Whenever we address the issue of queers in prison, our gay and lesbian compatriots look at us in shock and horror and begin to slowly inch away from us.  “We” are not criminals, we are told, and the issues of the prison industrial complex have nothing to do with gays and lesbians who are all good, law-abiding citizens who only wish to get married and live happily ever after behind real or imagined picket fences.

Sure…  But seriously.  Gays and lesbians are the most likely to be targeted by the very system that they fall over themselves to affirm and strengthen.  Our bars are still being raided, our sex lives are scrutinized, and transgender sex workers are the most likely to be picked up and harassed by cops – even after becoming the targets of violence by clients and the police.

Until the 1970s, queers rallied to form solidarity networks with queers in prison, using prisoner correspondence and book sharing projects.  Those have dwindled greatly and the “community” now seeks to fill the coffers of the prison industrial complex with money, legislation, and the bodies of its own.  The passage of hate crime legislation deludes us into thinking that we have finally managed to get the law on our side, to pay attention to the harassment and violence so many of us face on a daily basis.  But measures like hate crime legislation and the increased policing of “our” neighborhoods puts the most vulnerable among us in jail for perpetuity, and it makes the oppressive structures of prison a more insidious part of our lives instead of dismantling them.

*          *          *

Against Equality is committed to archiving radical work from all parts of our collective queer history, which is as messy, complex, and complicated as any other. We archive pieces without censorship or exegesis because we believe that an unclouded historical overview is preferable to one that is apologetic or revisionary – after all, our collective began as an effort to combat the erasure of queer radical history and activism by the mainstream gay and lesbian community. To that end, we recognize that, sometimes, the pieces we archive demonstrate language or ideology that is not seamlessly in line with what we might consider preferable today. Rather than revise or erase, we leave all that in as part of our ongoing effort to document queer history as what it was, not what we wish it would have been. In the same way, we also ask that any submissions to the archive be exactly as they originally appeared, without revisions to language or politics.  




Healing From the Roots: Restorative Justice for Sasha and Richard – Joey (2013)

Illusions of Safety: Policing Hate Crimes Won’t Make Us Safer – Naa Hammond (2013)

A Movement That’s a Little More Radical – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (2013)

Queering Prison Abolition, Now? – Eric Stanley, Dean Spade, Andrea Ritchie, Joey Mogul, Kay Whitlock (2012)

Trans Prisoners Fight Abuse – Toshio Meronek (2012)

Dharun Ravi: Punished for Being An Immigrant – Prerna Lal (2012)

Collective Memory of Police Surveillance – Jeff Kosbie (2012)

Why Hate Crime Legislation Is Still Not a Solution – Yasmin Nair (2011)

The Self-Determination We Deserve – Jesse Crass & Nat Gray (2011)

Compilation of Critiques on Hate Crime Legislation – (2009)

Do Unto Others: the Moral Slope of Hate Crime Laws – by Michelle Chen (2009)

Do Hate Crime Laws Do Any Good? – Liliana Segura (2009)

Counterpoint: Loving Hate: Why Hate Crimes Legislation is a Bad Idea – Yasmin Nair (2009)

SRLP Statement on Opposing Mathew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act – by Sylvia Rivera Law Project (2009)

Sanesha Stewart, Lawrence King, and why hate crimes legislation won’t help – Jack Aponte (2008)

Criminalizing Speech – Richard Cohen (2005)

The Death of Daniel Fetty: Echoes of Matthew Shepard? – Yasmin Nair (2005)

Justice Shouldn’t Be Tilted by ‘Hate Crimes’ – JoAnn Wypijewski (2004)

Hate-Crime Follies – Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair (2001)

In a Time of Broken Bones: A call to dialogue on hate violence and the limitations of hate crimes legislation – American Friends Service Committee (2001)

Bill Dobbs Interview Opposing Death Penalty in Matthew Shepard Case – Subversity (1999)


Coming Out of Concrete Closets: A Report on Black & Pink’s National LGBTQ Prisoner Survey – Black & Pink (2015)

Coming Out of Concrete Closets: Executive Summary and Recommendations – Black & Pink (2015)

No One Is Disposable: Everyday Practices of Prison Abolition – Reina Gossett (2014)

Be Killed or Be Caged? – Toshio Meronek (2013)

LGBTQs and the Criminal Legal System (Part I) – Tracy Baim, Matt Simonette, and Yasmin Nair (2013)

The Crime of Being Positive – Todd Heywood (2013)

Four Stories: The Effects of HIV Criminalization on Sex and Intimacy – Todd Heywood (2013)

Four States With Scientifically Unsound Laws Criminalizing HIV – Todd Heywood (2013)

Queering Prison Abolition, Now? – Eric Stanley, Dean Spade, Andrea Ritchie, Joey Mogul, Kay Whitlock (2012)

The Devil in Gay Inc.: How the Gay Establishment Ignored a Sex Panic Fueled by Homophobia – James D’Entremont (2012)

Flow Chart: Disproportionate Incarceration – Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Flow Chart: Disproportionate Deportation – Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Flow Chart: Trans Youth in the Prison Industrial Complex – FIERCE

Free the New Jersey 4 – Collective Project

Four Lives Lost – Collective Project

You Improvise to Survive – Prisoner Correspondence Project

The Bernard Baran Justice Committee – Collective Project


How Gender Responsive Prisons Harm Women, Children and Families – CURB (2007)

Kinder, Gentler, Gender Responsive Cages: Prison Expansion is Not Prison Reform – Rose Braz (2006)


Queer Voices: Beyond The Queer Mainstream – Beyond Gay Marriage and the Mainstream Gay Movement on 94.1 KPFA with Lisa Dettmer featuring Dean Spade, Kenyon Farrow, & Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore – Radio Documentary (2013)

Queers Demand Poster Series 1, 2, 3, 4 (complete set) – Tyrone Boucher (2012)

Criminal Queers – Film

They Don’t Really Care About Us – Music Video / Michael Jackson


Sylvia Rivera Law Project

TGI Justice Project

Prisoner Correspondence Project

Black and Pink

Critical Resistance

National Center for Reason and Justice

Further Reading

Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex – Nat Smith and Eric A. Stanley (2011)

Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law – Dean Spade (2011)

Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States – Joey L. Mogul, Andrea J. Ritchie, Kay Whitlock (2011)

Sex Panic and the Punitive State – Roger N. Lancaster (2011)