Queer Library is a new feature on Bonjour, Cass! Every Friday I’ll write about a queer book on my shelves, an upcoming book I’m looking forward to reading, a review, or anything else related to LGBTQ books.
Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You
Edited by Ryan Conrad
Published by Against Equality Press
Release date: November 1, 2012
Prisons Will Not Protect You takes a critical stance against the prison industrial complex and the systems of inequality and violence perpetuated by hate crime legislation. This archival anthology introduces the history of this legislative solution and interrogates the gay community’s unquestioned loyalty to the prison industrial complex. It argues that hate crime legislation, which enhances penalties and can be used to bring in the death penalty, does not address actual causes of harm and violence and only funnels massive numbers of people into the profit-driven prison system.
These essays also examine certain specific 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 the labyrinthine and mundane realities of 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.
I already own the first book in this series, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage, which I think is an important read at a time when the major focus of all mainstream LGBT organizations is same-sex marriage. If you’ve ever wanted to read some arguments against gay marriage that aren’t filled with hate, that’s the book for you. (An important note: no one in the book is like NO THIS CANNOT HAPPEN, it’s more like, “Yeah, okay, but let’s also look at some other issues facing the LGBT community” and “Let’s look at the problems with marriage in our society.”)
Part of the appeal of Prisons Will Not Protect You is that while I had heard most of the arguments in A Queer Critique of Gay Marriage, I haven’t really heard any arguments against hate crime legislation. I’m looking forward to checking it out and adding it to my library!