Miss Major in conversation with Eric A Stanley

A conversation of intergenerational trans-resistance and anti-racist fierceness between two of the most inspiring public speakers we know.

A conversation of intergenerational trans-resistance and anti-racist fierceness between two of the most inspiring public speakers we know, whose intellectual brilliance is drawn from deep wells of lived experience, and whose organising and speaking have inspired communities internationally. How does their understanding of the rich heritage of trans-resistance and anti-racist abolitionist struggles, so often whitewashed and rendered invisible, help them to refuse the logic of punishment and exile, and practice a belief that no-one is disposable?

Miss Major

Miss Major is an iconic black, formerly incarcerated, transgender elder and former sex worker. A veteran activist born and raised on the south side of Chicago and currently living in the Bay Area, she participated in the Stonewall rebellion in 1969 and was politicised whilst in Attica prison in the wake of the rebellion there. She is a father, mother, grandmother, and grandfather to her own children and to many in the transgender community and works to instil hope and belief in a better future to ‘her girls’, whether they are currently incarcerated or coming home.  She’s worked at HIV/AIDS organisations throughout California and was until recently the director for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, a group of transgender, gender variant and intersex people - inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centres - creating a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.

CeCe McDonald

One of the most electric public speakers we know, CeCe is a prison-reform activist, speaker and icon in the LGBTQ community. Rising to international recognition after surviving a white supremacist attack, her imprisonment, an act of transphobia and racism against a woman who defended herself, instigated an international campaign for her release. Experiencing the inhumane treatment of prisoners firsthand served to strengthen CeCe’s resolve to become a transgender leader. Since her release she has become a vital and brilliant voice of trans-resistance, using storytelling to articulate the personal and political implications of being both black and trans. She fosters important conversations around mass incarceration, sexuality and violence and is the star of the recently released feature length documentary about her life and story, Free Cece!

Eric A. Stanley

Eric is a co-editor of the vital anthology Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, whose transformational insights, mini-memoirs, analyses and theories about captivity have been a huge influence on our thinking, and of which Chelsea Manning has said “[Captive Genders] had a forceful and immediate impact on my understanding of myself.” Eric’s other writing can be found in the journals Social Text, American Quarterly, Women and Performance, and TSQ. Along with Chris Vargas, Eric directed the films Homotopia and Criminal Queers. They are assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside. 

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