Dean Spade


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


Poverty Law
Administrative Law
Critical Perspectives on Transgender Law


Dean Spade is a Professor at Seattle University School of Law, where he teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, Gender and Law, Policing and Imprisonment, Professional Responsibility, 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.

Dean has been working to build queer and trans liberation based in racial and economic justice for the past two decades. Dean is the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (South End Press, 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 latest book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next), was published by 2020 and is soon to be published in Italian, Spanish, Thai, Czech and German.

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

The Impact and Legacy of Mutual Aid

March 02, 2021 | Bloomberg

Professor Dean Spade says mutual aid is the "bread and butter" of all social movements.

As Ted Cruz travels, mutual aid groups are stepping up in Texas

February 18, 2021 | Los Angeles Times

Professor Dean Spade explains the difference between charity and mutual aid.

Dean Spade On Mobilization And The Limits Of The Law

February 12, 2021 | Death Panel

Dean Spade joins the podcast to discuss building the movement for single payer.

Mutual Aid (With Dean Spade)

February 10, 2021 | Red in the Face Podcast

Dean Spade joins the podcast to talk about his new book on mutual aid.

Fight to Win

February 01, 2021 | Fifth Estate

Professor Dean Spade's new book on mutual aid provides a "critical framework" for movements.

Biden Reverses Trump's Trans Military Ban, But Assault on Rights Continues at State Level

January 26, 2021 | Democracy Now!

An excerpt of Professor Dean Spade's interview about trans military service is included in this piece.

Mutual aid providing better grounds for serving the community

January 20, 2021 | Daily Beacon

Mutual aid is empowering and participatory, says Professor Dean Spade.

Addressing the reactionary fight for the unsheltered

January 19, 2021 | The McGill Tribune

This opinion piece quotes Professor Dean Spade's warning that activists should avoid being self-congratulatory.

Seattle author says 'mutual aid' will be crucial in 2021 and beyond

January 07, 2021 | Crosscut

Professor Dean Spade's new book is featured in this article about pooling resources and building a more just society.

Tired of waiting on the government, hungry Americans turn to one another for help

December 31, 2020 | The Washington Post

Professor Dean Spade's book on mutual aid is cited in this article detailing the history of the movement.

'Solidarity, Not Charity': A Visual History of Mutual Aid

December 22, 2020 | Bloomberg CityLab

Professor Dean Spade says mutual aid projects build new social relations that are more survivable.

Dean Spade on the Promise of Mutual Aid

December 16, 2020 | The Nation

Mutual aid movements recognize that government aid is both unreliable and paternalistic, says Professor Dean Spade.

Dean Spade: 'Mutual Aid Always Pops Up Where Disasters Are'

December 14, 2020 | The Progressive

Professor Dean Spade says most social change comes from "people who you've never heard of helping each other survive."

Dean Spade: 'Mutual Aid Always Pops Up Where Disasters Are'

December 14, 2020 | The Progressive

Mutual aid went mainstream during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Professor Dean Spade, because the crisis wasn't isolated.

The Giving Apps: How Venmo and Cash App Upended a Century-Old Charity Model

December 01, 2020 | OneZero

Professor Dean Spade says direct giving acknowledges widespread racism and exploitation.

From the Black Panthers to the No-Cop Co-op, the long history of American mutual aid

November 18, 2020 | KUOW

Professor Dean Spade argues that social movements are the key to creating lasting change.

Mutual Aid Is Essential to Our Survival Regardless of Who Is in the White House

October 27, 2020 | Professor Dean Spade says capitalism and colonialism have interfered with people's connection to each other.