Futures of Abolition: Trans and Queer Resistance Against the Prison Industrial Complex

Event Details

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90007

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Admission is free.

Bringing together formerly incarcerated trans women of color, activist, and artists, this panel thinks through histories and futures of prison abolitionist organizing.  Trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people, particularly those of color and/or low income, inhabit a long history – lived in the present – of criminalization, pathologization, and murder by the prison industrial complex. This discussion seeks to highlight strategies to grow cultures of resistance where safety is built in struggle and not through state intervention. Collectively we will imagine a world beyond prisons where gender self-determination flourishes in the ashes of empire.





Reina Gossett lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and believes creativity & imagination are vital in movements for self-determination. She is a trans activist & artist, working as membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and blogging at reinagossett.com. Reina’s work has been featured in BCRW’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, as well as Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment & The Prison Industrial Complex. She is an activist fellow at BCRW.

Janetta Johnson is an Afro-American Transsexual from Tampa, Florida. She moved to San Francisco in 1997, where she has worked in various capacities at non-profits and social service agencies. She recently survived 3 years in federal prison and is committed to developing strategies and interventions to reduce the recidivism rate of the transgender community. Janetta’s involvement with TGI Justice dates back to 2006.

CeCe McDonald was imprisoned for defending herself against a racist, transphobic assault in July, 2010. Due to her willingness to fight, supporters and activists in Minneapolis and across the U.S. built up a solidarity campaign to demand her freedom, and were able to win her a reduced sentence. After serving a 17-month term, she was released in January 2014. After being released CeCe quickly became a leading and outspoken fighter in the movements for LGBTQ liberation, prison abolition, and racial justice. She is currently working on a forthcoming documentary with actress Laverne Cox on her case, “Free CeCe.” She was the Grand Marshall of Seattle Pride this year, she received the Bayard Rustin Civil Rights award, and has spoken on Democracy Now!, MSNBC, and various other media outlets.

Miss Major is a black, formerly incarcerated, transgender elder. She has been an activist and advocate in her community for over forty years. She was at the Stonewall uprising in 1969, became politicized at Attica, was an original member of the first all-transgender gospel choir, and is a father, mother, grandmother, and grandfather to her own children, and to many in the transgender community. Currently, Miss Major is the Executive Director of TGI Justice where she instills hope and a belief in a better future to the girls that are currently incarcerated and those coming home.

Eric A. Stanley is a President’s postdoc in Communication and Critical Gender Studies at UCSD and is the editor of Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press). Along with Chris Vargas, Eric directed the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2014).