Dean Spade

Associate Professor of Law
Curriculum Vitae


Sullivan Hall 436
(206) 398-4326


B.A., Barnard College
J.D., UCLA Law School


Poverty Law
Administrative Law
Critical Perspectives on Transgender Law


Dean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law, where he teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, Gender and Law, Policing and Imprisonment, and Law and Social Movements. Prior to joining the faculty of Seattle University, Dean was a Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellow at UCLA Law School and Harvard Law School.

In 2002, Dean founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. SRLP also engages in litigation, policy reform and public education on issues affecting these communities and operates on a collective governance model, prioritizing the governance and leadership of trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming people of color.

Dean's book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law was published by South End Press in 2011. A second edition with new writing was published in 2015 by Duke University Press. Bella Terra Press published a Spanish edition in 2016.

In 2015, Dean released a one-hour video documentary, Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!, which can be watched free online with English captions or subtitles in several languages.  

Dean's videos, articles, interviews, book chapters, and syllabi are available on his website.





Reframing Faculty Criticisms of Student Activism, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, (2017).

Legal Equality, Gay Numbers and the (After?)Math of Eugenics, co-authored with Rori Rohlfs, in Navigating Neoliberalism in the Academy, Nonprofits, and Beyond, (2016).

Sex, Gender and War in the Age of Multicultural Imperialism, co-authored with Craig Willse, in QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking, (2014).

Queer Politics and Anti-Blackness, co-authored with Morgan Bassichis, in Queer Necropolitics, edited by Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman and Silvia Posocco, (2014).

Too Queer to Be Square, in After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation, edited by Carolyn D'Cruz and Mark Pendleton, (2014).

Intersectional Resistance and Law Reform, in Signs, (2013).

Under the Cover of Gay Rights, N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change, (2013).

Their Laws Will Never Make Us Safer, in Prisons Will Not Protect You (ed. Ryan Conrad) (AK Press 2012), Spanish translation by Morgan Ztardust.

Building an Abolitionist Trans & Queer Movement with Everything We've Got, in Captive Genders (ed. Eric Stanley and Nat Smith) (AK Press, 2011), (co-authored with Morgan Bassichis and Alex Lee) (Mandarin translation available here: 全力打造一個以廢除為目標的跨性/酷兒運動).

The Only Way to End Racialized Gender Violence in Prisons is to End Prisons: A Response to Russell Robinson's Masculinity As Prison, The Circuit, December 18, 2012.

Notes Toward Racial and Gender Justice Ally Practice in Legal Academia, in Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for women in Academia (eds. Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, Angela P. Harris, Carmen Gonzalez and Yolanda Niemann) (Utah University Press, 2012).

Laws as Tactics, 21 Colum. J. Gender & L. 442 (2011).

Be Professional!, 33 Harv. J. L. & Gender 71 (2010). (This article is a response to Bob Chang and Adrienne Davis' article, "Making Up Is Hard to Do: Race/Gender/Sexual Orientation in the Law School Classroom," 33 Harv. J. L. & Gender 1 (2010)).

Documenting Gender: Incoherence and Rulemaking, 59 HASTINGS L. J. 731 (2008), awarded the 2008 Dukeminier Award and reprinted in UCLA Journal of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law [forthcoming].

Trans Law Reform Strategies, Co-Optation, and the Potential for Transformative Change, 30 WOMEN'S RIGHTS L. R. 288 (2009).

Trans Politics on a Neoliberal Landscape, 18 TEMP. POL. & CIV. RTS. L. REV. 353 (2009).

"Documenting Gender." 59 Hastings L.J. 731 (2008).

"The State We're In: Locations of Coercion and Resistance in Trans Policy, Part I." Sexuality, Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, Vol. 4, Issue 4, pp. 1–6, Co-authored with Paisley Currah (2007).

"The State We're In: Locations of Coercion and Resistance in Trans Policy, Part II." Sexuality, Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 1–5, Co-authored with Paisley Currah (2007).

"The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and Trans Resistance." Sexuality, Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 53–71, Co-authored with Rickke Manazala.

"Methodology and Trans Resistance." (Forthcoming in A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies (Blackwell Companions in Cultural Studies), eds. McGarry and Haggerty.

"Compliance is Gendered: Transgender Survival and Social Welfare." Transgender Rights, eds. Paisley Currah, Shannon Minter, Richard Juang (2006).

"Mutilating Gender," in The Transgender Reader, eds. Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle (2006)

"For Lovers and Fighters." We Don't Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists, ed. Melody Berger (2006).

"Remarks at Georgetown Journal of Gender and Law Symposium." in Sex, Gender and Crime: The Politics of the State as Protector and Punisher: The Identity Victim, 7 Geo. J. Gender & L. (2006).

"Freedom in a Regulatory State?: Lawrence, Marriage and Biopolitics." Co-authored with Craig Willse. 11 Widener L. Rev. 309 (2005).

"Fighting to Win." in That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, ed. Matt Bernstein Sycamore, (2004).

"Once More . . . with Feeling." Inside Out: FTM and Beyond, ed. Morty Diamond, (2004).

"My Memory and My Witness." Co-authored with Elisabeth Goldschmidt, in Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, ed. Michelle Tea, (2004).

"Transecting the Academy." Co-authored with Sel Wahng. GLQ 10. 2, (2004).

"Resisting Medicine/Remodeling Gender." 18 Berkeley Women's Law Journal, (2003), excerpted in Sexuality, Gender, and the Law, 2004 Foundation Press, eds. William Eskridge and Nan Hunter.

"Dress to Kill, Fight to Win." LTTR 1. (2002).

"Undeserving Addicts: SSI/SSD and the Penalties of Poverty." 5 Howard Scroll: The Social Justice Law Review 89, (2002).

"Confronting the Limits of Gay Hate Crimes Activism: A Radical Critique." Co-authored with Craig Willse. Chicano-Latino Law Review, Volume 21, (2000).

Book Chapters

Building an Abolitionist Trans & Queer Movement with Everything We've Got, forthcoming in CAPTIVE GENDERS (ed. Eric Stanley and Nat Smith) (AK Press), (co-authored with Morgan Bassichis and Alex Lee).

Notes Toward Racial and Gender Justice Ally Practice in Legal Academia, forthcoming in PRESUMED INCOMPETENT (eds. Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, Angela P. Harris, Carmen Gonzalez and Yolanda Niemann) (2011).

"Street Smart." Images: A Journal of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, (2000), Volume 1.

"Outing Age: A Working Paper on Policy Issues Facing GLBT Old People." National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, August 1998. Released as final report November 2000.

"SexPanic!–Make the Connections." Co-authored with Eva Pendleton. Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Volume V, Number 3, (1998).

Recent Activity

In the News

Neighbors helping neighbors

August 12, 2020 | Montana Free Press

Professor Dean Spade offers a definition and history of the mutual aid movement.

Behind America's Mutual Aid Boom Lies A Long History Of Government Neglect

July 02, 2020 | HuffPost

Professor Dean Spade says mutual aid works when government relief doesn't.

Let's Finally Get the Police Out of Pride

June 28, 2020 | TruthOut

Professor Dean Spade says efforts to reform police departments have failed.

As virus batters government, US mutual aid groups step up

April 08, 2020 | Agence France-Presse

Professor Dean Spade explains why mutual aid groups make up for government failings.

Solidarity Not Charity: Mutual Aid & How to Organize in the Age of Coronavirus

March 20, 2020 | Democracy Now!

Professor Dean Spade says there's a long history of U.S. social movements providing vital services when governments fail.