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.
We’ve been pretty quiet as of late, but we’re still here archiving and agitating like we’ve done since we started making a ruckus in 2009. Our archives have grown by leaps and bounds as we work to include more older historical work as well as pieces from outside the United States. We’ve even lent our voices to a number of written pieces like, “Marching Toward Equality in the Military—But at What Cost?” as well as participating in numerous radio and print interviews like this in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court hearings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
AE was also recently informed that the book coming out of the After Homosexual conference in Melbourne, Australia, at which Ryan Conrad presented for AE over a year ago, finally got the green light. A co-authored piece between Ryan Conrad, Yasmin Nair, and Karma Chávez, “Against Equality, Against Capitalism: Towards an Economic Critique of Gay Marriage,” will appear in the conference publication. The trio also co-authored the introduction of another forthcoming Australia-based book project called To The Exclusion of All Others where our foreword titled, “Against Equality: From the Belly of the Beast to the Land Down Under,” will appear. We are also currently working on a self-reflective piece for a queer archives special issue of the journal Radical History Review, tentatively titled “Against Equality: Radical Queer Memory and Action.”
In addition to our writing and archiving, collective members have made a few in-person appearances. On April 10, Karma Chávez spoke at Bluestocking Books in New York City to talk about Prisons Will Not Protect You, and on April 26, Ryan Conrad will appear on a panel at Wesleyan University titled Imagining Queer Justice: Prison Abolition and LGBT Hate Crimes Legislation along with author and AE contributor Eric A. Stanley and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s very own Reina Gossett (all thanks to the wonderful organizing of Margot Weiss). We continue to post about these events and others on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so make sure to join us there if you can.
More from us soon!
Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You, the third and final book in the Against Equality Collective’s pocket-sized book series, takes a critical look at the celebrated passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 in the United States.
LGBT organizations have rallied around hate crime legislation (HCL) in an effort to address the violence faced by queers and trans people, but the writers in Prisons Will Not Protect You point out that HCL only extends the reach of the prison industrial complex. Hate crime legislation ostensibly provides added protections to minority groups and serves as a deterrent against future crimes by extending and enhancing penalties.
However, as the writers in this anthology show, hate crime penalty enhancement has no proven record of preventing anti-queer and trans violence. Furthermore, HCL disproportionately targets the poorest populations, particularly people of color, who cannot afford the legal resources necessary to fight back against charges of having committed “hate crimes.” Ironically, they are from the very same marginalized communities that HCL is supposed to protect.
Prisons Will Not Protect You, edited by Against Equality co-founder Ryan Conrad, analyzes the inequality and violence perpetuated by hate crime legislation and its role in perpetuating the prison industrial complex. This archival anthology features an original introduction by Dean Spade, the prominent trans legal scholar and author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (2011).
These essays also examine cases of violence towards queer and trans people, including the New Jersey Four and the Texas Four, demonstrating the vulnerability of gendered, raced, and classed queer bodies within law enforcement. Prisons Will Not Protect You exposes deadly links between state-sponsored violence, homophobia, transphobia, and the criminal punishment system while articulating the need to build better solutions to end all forms of violence. Arguing that hate crime legislation only helps funnel massive numbers of people into the profit-driven prison system, this book details abolitionist alternatives to harsh sentencing and rethinks our responses to crime and violence.
Eric A. Stanley, filmmaker and co-editor of Captive Genders (2011), writes that the essays “detonate the LGBT mainstream’s argument that justice hinges on imprisoning the “correct” bodies and reaffirm that imprisonment itself is the antagonism of our collective liberation.”
Proceeds from all book sales underwrite Against Equality’s policy of sending all AE titles to LGBTQI prisoners at no cost. The book is available from AK Press and Amazon.com, and will be available from our own website shortly.
We are happy to update yall about our newest anthology due out this fall. We have been working hard all summer to bring you the third and final installation of our archival trilogy. With this book Against Equality once again demonstrates that another queer and radical world is possible. The essays in this volume take a critical stance against the prison industrial complex and the system of inequality and violence perpetuated by hate crimes legislation, formally passed in the United States in 2009 as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Prisons Will Not Protect You, a compilation of archived work, is located at the difficult and traumatic point where the violence of the state against queer and LGBT people colludes with the violence we are always trying to escape. The pieces here question the gay community’s fealty to the prison industrial complex, arguing that hate crimes legislation, which enhances penalties and can even be used to bring in the death penalty, only serves to funnel massive numbers of people into prisons with increasing lengths of time served and the use of tortuous methods like solitary confinement. This has significant racial and economic implications in a country that houses five percent of the world’s population but nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners and where prisons have become, for many impoverished area and people, the only source of livelihood.
We’ve been busy working on our third anthology and a few other essays and interviews, but now seemed like a good time to take a short summer vacation from writing/ editing to churn out some hilarious new things for our online store. Late one night/ early one morning in a humid fourth floor studio that remains a balmy 85 °F after dark, we hatched this idea…
This back to school tote bag, based on the logo design for Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No to Drugs campaign, playfully reminds us that heterosexuality (and all its attendant traditions) is indeed the opiate of the masses. This reusable tote is sure to impress all your recently gay-married friends in the state of New York who are already searching for divorce lawyers. It will likely raise a few unfriendly gay eyebrows in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington where gay marriage will be put before voters this fall. It will also surely impress everyone at your local food co-op, farmer’s market, library, or anywhere else where you need a bag for carrying your items.
We did a limited run of fifty hand-printed totes that we sourced from a local American company. These bags are made from natural cotton canvas and measure 11″ x 13″ x 4″. Each three-panel tote bag is uniquely stitched and printed by hand, so the exact size and print will vary from tote to tote. But they all look the pretty much the same as seen here. To get your hands on one of these limited edition tote bags, get on over to our online store and check out our complete line of conversation starters.
It has been a while since there was any news from us. We were all so busy working on projects, we didn’t have much time for updates. We’ve had a lot going on this Spring: touring in the Midwest, re-opening our online store, starting a Twitter, and we have even more exciting things coming up this Summer! Check out the details below (or follow us on Twitter!) to stay in the loop about all the things we are up to with A.E.
In just a few weeks we will do a book launch for Against Equality: Don’t Ask To Fight Their Wars at the New Museum in New York City as part of Carlos Motta‘s We Who Feel Differently project. The event takes place on June 21st, 2012 at 7:30pm on the 5th floor of the New Museum: 235 Bowery in Manhattan.
We also just got some great news that A.E. will be doing a panel this fall at Radically Gay: The Life & Visionary Legacy of Harry Hay, a conference hosted by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY from September 27th – 30th, 2012. Our panel is titled “Eat Your Fetish!: Against Equality and the Politics of Queer Cultural Production and Appropriation” and features presentations from Karma Chavez, Yasmin Nair, and Ryan Conrad. We are sure to ruffle at least a few tail feathers.
Against Equality has written work appearing in upcoming publications including 5th Estate magazine, AREA Chicago, and After Homosexual, an anthology inspired by the Australian conference by the same name at which A.E. presented back in February 2012.
Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You, the third book in our pocket-book series, is coming together in time for publication this fall. This book critiques the demands by gay and lesbian organizations seeking LGBT inclusion in hate crimes laws and looks more broadly at the prison industrial complex as a site of harm and violence that disproportionately affects queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people. Chris E. Vargas will be designing a fabulous cover for us once again and Dean Spade will lend his voice to do the book’s introduction.
A.E. is also still working on a new anthology of erotic fiction called Fuck Equality and we’ve extended the deadline through the end of the year! We’re looking for submissions of original, unpublished stories between 1500 – 2000 words that incorporate our political agenda of challenging mainstream gay and lesbian politics (ie. marriage, military service, and hate crimes legislation) into the storyline. We’re always trying to find new ways to animate our politics; what more fun and sexy way to share our political project than with naughty tales of queer debauchery and gender terrorism!? Details here.
After mulling over more than twenty submissions from our most recent call for art for postcard designs we finally chose the three will will print this year. Many thanks to all who submitted designs to our call for submissions. We are really happy to have so many to chose from, but unfortunately we can’t print everything we receive. Like we said last time we printed postcards, we would love to print all the lovely submission we received, but we don’t have a stash of gold coins and rubies in a safe out back like the Human Rights Campaign.
Without further delay, the designs:
Cristine Drach, (New York)
Ryan Conrad, (Maine)
Sam Wallman, (Melbourne)
This new series of postcards will be available to order from us next month when we relaunch our online store on May 1st. Thanks again to all who participated and special thanks to Cristine, Conrad, and Sam for sharing such great work with us!
Just a reminder that Against Equality is still looking for your sassiest, snarkiest, silliest and most sarcastic designs for our second postcard project. On our website, we have continued to archive critical writing that encourages others to rethink the rhetoric of equality and inclusion as deployed by the mainstream gay and lesbian organizations and campaigns around gay marriage, hate crimes legislation and military inclusion. Sadly, we have had a bit more difficulty finding critiques that employ visual culture (photography, video, print, performance, painting, film, etc), so we thought we would encourage more creative work around these through this postcard project.
A few selected designs will be printed on 4” x 6” postcards and the images will be added to the AE digital archives. These postcards will be distributed internationally through our low-cost online store. Designers whose images are selected will be compensated with a stack of fifty of their own postcards as well as a handful from the rest of the designers! Submissions should directly address one or more of the themes from our digital archive (italicized above). All entries must be received by email on March 31, 2012 as 300dpi .pdf files with all colors converted to CMYK. And don’t forget to leave an 1/8” bleed on all sides!
Send questions, comments and submissions to: email@example.com
or visit us on facebook!