The Edge that Cuts: Intersections of Transphobia, Racism, Economic Injustice, and the Law

Sponsored by the Seattle University Law Review and Seattle Journal for Social Justice with support from Lawyering in a Diverse World Program, Access to Justice Institute and Office of the Deans at Seattle University School of Law. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

11:30 - 12:50 Lunch Workshop: Improving Trans Awareness and Access at Seattle University

Facilitators: Professor Dean Spade & Jolie Harris, Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs

Click here for the Final Notes: SU Challenges and Strategy Session

This interactive workshop invites members of the Seattle University community to discuss strategies for making our institution more welcoming and accessible to trans students, staff, faculty, and community members. Professor Dean Spade and Jolie Harris will facilitate a discussion that prioritizes areas for policy development and looks at best practices being generated at universities around the country.

1:30 - 2:45 Trans Healthcare Access: Local, State, and National Perspectives Roundtable

Authors: Pooja Gehi, Gabriel Arkles, Elana Redfield, Huy Nguyen, and Christoph Hanssmann
Moderator: Professor Lisa Brodoff, Director Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic

In 2009, the State of Washington eliminated Medicaid coverage of key gender-confirming healthcare services for trans people. In 2008, Seattle saw the closure of one of the few health services organizations specializing in LGBTQ health. This panel gathers lawyers and healthcare activists to discuss these local and state developments and how they represent national trends. Authors from the current issue of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice will discuss their work on health advocacy-including lawsuits and administrative advocacy for trans people who are eligible for Medicaid benefits-and other local, state, and national efforts aimed at improving trans people's access to healthcare. How are these issues specifically impacting low-income trans people, trans people of color, and immigrants? How might recent national healthcare reform impact these concerns? What can local activists do to connect with these efforts for change?

3:00 - 4:45 Emerging Issues in Trans Law Scholarship

Authors: Daniel Redman, Pooja Gehi, Gabriel Arkles, and Elana Redfield
Moderator: Professor Dean Spade

In this colloquy, the authors of two articles featured in the current issues of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice and the Seattle University Law Review will present their work. Daniel Redman shares how long-dead, unconstitutional cross-dressing laws may offer a new way forward for transgender rights activists seeking bathroom equality in The Cross-Dressing Case for Bathroom Equality. In The Role of Lawyers in Trans Liberation: Building a Transformative Movement for Social Change, Pooja Gehi, Gabriel Arkles, and Elana Redfield critique trans legal advocacy as being dominated by white-centered, lawyer-centered agendas, resulting in the marginalization of trans people's legal needs.

5:00 - 6:30 Reception and Keynote: The Role of Law Reform in a Trans Politics that Centers on Racial and Economic Justice

Keynote: Professor Dean Spade

Professor Dean Spade will weave the day's themes together and examine how law-reform strategies and legal services fit into a broader trans resistance struggle that centers on issues that most concern trans people facing intersectional harms, such as immigration enforcement and criminalization. Law-reform strategies often co-opt and neutralize the transformative demands of social movements. But the legal problems of trans populations are urgent and trans people face severe violence at the hands of law enforcement. Given this conflict, what tactical role can lawyers take in a movement strategy that gets at root causes of racism, poverty, transphobia, xenophobia, and ableism? Professor Spade will highlight some innovative strategies being taken up by trans communities around the U.S. that address these tensions.

7:00 - 8:30 Movie Screening:  Diagnosing Difference

Diagnosing Difference is a feature-length length documentary featuring interviews with 13 diverse scholars, activists, and artists who identify on the trans spectrum (transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and gender variant) about the impact and implications of the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) on their lives and communities.

You may access the flyer to this event here.



We aim to make this event a respectful one for trans and gender nonconforming people.  Here are some links to trans awareness materials that we recommend all participants read before the event to improve their ability to participate in the event respectfully:

  1. How To be a Trans Ally!
  2. Systems of Inequality: Criminal Justice
  3. Systems of Inequality: Poverty & Homelessness
  4. Barriers and Tips/Services for Trans People 

If you have any questions about this event, please direct them to Emily Gause, Seattle Journal for Social Justice's Marketing and Events Editor or Jennifer Donofrio, Seattle University Law Review's Symposium Chair.

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