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.
On Pinkwashing & Mainstreaming: Due to the efforts of vibrant social movements, attitudes have been changing about queer and trans people’s lives. Reform efforts aimed at increasing justice and survival for queer and trans people have become more visible. At the same time, mainstream institutions and governments have started to promote themselves as gay- or trans-friendly in order to get good PR, especially when they want to appear progressive to cover up harmful and violent practices. This process, called “pinkwashing,” raises questions for social movement activists about how we evaluate, understand, and respond to the reforms that emerge as our issues gain attention. How can we tell what will work to improve lives and what will just be lip service or good public relations for existing systems? In this lecture, Dean will share critical approaches being used by activists confronting these challenging questions.