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Dean's Lecture on Information + Society: Dean Spade

Picture of Dean Spade words "On Pinkwashing and Mainstreaming" and "Dean's lecture on information + society"

Listen to the conversation

About the speaker + lecture

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.


Dean Spade


April 4




Room 1900, SFU Harbour Centre 515 W Hastings St, Vancouver, B.C.

Registration information

This event is sold out. Please add your name to the wait list and we will release tickets as they become available.

Ticket Holders: Doors open at 6:30PM. As this SFU Library event is free, it is our policy to overbook. In case of a full program, your ticket reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend you arrive early. 


Generously funded by the Thakore Learning and Events Endowment.

Contact for further information

Please contact Baharak Yousefi by email: byousefi at

Accessibility information

SFU Harbour Centre is accessible by the Hastings Street entrance at the ground level. Room 1900, where this event is being held, is on the ground floor and wheelchair accessible.

In order to create a space where people with multiple chemical sensitivities can participate, please refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes or other scented products.

There are all-gender and accessible bathrooms available at this venue.

If you have any requests, concerns, or questions concerning accessibility at this event, please contact Baharak Yousefi by email: byousefi at



This event is part of SFU Vancouver’s 30th Anniversary.

SFU Library logo               logo for SFU Vancouver's campus with the text: The intellectual heart of the city for 30 years