ban Toolkit.

Speakers 

Leah Todd, Dean Spade, Chinyere Ezie

Podcast Transcript PDF