2017 Updates

 Posted by on April 7, 2017
Apr 072017

Over the last year, the Against Equality collective took a step back from our frenzied activity of the preceding six years to reconnect with and embark on other projects. Now that the dust has settled in the post-DOMA and post-DADT United States, we are finding renewed energy to revisit our assembled digital archives. Over the coming months, we will reinvest in this work by creating PDF copies of our archived content. When links to original content go dead, as they often do, we will still have reference copies accessible to readers and researchers. We will also start sifting through more recent content created by activist intellectuals. If there are pieces of writing or cultural work from the last year or so that you think we’ve missed and which should be archived, please email us with links or attachments.

A few more general Against Equality updates:

Our three-in-one anthology, Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion, continues to make the rounds. Nearly 8,000 copies have been distributed worldwide. This includes hundreds of copies that were mailed to incarcerated queer and trans people through our partnership with the LGBT Books to Prisoners project. Our book can be found in the libraries of at least fifteen countries across four continents, according to WorldCat. We’ve managed to get a copy in at least one library in nearly every state and Canadian province. Check out our map below to see if your state or province is covered, and if not, definitely request a copy at your local municipal or university library!

After touring with Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion in 2014-2015, Karma, Yasmin, and Ryan reworked the tour talk into a chapter for the recently released anthology Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives, Critical Interventions. The anthology is a labor of love by our pals at the Decolonizing Sexualities Network in the UK who graciously invited us to speak in London a couple years ago. Check out that new book if you didn’t have the chance to catch one of our events, but wished you had. The book is jam-packed with great writing from qtpoc activist intellectuals from across the globe and will not disappoint!

Lastly, we’ve been getting emails asking when we are going to start selling Against Equality swag again. While our original stock of first-run pocket-sized anthologies, stickers, postcards, pins, and tote bags are nearly gone, we’re going to see if we can make some of our swag available again for a limited time.  Stay tuned for details, vintage Against Equality swag is on the way!

Publishing Update

 Posted by on October 1, 2015
Oct 012015

QRnMI CoverThis month we celebrate our sixth year as a collective project and one and a half years since our 3-in-1 anthology Against Equality: Queer Revolution Not Mere Inclusion was released into the world. To celebrate we are reflecting on our accomplishments and day dreaming about what happens next.

Since we launched the first book series in October of 2010 through to today, Karma Chávez, Yasmin Nair, and Ryan Conrad from the Against Equality collective have given over sixty public talks, workshops, and panel presentations. We’ve travelled as far as New Zealand and the UK and as near as our own communities in Madison WI, Chicago IL, and Lewiston, ME.

We’ve also been able to distribute 5,149 of Queer Revolution Not Mere Inclusion as of August 1st 2015, including 300 at no cost to LGBT prisoners thanks to our partnership with LGBT Books to Prisoners in Madison, and 1 copy to a multilingual library for the first Kurdish university in Rojava, Mesopotamia Academy of Social Sciences. We’ve also discovered that we have books in at least 150 libraries throughout the world including the US, Canada, England, Scotland, Denmark, the Netherlands, South Africa, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia. Apparently we’ve been getting around pretty well! If you’re wondering if your state has a copy of the book in at least one of their libraries, check out the handy map!

Also, thanks to our partnership with AK Press we’ve also made a small bit of money, something that is quite new to us as we functioned on credit card debt for the entire first five years of our existence as a project. With this money we’ve been able to purchase 300 books from AK Press to give to the LGBT Books to Prisoners project. In turn we’ve been able to send $900 to the LGBT Books to Prisoners project to help cover their operating costs and for the packaging and shipping of our books. In addition to this we also donated $500 to the Prisoner Correspondence Project to help them cover the costs of postage for their prisoner newsletter that let’s prisoners know who to write for their free copy of our book. We also made a $200 donation to Outside the Frame: A Queers for Palestine Film Festival.  Our general operating procedure has been that money sitting in bank accounts doesn’t do much good for our struggling movements and that we should be putting our resources to use immediately when we have the means to do so. We expect a little more income from this project in December when our bi-annual royalties arrive, so we’ll keep y’all updated on what projects we are redistributing our resources to!

All the pink states and provinces have at least one library with our book! If you state isn't pink, consider asking your local library to purchase a copy!

All the pink states and provinces have at least one library with our book! If your state or province isn’t pink, considering requesting a copy at your local library!

2015 Tour Recap

 Posted by on April 23, 2015
Apr 232015
AE in the window display at Hares & Hyenas

AE in the window display at Hares & Hyenas

It was a hectic spring this year for Against Equality, completing ambitious book tours in Australia and New Zealand, followed by a three stop mini-tour in upstate New York. While we’re unpacking our bags and getting into the swing of things back home, we do have plans to present our work at one last event in Ottawa before we go on hiatus from traveling. As much as we love traveling, sharing our project, and learning from other activist communities, it will be nice to refocus on our collective archival work.

In Australia AE was hosted by the one and only Hares & Hyenas, a queer bookshop like no other. With nightly readings, performances, and parties from all stripes of queer life, this Melbourne bookshop anchors so much that is beautiful and sustaining about queer spaces. AE also had the opportunity to banter on air at Joy FM and duke it out with culty socialist gay marriage organizers before heading off to Sydney to present at Sydney Mardi Gras.  While Mardi Gras itself was disorganized and disappointing, like most pride related events the world over, it was great to connect with rad folks like those running Dirty Queer magazine and bad ass feminist bioethicists while there. Conrad also had the opportunity to give a public lecture hosted by Fran Martin and Dion Kagan at University of Melbourne, and a graduate student workshop at LaTrobe University with Carol D’Cruz.  Talk about brilliant and gracious hosts doing amazing work!

Yasmin on screen in Dunedin

Yasmin on screen in Dunedin

In New Zealand, or Aotearoa as the indigenous Maori people call it, AE was hosted by rad queer and trans folks in Auckland, primarily under the banner of the Petty and Vindictive collective. These folks were wonderful hosts, young and brilliant and fierce!  Members of the group were also involved in the confrontation with uniformed police marching in Auckland Pride just days before Conrad arrived and which resulted in one trans activist having her arm broken by private security at the parade. It was a tense time to be in Auckland, but also such a beautiful time to see a strong radical community pull together to support one another despite the crushing weight of state violence and public vitriol.

Karma on screen in Dunedin

Karma on screen in Dunedin

Onwards to Wellington, AE was hosted by the wonderful folks at the anarchist infoshop called the Freedom Shop. Community discussions about AE’s politics and learning about new and old anarchist struggles in Aotearoa was a highlight, along with the beaches and rugged coastline of course!

Lastly to Dunedin, to what feels like the end of the earth. AE was hosted by the one and only Black Star Books in the university town to end all university towns complete with burning couches and drunk students falling out of trees. We held a community conversation at Black Star and Conrad went on to host a workshop discussion with queer and trans students at Otago about organizing on campus.  Lastly, there was a visit to see pink eyed penguins in the dunes at sandfly bay and climb the steepest residential street in the world before doubling back and hitchhiking back north towards Auckland.

Conrad in Buffalo (thanks for the photos Leslie!)

Conrad in Buffalo (thanks for the photos Leslie!)

A few weeks after returning from tour Conrad set out for upstate New York along with Yasmin and Karma in tow digitally once again. In Poughkeepsie the Queer Coalition of Vassar College hosted a wonderful panel amongst Against Equality, the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, and In Our Own Voices discussing the limits of legal equality frameworks. Then on to Buffalo where AE was hosted by Burning Books and Rochester hosted by Rochester Red & Black. Both of these events were marked by great discussions of how sexuality fits in struggles for economic justice in post-industrial small sized cities, and particularly around counter-recruitment and the fight for living wages.  And of course we kept running into amazing folks who have started up Black and Pink chapters all over the US!

While touring is incredibly fun and we get to meet all sorts of amazing people while we travel, it’s now time for a much needed break from the road.  But stay tuned, new interviews and articles forthcoming from the collective in the near future!

AE Site now available in three languages!

 Posted by on November 23, 2014
Nov 232014

When we began our archival work in 2009, we did so with a commitment to ensuring that the world we document is as wide in range as possible.  We are also committed to making the material accessible to everyone, and our four publications came out of the desire to make sure this vital work was not restricted only to those with internet access.


Today, we are proud to announce a further step towards our commitment to making sure a queer, radical history is potentially available to as many as possible. After months of work, the Against Equality website is now available in English, French, and Spanish. To access another language simple choose from the drop down menu on the right hand side of the homepage where you will be taken to a properly translated version of the site, not simply a google translate version. Although the entirety of the archive’s contents and news feed has yet to be translated, the framework for the website is already up and running.

We continue to rethink the possibilities of a truly radical, truly liberatory world!

Sep 112014

After an exciting tour across the United States and Canada this past spring, we took the summer to regroup and re-energize. We’re quietly working behind the scenes on a number of projects, like translating our website into French and Spanish, organizing our upcoming book tour in Australia, and planning our five year anniversary celebrations for October 2014, but most importantly: we’re working on getting our new anthology into as many libraries as possible in order to create the greatest access to our work imaginable!  

To date, our book can now be found at over 84 libraries in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. We’ve even made this handy map below so you can check whether at least one library in your home state or province in North America has a copy available get through interlibrary loan programs.  Don’t see your state or province splashed in pink? Then do us a favor and ask your local or university library to consider purchasing a copy! Librarians can go to either our publisher or WorldCat pages for the information they might need to order the book for their collections. Our map below is based off WorldCat data, which is the most accurate data we can access.


Sending Books to Prisoners!

 Posted by on April 2, 2014
Apr 022014
Melissa, one of the project directors, unpacking our new book!

Melissa, one of the project directors, unpacking our new book!

100 books arrived at the LGBT Books to Prisoners project in Madison WI last week and they are already busy filling book order requests from incarcerated queer and trans folks. Please share their address with your penpals, friends, or family on the inside in the U.S. and/or make a donation so we can continue to cover the costs that make these books free to anyone on the inside!

LGBT Books to Prisoners Project
c/o Rainbow Book Cooperative
426 W. Gilman Street
Madison, WI 53703

US/Canada Spring Tour!

 Posted by on March 18, 2014
Mar 182014

AE_Spring2014To celebrate and support our new anthology, Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion, a number of collective members will be touring across the US and Canada this spring. On tour we will be doing lots of different kinds of events: book signings, discussions, lectures, video lectures, as well as participating in panels and scholarly conferences.  To check out when and where we will be this spring, head on over to our events page where we will continue to add information and tour dates as they are confirmed. Bummed we aren’t coming to your town? Invite us to come in the fall!

And if you’re curious check out some of the advance praise for our anthology:

“From tracing the ways the hate crimes legislation helps embolden our primary predators -police and other carceral agents- to providing a compelling alternate set of priorities for queer and trans movements for liberation, Against Equality: Queer Revolution Not Mere Inclusion offers a critical intervention in the current LGBT political landscape.  A necessary read for anyone desiring to build a liberation movement for that returns to its revolutionary roots.” – Reina Gossett, writer, activist, and co-creator of STAR People Are Beautiful People

“Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion issues a radical call for social transformation. Against and beyond the ‘holy trinity’ of pragmatic gay politics—marriage, militarism, and prison—the queer and trans voices archived in this collection offer radical left critiques of neoliberalism, capitalism, and state oppression. In a format accessible and enlivening, equally at home in the classroom and on the street, this book keeps our political imaginations alive. Prepare to be challenged, educated, and inspired.”–Margot Weiss, author Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality 

“This exciting collection is a must read for those who are yearning for incisive critiques of biopolitical social normalization and domination. The essays are emboldening as they offer crucial rationales for resisting a range of assimilationist projects that hinge on state regulation of gender and sexuality in the service of specific racial and class formations linked to oppressive neoliberalism and capitalist models of belonging. With analyses that expose the symbolic and material stakes in “inclusion,” the authors offer radical alternatives that have decolonizing potential, while offering renewed visions of queer liberation.”  – J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, author Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity

“In an era when so much of the lesbian and gay movement seems to echo the rhetoric of the mainstream Establishment, the work of Against Equality is an important provocation and corrective. There is much to argue about and disagree with in this collection, but it is also a collection that burns with a passionate belief in the original idea of Gay Liberation, namely that we cannot be truly free while others remain oppressed. I hope this book is read widely, particularly by the people who will most disagree with it; in the tradition of the great political pamphleteers this collection should spark debate around some of the key issues for our movement.” — Dennis Altman, author Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation

“Is anything missing from a world in which gay life means family values, military service, religious observance, and being the same as everybody else?  Is it odd that access to contraception, voting booths, and labor unions is getting harder, while gay marriage is becoming easier?  If you have ever asked yourself these questions, you will want to read this book:  you may not find all the answers, but you will know you are not alone.” – David Halperin, author How to Be Gay

Books to Prisoners Announcement

 Posted by on February 10, 2014
Feb 102014

wbtpThe Against Equality collective (AE) is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the LGBT Books to Prisoners Project (LGBT BtP) in Madison, Wisconsin. Sending free copies of our books to prisoners who ask has been a core part of our mission from the start of our publication project in 2009. As we anticipate the release of our forthcoming three-in-one volume, Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion (published by AK Press, 2014), AE will work with LGBT BtP to continue this practice. LGBT BtP is housed in the Rainbow Book Cooperative and is also supported by the Wisconsin Books to Prisoners Project and the OutReach Community Center. They have a long-standing infrastructure for sending books to queer and trans prisoners in the United States. To date, the project has sent books to almost 3,000 prisoners and currently serves 49 states. Unfortunately, Texas is not currently served by the project, due to insufficient capacity to meet the high volume of requests. LGBT BtP is one of the largest books to prisoner projects focusing explicitly on queer and trans prisoners, and has been in existence for a decade. The project relies entirely on volunteer labor and the donation of money and books from individuals and organizations.

Two volunteers, Irene Toro Martinez and Melissa Charenko, currently direct LGBT BtP, taking over in 2013 after long-time director Dennis Bergren stepped down. AE member Karma Chávez, who lives in Madison, will regularly volunteer with LGBT BtP on behalf of the collective. AE will pay postage costs of sending our books. AK Press will also support this endeavor by supplying books to AE at production cost.  You, too, can support our free books to prisoners policy by making a donation here.

If you (or someone you know) are an incarcerated LGBTQ person housed in any state other than Texas and would like to receive our latest book, or if you’d like to request other kinds of books (it is hard to fulfill requests for specific titles since all available books are donated), please write to:

LGBT Books to Prisoners Project
c/o Rainbow Book Cooperative
426 W. Gilman Street
Madison, WI 53703

We are also working on ways to send our materials at no cost to incarcerated queer and trans folks in Texas as well as Canada. Can you help us? Then get in touch with us directly! Otherwise, more details forthcoming!

London Calling!

 Posted by on November 18, 2013
Nov 182013
QRnMI CoverWhile AK Press is putting the finishing touches on our new 3-in-1 anthology Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion we’ve been busy planning for a spring book tour.  We’re still penciling in dates across the US and Canada, but we will announce future tour dates soon.  Contact us if you would like to see us at your campus, community space, or book store and we’ll see what we can do!  And if you’re feeling really keen, you can pre-order books online now too!
In the meantime, we’ve also been expanding our digital archives by leaps and bounds. Our digital archives now boast over 150 critical texts and cultural production from three continents and continues to grow.  Soon we will also embark on a translation process to make our website available in French and Spanish and are currently looking for folks who might be able to donate some time to this huge translation project.
Lastly, next week Karma Chávez and Ryan Conrad from Against Equality will set off for London to do a roundtable event with the Decolonizing Sexualities Network where they will be joined by fellow AE member Yasmin Nair by Skype.  It will be our first time together in Europe and we are excited to share our work in a new geopolitical context.  We will be presenting our work at the University of London on the 29th November from 6-9PM. Directly following the roundtable will be the book launch for the very exciting and highly-anticipated Queer African Reader!

Announcing Our Newest Anthology!

 Posted by on July 2, 2013
Jul 022013

against equality book set

Over the last three years, our collective has self-published three anthologies of radical queer and trans critiques of mainstream gay and lesbian equality politics (on marriage, military, and prisons). We’ve distributed nearly 5,000 books through sales and free mailings to incarcerated LGBTQ folks over the last three and a half years. Our books are now used in numerous university courses and most of the anthologies can be found in both university and municipal libraries across the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia! We are really proud of our work with all of the contributors in our first three anthologies.

Keeping the three anthologies that we’ve put together in print has been a growing economic burden for us as an anti-capitalist collective. Currently, almost $7k in debt still sits on credit cards, primarily accrued through printing and shipping costs of each of the three anthologies. Accessibility in terms of readers’ book costs is really important to us as a project and our collective members have been helping pay down the collective debt with any/all speaking fees we take in from universities. At this point, the publishing process is economically unsustainable, as the demand for our work continues to grow. We now have not one but three books in print.

This winter we approached AK Press about possibly working with us to keep these books available in print. They have been incredibly generous through their work distributing our books and have offered to work with us on a new project to cut costs and keep the books available to anyone who wants them. Coming in March 2014, we will launch a 3-in-1 anthology combining all three books into one, along with a new introduction from the collective and a preface from the series editor. AK Press has agreed to be our publisher and front the costs of publication. Thankfully this takes the economic burden out of our hands while still keeping the price of the book low, and most importantly: this keeps all three books in print!

Lastly, the relevance of all three archival anthologies is even more important today than ever before. With the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act just days ago, the expiration of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011, and the passage of federal hate crime laws in the United States in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, we want to be sure that our voices of resistance are not erased and written out of history. These books are like bread crumbs, laying out different pathways to justice and resistance for those that dare to imagine a more just world. When people look back on these desperately conservative gay times, we hope our collective voices can be an inspiration to those who come after us. Those that look to our queer histories, just like we did, as a site of rejuvenation, excitement, and hope.

More news to come shortly! In the meantime, if you’d like your own set of our first three pocket-sized anthologies, you better do so quick! There are only about 200 of each available.