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Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (Queer Action / Queer Ideas) Paperback

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Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (Queer Action / Queer Ideas) + Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation + The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
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Product Details

  • Series: Queer Action / Queer Ideas
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807051152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807051153
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Eloquent and seamless . . . essential reading for anyone interested in how queers intersect with the criminal legal system.” —Yasmin Nair, Windy City Times

Queer (In)Justice ought to be force-fed to the staffs and boards of directors of every national and state gay organization in the hope that it might open their eyes to a reality they too often deliberately ignore. . . . It’s that important.”—Doug Ireland, GayCity News
“A vivid account of how the law in the United States has his­torically treated LGBT people as criminals and, startlingly, the degree to which for­mal decriminalization of gay sex has failed to remove the criminal taint from queer sexuality and expression . . . Mandatory reading.”—Lesbian/Gay Law Notes

"Re-evaluates the penal system through a lavender lens...the book sheds light on serious flaws in the legal system, as well as homophobia and bigotry among many in law enforcement."—Philadelphia City Paper

Queer (In)Justice is the book we have been waiting for. By examining the policing of gender, it forces us to reexamine our complicity in the police state when we are fighting for hate crime legislation but should be arguing for decriminalization. It calls us to develop a more radical analysis that understands that ending state violence must be central to a transformative queer politics.”—Andrea Smith, cofounder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and author of Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

“If you think the struggle for LGBT equality is only about marriage and the military, Queer (In)Justice will be a revelation. In lucid prose, it tells stories of criminalization, victimization, and discrimination, while illuminating strategies for progressive change. A must-read for anyone who cares about justice.”—Ruthann Robson, author of Lesbian (Out)Law and Sappho Goes to Law School, professor of law, City University of New York School of Law
“A cogent and urgent call to move beyond single issue politics and to take a stand against the often brutal punishment of ‘criminalized queers.’ The authors lay out a framework for a multi-issue social justice agenda that links LGBT activists to feminists, prison abolitionists, and immigrant rights and homeless advocates. This powerful critique should profoundly transform the ways we seek to end violence and fight for our freedom.”—Julia Sudbury, editor of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex, professor of ethnic studies, Mills College
Queer (In)Justice is an urgently needed and essential resource for activists and scholars. Accessible and stirring, it clearly and concisely exposes how criminalization is a central issue facing queer and trans politics today. Tracing the historical and contemporary implications of mass imprisonment as a central vector of racial and gender violence this book is a vital tool toward building a movement that challenges the policing of our very identities.”—Dean Spade, founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, assistant professor of law, Seattle University School of Law
“With remarkable passion Queer (In)Justice makes visible the very serious consequences of the prison industrial complex on the lives of LGBT people. It’s an important scholarly critique, an urgent call to action, and a vivid historical account of how the policing of gender and sexuality are intricately linked to race, class, and power.”—Beth Ritchie, director, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

"[Queer (In)justice] thoroughly explores and clearly articulates the multiple, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing way that heteronormative legality is used to marginalize and control other oppressed groups, especially the poor, people of color and women.”--Nancy Polikoff, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage

“VERDICT: Illuminating reading for criminal justice scholars and educated readers with an interest in gay rights.”—Library Journal

"At times devastating, provocative, explicit, and horrifying, this book will make you deeply sad, deeply angry, and more fully aware of how far we really are from full equality for sexual minorities."—Elevate Difference  

“An eye-opener for any reader accepting the myth of equal justice for all.”—Book Marks

"[Q]ueer (In)Justice is much more than a litany of horror stories... It is a passionate and powerful weaving of the stories, the history and all its meaning.”—Fire Dog Lake

“What Queer (In)Justice provides is a very well researched and written, but usually missing from the conversation, “criminal legal system” context for understanding the LGBT equality movement. Or better, movements, plural. In part, what the authors address is how the civil rights efforts are splintered…The authors use an alarming wealth of stories about how real queer people experience our “criminal legal system.”…One obvious, but powerful, tool of the Powers That Be is to divide us. Queer (In)Justice could be one powerful resource to help us find some “togetherness.”—TaylorMarsh.com 

"Queer (In)justice is one of the most important books about the struggle for LGBT rights that we've seen in decades. It adds a critical point of discussion, advocating for working beyond the standard 'marriage and military service' framework and instead fighting the entire system of institutional wrongs historically perpetrated against all LGBTs."—Daily Kos 

Queer (In)justice is an incredibly eye-opening take on the complexity of factors, including race and class, that needs to be considered in a progressive strategy for obtaining justice…to miss out on this book would be to turn your back to reality.”—James Viloria, Gay Persons of Color

“The strength of Queer (In)Justice is that, though it focuses on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer people in its analysis, it never isolates these experiences from the surrounding social facts of race, class, nationality, immigration status and so on.”—Kristian Williams, In These Times


About the Author

Joey L. Mogul is a partner at the People’s Law Office in Chicago and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University’s College of Law. Andrea J. Ritchie is a police misconduct attorney and organizer in New York City. Kay Whitlock is a Montana-based organizer and writer whose work focuses on dismantling structural injustice in law enforcement and other public institutions.

From the Hardcover edition.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Viloria on May 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This non-fiction book deals with core issues in the discourse of gender policing and the criminalization of LGBTQ human beings. While the geographic scope of the essays in Queer (In)justice is limited to the United States, the implications of each well-articulated piece transcend America's borders and provoke an essential questioning of how queer people across the globe have been perceived, taken for granted, and abused as criminals. Of equal value, Queer (In)justice destabilizes the idea of what some see as the most logical liberating path, i.e. same-sex marriage rights, and is one of the rare works that elicits a re-mapping of the route towards equality for all.

Describing real-life experiences and case studies, the authors - Chicago-based civil rights attorney Joey L. Mogul, New York-based police misconduct attorney Andrea J. Ritchie, and activist Katherine Whitlock - provide a harmonious balance of data, research, and uncovered facts about the American legal system, reminding me a bit, in tone at least, of Randy Shilts's 1987 pioneering magnum opus, And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, which chronicles the discovery and spread of HIV/AIDS as well as the indifference of government and political infighting, also in the United States.

But more so than Mr. Shilts's historical exposé, Queer (In)justice possesses a constant bass line of activist soundings, which for me, as a person who believes the world can change, is exciting. As the writers state:

"The challenge is not only to tackle the punishment of sexual and gender deviance through the criminal legal system, but also to call into question and challenge the multiple and interlocking systems of inequality that remain, even as formal forms of discrimination begin to fall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. C. Lyons on April 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock with Queer (In)Justice stand in solidarity, in the struggle against transphobia and homophobia in the criminal legal system.

In Queer (In)Justice the three authors bring the reader through the past and present of abuses faced by the queer community in the name of the criminal justice system. The 2003 Police raid of a Detroit club patronized by primarily African American LGBT people is highlighted in the book along with police misconduct from the Stonewall riots in New York City, to the 2003 rape of a trans-woman by two LAPD officers.

The queer community's injustice does not end with the blatant abuse by officers of the law, the book highlights the prevalence of anti-queer rhetoric in open court, and the statistical over-representation of LGBT people in prisons. Before Lawrence v. Texas struck down sodomy laws nationwide in 2003, courts unabashedly referred to suspected queers as "perverted persons," or guilty of "crimes against nature." In 1968, the authors point out, a trans-woman was convicted of vagrancy while wearing a disguise calculated to conceal "his" identity: she had been waiting in a subway station in a white evening gown and makeup--her clever disguise. But even after Lawrence, in 2009, the abuses and homophobic remarks did not end. Queer (In)Justice tells the story behind a prison population and death row chalk full of LGBT people whose convictions are overly severe at best, and frequently dubious.

Each author draws on a wealth of experience in legal activism, resulting in a nationwide survey of this pervasive problem. Kay Whitlock brings her experience as a Montana-based activist in LGBT rights specifically, as well as economic and environmental issues.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When working in Oklahoma where we are told that we are not really after equal rights, but special rights, because we are so uppity and self serving, the stats presented in this book is quite helpful in combating such ingrained homophobia, transphobia and racism. There really are ways the intersection of poverty and multiple minority disenfranchisements (such as being black and transgendered at the same time) indicates very high risks of negative, hurtful, and unfair consequences within the systems we rely on, even if the actual crime committed is exactly the same as what others do all the time and not even get slapped on the wrist.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alex on July 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I took my time reading this book because one, it's such a heavy book and two, I could not handle all the horrible stories in one sitting. I needed time to process and not get so upset because reading it while being a member of queer people of color community described in the book makes me feel so emotional, like it could happen to me too had I been born in those places at those times.

Overall, I think the authors did a good job in compiling all criminalization acts in US against queer people, if there is one thing I feel is not explored more is the Queer Asian Pacific Islander demographic. I feel that there is limited stories and that when the authors use the term People of Color it often only refer to blacks and/or hispanics population and not API/other.
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0 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Levik on April 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
For myself Queer (In)Justice was a disappointing read. However, many gay people and their supporters might appreciate and enjoy this book. Personally, I found Queer (In)Justice too biased. While the authors complain and whine about police and law enforcement, never do we get to hear law enforcement's side of any story.

Some complaints were a bit absurd. Numerous times the authors complained about names and descriptions used, often in regards to transgender people. Transgender, a term most people do not understand clearly, is never defined. The authors fail to give us the "politically correct" terminology that authorities should use to prevent hurt feelings. He/she was not acceptable. Male pronouns were not acceptable in one case mentioned. Yet what police were supposed to say, the authors refuse to tell us.

In another related complaint, police were criticized and quoted as saying, "Two W/F's who appeared to be lesbians were seen exiting the vehicle." Apparently the authors wish for the readers and police to play dumb. I believe in the expression, if it walks and talks like a duck, it is probably a duck. Police did not say these women were lesbians, nor did they use the term lesbian pejoratively.

The idea that the behaviors or actions of gay men or lesbians could be the cause of any problems is never considered. Again readers are expected to play dumb or be dumb. HIV and AIDS apparently are figments of our imagination and have appeared for no apparent reason. The crisis in the LGBT community is not merely due to external forces, as the authors would have the readers believe. The crisis is internal as well. The authors in no way address the internal problems and I consider that a disservice.

Richard S. Levik
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