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Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States
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Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  233 ratings  ·  26 reviews
A groundbreaking work that turns a “queer eye” on the criminal legal system, and winner of the2011 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of queer experiences--as "suspects," defendants, prisoners, and survivors of cr
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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I really wanted to be able to give this book five stars, because this is an extremely important subject that receives far to little attention. I'm giving it three stars, because I believe it doesn't competently handle the systematic criminalization of trans women.

The books analysis of the "T" in the criminalization of LGBT people was sadly disappointing. A significant source of the problem with how the criminalization of trans women is handled relates to the "queer" analytical lens that erases
This book is excellent. It was a "hard" read mostly because it is obviously not the most uplifting subject matter. This book is a grim reminder that we have come a long way but really not as far as we think and being able to marry is awesome but we can't forget about other "rights" either. I am talking about basic human rights (so called "gay rights" are basic human rights, period. Sorry if you do not get that.) and being treated equally under the law and in our courts and yes even in our prison ...more
Victoria Law
from my review in Monthly Review:

In 1513, en route to Panama, Spanish conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa ordered forty Quaraca men to be ripped apart by his hunting dogs. Their offense? Being “dressed as women” and having sexual relations with each other. The homophobia and transphobia behind Balboa’s actions are far from arcane relics of the past, and violence against LGBTQ people continues to this day, both legally sanctioned and in the streets.

In 2008, Duanna Johnson, a black transgender wom
"We live in a country [and world] where heteronormativity, the system of framing heterosexuality-- constrained within a nuclear family structure and shaped by raced, classed, and rigidly dichotomous constructions of gender-- is predicated as fundamental to society, and as the only "natural" and accepted form or sexual and gender expression. Daily exposure to white supremacist, colonial, patriarchal, gendered and heterosexual norms, reinforced in infinite ways, consciously and unconsciously over ...more
Audacia Ray
This is, as far as I'm concerned, a must read.

It's a sharp analysis of the criminalization of sexual diversity and gender variance, and centers the experiences of people of color, people living in poverty, immigrants, and trans women and men. The writing is very concrete, with lots of stories and evidence to back up the authors' critiques. Really sharply written and thoroughly researched, and its obvious that the authors are activists who are working on these issues and interacting with queer co
I had hoped that this book would be the gay equivalent of Michelle Alexander's stellar "The New Jim Crow," but it's not. It lacks the measured and systematic structure of that book, as well as its style. The research in "(In)Justice" is fantastic and fascinating, but it fails to cohere as either a work of argument or a work of advocacy.
Kal Fisher
a must for anyone seeking a comprehensive yet very readable analysis of the subjugation and ciminalization of queer folks.
Vance Woods
The authors of Queer (In)Justice set out to prove two complementary theses. The first deals with the tendency of the "criminal legal system" to deal more harshly with LGBT citizens than with others, and to assume guilt or criminality on the basis of that orientation/identity. It is difficult, based on the evidence they produce, to disagree on this point.

The second thesis is equally compelling, although less thoroughly argued or defended: within the LGBT community at large, LGBT individuals who
What a mess this book is! I wanted to read this or something like it, after reading about the abuse of gays by San Francisco law enforcement in Randy Shilts' The Mayor of Castro Street. The book failed in so many ways to present a case for the state of affairs, perhaps because it had three authors and they were all so passionate about their subject that they couldn't control themselves. The beginning part of the book is particularly poorly done. (Because all three authors co-wrote it?) It jumps ...more
Sep 12, 2011 Korri rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mindy
This short and extraordinary book lays out the systemic ways in which criminalizing archetypes and narratives are used against LGBT folks, especially LGBT people of color, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, poor people, and youth. These false images include the queer killer, sexually degraded predator, disease spreader and security threat who is mentally unstable, deceitful and uses violence as an inherent part of queer desire/sexuality. These archetypes and narratives inform who ...more
Loved this book since the beginning! I would highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to have a good time, specially on this specific genre, there was a few things that iwould have changed in this book but that happens most of the times i read books so it's not such a big deal. Loved it, thats all i've gotta say. Well deserved five stars.
An incredibly necessary primer on how LGBT issues intersect with broader social movements aimed at reform of the criminal justice system. Along with "The New Jim Crow," an absolute necessity for anyone who wishes to have some connection with the criminal justice system. I would say it should be assigned in 1L crim pro courses, at least as optional reading. At the same time, it is incredibly important for the LGBT movement as a whole, showing how it isn't about "criminals," rather it is about how ...more
Kari Bañuelos
Q(t)poc-centered and focusing on bigger institutions at hand, this book definitely deviated from standard queer studies books. Using indigenous theorists to discuss colonialism as an invisible institution of oppression (by way of settler colonialism and appropriation by white queers) along with discussing the very prominent racism in the queer community, the wealth gap and the legitimacy of queer issues set by white queers is all executed so neatly in this book. Highly recommend.
Nikhil P. Freeman
Thoroughly reveals how LGBT rights are civil rights and explains in detail how the intersection of race, class, and gender performance negatively affects members of the LGBT community through systemic racism and homophobia codified in the criminal justice system—everything from local laws, the police, lawyers, judges, juries, and especially prisons—and through social stigmas within their own individual families, respective communities, and in society.
Chris Day
An earth-shattering eye-opener into the more than 500 yrs. of oppression suffered by Queer people in America. I've been out of the closet since I was 18 (21 now) and had absolutely no idea of the horrific abuses my people have endured going all the way back to the Spanish explorers that set foot here. For anyone who thinks Queers will be free once marriage is legalized I invite you to read this book and see if you still hold the same prognosis.
Linna H
3.5. Easy and informative read. Would have liked to seen more focus on problems exclusively surrounding gender minorities, as it felt a bit LGb(t) you know? But otherwise this book was effective in discussing intersectionality, especially regarding queer poc, and in discussing the terrible truths of LGBT discrimination in American society - and by extension(?), Western society. Overall, a good and insightful read.
The subject of this book is close to my heart, the ongoing forms off oppression experienced by my community, and the work I am doing with the Colorado Anti-Violence Program. I purchased it recently at a presentation with one of the authors, and encourage you to order it at and enter the code CAVP at checkout for 10% off & a portion of the proceeds will go to CAVP!
amazing critiques of the history of sodomy laws and of hate crimes legislation. their analytical framework of "queer criminal archetypes" is pretty brilliant. i really enjoyed the chapter "objection! treatment of queers in criminal courts". very good all up!!
A stunning history, with great stories and anecdotes throughout to keep the reader engaged. A great call to action. The last chapter I actually just took out a piece of paper and wrote down each of the nonprofits mentions so that I can look at them for jobs... :)
A very bold and thorough examination of the ways the criminal legal system in the United States unfairly treats sexual minorities, both by criminalizing their behavior and by ignoring violence done to them. Provides context and specific cases as examples.
I looked up one of the court cases referenced in the book and did not agree with the author's interpretation of the case. This put me ill at ease with the other assertions. That being said I enjoyed the work overall.
An excellent look at the prison industrial complex in the U.S. and how it's a genocidal system, particularly one that commits disproportionate violence and harm on LGBTQ folks and people of color. Read it.
Kash Kashley
Jun 18, 2012 Kash Kashley added it
Shelves: queer
An important, thought-provoking read for anyone in the queer community.
Mills College Library
342.73087 M696 2011
Ilya Parker
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“Sentencing enhancements won't get police to investigate crimes they don't take seriously to begin with. They won't stop police from harassing trans women on the street because they assume all trans women are sex workers. They won't have any effect against police officers who believe they won't be held accountable. They won't sway the minds of jurors who think 'I killed her because she was trans' is an adequate excuse. Sentencing enhancements will allow them to dole out harsher punishments against the people they think are more deserving. And we already know that the legal system sees people of color, women, sex workers, immigrants, and the homeless as more deserving of punishment. (Tobi Hill-Meyer of COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere), "Disposable People," November 11, 2008,” 1 likes
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