SRLP Founder Fights For Trans Survival – By Jacob Anderson-Minshall

It?s not hate crimes that are threatening trans survival. It?s governmental bureaucracies. So argues attorney Dean Spade, who founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) in 2002 to provide free legal services to low-income and minority individuals facing gender discrimination. He also authors numerous papers and essays for anthologies like Transgender Rights; he co-edits and has teaches at such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Columbia and UCLA.

While hate crimes grab headlines, Spade argues, ?we?re experiencing more violence at the hands of state than ?individuals.? He worries that focusing on hate crime laws puts ?more power in the hand of the police state.? Administrative laws, Spade says?like those that impact sex segregation policies in prisons, foster care and shelters?present the greatest threat to trans individuals; so it?s critical to ?focus our energies on state and local reforms of policies in our own communities that are killing trans people.?

In order to further make SRLP () an organization governed by a collective with leadership in the hands of trans people of color, Space resigned from his paid leadership position last year. While he remains part of the SRLP collective, he?s currently working a two-year collaborative fellowship, teaching at UCLA and Harvard law schools.