Article on Norms and Normalization

Craig Willse and I wrote an entry on Norms and Normalization for the Oxford Handbook on Feminist Theory.  Read it here!

First Edition of Normal Life Back in Print from Duke

Thanks to the hard work of many people at Duke University Press, Normal Life is back in print after the tragic closing of South End Press last summer. Look for a second edition of Normal Life with new writing about pinkwashing, the mainstreaming of trans politics, Chelsea Manning and more this fall from Duke. For now, enjoy the new greener color scheme on the cover of the first edition.

Three videos about ending violence

Please watch and share the three videos below that I made in collaboration with the Barnard Center for Research on Women and the Columbia Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. During our Fall 2013 conference, Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues, Hope Dector and I interviewed dozens of activists and scholars about the themes from the conference.  These are the first three videos from the collection we are making.  We hope that these bring the critiques so many of us have learned deeply from put out by INCITE!, CUAV, The Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE!, SRLP, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project and others to life in short videos that are easy to distribute and use in activist groups and classrooms.

More Laws = More Violence: Criminalization as a Failed Strategy for Anti-Violence Movements

After Nonprofitization: Reevaluating Anti-Violence Strategies

What are Alternatives to Nonprofitization and Criminalization for Anti-Violence Movements?

New Writing

Just updating this website and wanted to add some new writing.  Morgan Bassichis and I recently published an article called “Queer Politics and Anti-Blackness” in the new anthology, Queer Necropolitics, edited by Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman and Silvia Posocco. Craig Willse and I recently published a new essay called “Sex, Gender and War in the Age of Multicultural Imperialism,” in the inaugural issue of QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking. The entire issue is themed around Chelsea Manning.

I also realized I never posted an essay that I published in an issue of Signs that was focused on the 20th anniversary of Kimberle Crenshaw’s initial work on the concept of “intersectionality.” My essay is called “Intersectional Resistance and Law Reform.” I also published a short essay in the new book, After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation, edited by Carolyn D’Cruz and Mark Pendleton. The book reflects on the 40th anniversary of the publication of Dennis Altman’s Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation. My essay, “Too Queer to Be Square,” looks at how queer politics has conservatized in the last 40 years and what queer and trans activists are doing to resist that.

Finally, please don’t miss this exciting collection of essays about the 1983 film, Born in Flames, that Craig Willse and I edited for Women and Performance to mark the film’s 30th year. If you haven’t seen Born in Flames, please go watch it right now!


Feminist Valentine

Calvin Burnap and I made a Valentine for you all.
Download to share as PDF | as JPG | as individual JPG images
image of romance book cover with text reading 'The Romance Myth'
Image of Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire - you complete me with text reading 'Romantic love is the most important relationship people can have, It's worth dying for, It completes you, Romantic love is EXCLUSIVE, If it's real, you won't find anyone else attractive or get crushes on anyone else.
Image from Twilight with text reading 'Obsession, jealousy and possession are natural and okay - it means he likes you, If it's real, it will last forever and should lead to marriage and happily ever after'
Image of Catch Him and Keep Him book cover with text reading 'Compete with others to gain romantic attention from desirable partners, Women must be sexually willing and adventurous to keep men, but if a woman enjoys sex or pursues it she's a slut, Women should give up everything for their kids and husbands or they are selfish'
Image of The Little Mermaid with text reading 'To get romance, women must be skinny, sexy, and able to perform every cultural fantasy about femininity and submission, yet also independent and confident'
Image of cis heterosexual couple in sunset with text reading 'What the romance myth feeds - dependency and resentment, cheating, and domestic violence, 30 percent of relationships, queer and straight alike, include domestic violence'
Image of Cosmo cover with text reading 'Research shows that 80 percent of women are unhappy with what they see when they look in the mirror, That makes sense because the current media ideal for women's bodies is achievable by less than 5 percent of women in terms of weight and size, Top models weigh 23 percent less than the average woman, Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness among women, 81 percent of 10-yr-old girls in the US have dieted at least once, The single largest group of high school students considering or attempting suicide are girls who feel they are overweight'
Image of Simpsons with Marge cleaning while Homer sleeps and Bart plays with text reading 'Economic vulnerability, especially for women, One partner is coerced into unpaid domestic labor, and often can't get out of the relationship because of loss of job experience and earning potential'
Image of Kim Kardashian and Chris Humphries at their wedding with text reading 'Who Benefits from the Romance Myth - 38 billion dollar hair industry, 33 billion dollar diet industry, 40 billion dollar wedding industry, 24 billion dollar skincare industry, 18 billion dollar makeup industry, 15 billion dollar perfume industry, 13 billion dollar cosmetic surgery industry'
Image of ad for The Bachelor with text reading 'Men, of course, these dynamics are also true in lesbian and gay relationships, and not all men are in relationships that match these standards, but for the most part, men still do less dishes, change fewer diapers, and have more orgasms, All the bosses and corporations who get the benefit of unpaid domestic labor that makes it possible for paid laborers to come to work because their food, emotional, childcare, sexual, and other needs are met at home'
Image of Toto revealing the wizard in the film The Wizard of Oz with text reading 'Dispel the Romance Myth'

Videos and interview

Here is a recent interview on Society and Space–thanks to Natalie Oswin for asking very interesting questions!

I have some new video projects to share.  Here are four short movies that Reina Gossett and I made with Hope Dector from the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Please join us for a live online discussion of them on February 7.

Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 1): Prison Abolition + Prefiguring the World You Want to Live In.

Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 2): Practicing Prison Abolition Everyday

Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 3): What About the Dangerous People?

Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 4): Gun Control + Producing Dangerousness

Also, I am excited about two new videos out from Washington Incarceration Stops Here!

Please share these videos!

Reviews, news, interviews

Thanks to Dan Irving for a generous review of Normal Life in GLQ and to Rachel Levitt for this review of Normal Life in the inaugural issue of QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking.  I also want to share a new interview that just came out at the Youngist. And finally, thanks to Jordan Flaherty for this excellent Al Jazeera America story about police profiling of trans people. I can’t figure out how to embed the video here so I’m sharing this image of a Trans Day of Action poster that I love instead.



War and Marriage

This week a new article by me and Craig Willse went up on Organizing Upgrade that aims to capture some of the important left critiques of marriage that have been obscured by the pro-marriage messages of same-sex marriage advocacy.

Also, this interview about why the new campaign for military inclusion for trans people won’t benefit our movements went up on BuzzFeed.  As the President pushes us toward war in Syria, its especially important to build shared analysis about anti-war politics.  Military service inclusion campaigns invite us to be the new poster children of a purportedly fair and equal military, meanwhile the brutal violence of US militarism continues around the globe. I am hoping both these pieces will stimulate conversation and be useful among activists and in classrooms.

New video and slideshow

Earlier this year I was invited to share a manifesto at the Tate Museum in London as part of the Gender Talents show. I couldn’t make it, so I made a video with Basil Shadid to capture some of the themes of Normal Life.  The Barnard Center for Research on Women just released the video on their website.

Impossibility Now from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

The images in it go by quickly so I also made an annotated slideshow that you can watch at your own pace and learn what the images depict. You can also watch the video on youtube to see a version with captions (press CC).

While I was gathering images for the film I got completely stumped a couple times about how to illustrate certain ideas.  Two artists came to my rescue and created powerful images that I needed.

This one is from Mickey Dehn.









This one is from Talcott Broadhead.


Review of The Law is a White Dog

The Journal of Legal Education just published my review of Colin Dayan’s book The Law Is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons (2011).  Have a look!