If you thought living in a concrete cage was bad, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender behind bars can be even worse. The editors of a new anthology called Captive Genders maintain that queer people experience abuse at a much higher rate behind bars than straight inmates. Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith have collected stories from queer inmates as well as accounts from academics and activists. They say the issues raised in the book show the efforts by many queer people to join society's mainstream are misguided and hazardous. The collection, according to activist and onetime political prisoner Angela Davis, traverses “the complicated entanglements of surveillance, policing, imprisonment, and the production of gender normativity.”
Stanley, Smith, and other contributors gather Thursday at Modern Times Bookstore to talk about how queer people deal with a system that treats them so harshly. We recently spoke with the two editors on the topic.