Dean Spade—founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and author of the new book, Normal Life—explains why we need to rethink the criminalization of large parts of the population. Spade’s book posits that the mainstream gay and lesbian movement largerly ignores systemic problems that harm our societies’ most marginalized. We need to “shift the conversation away from what the law says about us to what legal structures are doing to us,” Spade says. This is an excerpt of an exclusive two-part interview with Spade. To watch the full interview go to