This week on CounterSpin: The LA Times described Caitlyn Jenner at the ESPY Awards as like a goddess on a pedestal, teaching the world that trans people deserve respect. At the same time, people like Ashley Diamond, incarcerated in Georgia, have to break legal ground to try and get basic protections and medical care. It’s for sure that big media are giving more, and more fact-based, coverage to trans issues, even if a lot of it has to do with the rich and famous. But it’s also true that media “visibility” can mean a lot more to, well, media, than to the people whose lives and experiences are supposedly being elevated. Exploring the particular struggles that affect gender non-conforming people requires asking some difficult questions, not just about this country’s attitudes toward gender but about its respect for human rights. How deep are media willing to go?
Dean Spade is the author of the book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law. He teaches at Seattle University School of Law and is founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. We’ll be talking with Dean Spade in a special look at media coverage of trans justice — on this week’s CounterSpin.