Dr. Shannon Gilreath

Professor of Law and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Email: sgilreath@wfu.edu







BioCVCoursesProfessional and Research FoucsSelected Publications

Shannon Gilreath is a gay liberationist and feminist scholar based at Wake Forest University, in North Carolina, where he is tenured in two schools as Professor of Law (School of Law) and Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (College of Arts and Sciences). He specializes in gay rights issues under domestic and international (criminal and constitutional) law. In 2017, Jeffrey Rosen of the American Constitution Center called him “one of America’s most influential First Amendment scholars.” His theory of anti-identity speech is reflected in the 9th Circuit’s approach to anti-gay speech in public schools, and his article on the speech implications of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was widely debated in the advent of the statute’s repeal. Professor Gilreath served as an advisor to the Pentagon’s working group to repeal DADT under the Obama administration. Professor Gilreath’s scholarly books include Sexual Orientation and Identity: Political and Legal Analysis (2016); The End of Straight Supremacy (2011); Sexual Politics (2006); and Sexual Identity and the Law in Context (2007, 2011 (2ed.)). He is widely cited and published in academic journals and the popular press. Professor Gilreath consults on cases and legislation nationally and internationally and maintains an active public lecture schedule.


  • J.D.: Wake Forest University (Brown Scholar)
  • B.A.: Lenoir-Rhyne College

Click here for complete CV.

WGS Courses:

  • WGS 321 (LAW 651): Research Seminar: Men, Women, and Pornography
  • WGS 377: Special Topics: Men, Women, and Pornography
  • WGS 380: Sexuality, Law, and Power
  • WGS 381: Gender and the Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Sexuality and the Law
  • Law and Religion/Morality
  • Law and Society/Social Change


  • Sexual Orientation and Identity: Political and Legal Analysis. West Academic College Textbook Series (with Lydia Lavelle, 2016).
  • Sexual Identity Law in Context: Cases and Materials (West, American Casebook Series, 2007) (with updates). (2nd ed., with Lydia Lavelle, Dec., 2011)
  • The End of Straight Supremacy: Realizing Gay Liberation (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
  • Sexual Politics: The Gay Person in America Today (University of Akron Press, Law, Politics, and Society Series) (2006).

Book Chapters:

  • “Pornography/Death: The Problem of Gay Pornography in a Straight Supremacist System,” in Nicholas Bamforth, Sexual Orientation and Rights (Ashgate, 2015, International Library of Essays on Rights).


  • Examining Critical Race Theory: Outsider Jurisprudence and HIV/AIDS—a Perspective on Desire and Power, 23 LAW AND INEQUALITY 371 (2015) (invited)
  • Feminism and Gay Liberation: Together in Struggle, 91 U. DENVER L. REV. 109-139 (2014) (invited)
  • Toward a Multiple-Consciousness of Language: A Tribute to Professor Mari Matsuda, 112 MICH. L. REV. 91 (2014) (invited).
  • The Internet and Inequality: A Comment on the NSA Spying Scandal, 49 WAKE FOREST. L. REV. 525 (2014).
  • In Memory of Ann Scales, 3 WAKE FOREST J. OF LAW AND POL’Y. v (2013).
  • Trans/Sex, 1 IUS INKARRI 89-104 (2012) (Spanish-language journal, Universidad Ricardo Palma, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Lima, Peru).
  • Why Gays Should Not Serve in the United States Armed Forces: A Gay Liberationist Statement of Principle, 18 WILLIAM & MARY J. OF WOMEN & THE LAW 7-34 (FALL, 2011) (invited).
  • Patriarchal Religion, Sexuality, and Gender: An Introductory Essay, 1 WAKE FOREST J. OF LAW & POLICY 197-205 (2011).
  • “Against Same-Sex Marriage,” published as Shannon Gilreath, Debate, The Argument for Same-Sex Marriage, 159 U. Pa. L. Rev. PENNumbra 21 (2010).
  • “Not a Moral Issue: Same Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty,” 2010 U. Ill. L. Rev. 205 (2010).
  • “Some Penetrating Observations on the Fifth Anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas: Privacy, Dominance, and Substantive Equality Theory,” 30 Women’s Rights Law Reporter 442-478 (2009).
  • “”Tell Your Faggot Friend He Owes Me $500 for My Broken Hand:” Thoughts on a Substantive Equality Theory of Free Speech,” 44 Wake Forest Law Review 557-615 (2009).
  • “Transforming Teenagers into Sex Felons: The Persistence of the Crime Against Nature after Lawrence v. Texas,” 43 Wake Forest Law Review 155-221 (2008) (with Michael Kent Curtis).
  • “Sexually Speaking: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the First Amendment after Lawrence v. Texas,” 15 Duke Journal of Gender, Law, and Policy 127-193 (2008).
  • “Of Fruit Flies and Men: Rethinking Immutability in Equal Protection Analysis–with a View toward a Constitutional Moral Imperative,” 9 Journal of Law and Social Change 1 (2006).
  • “The Technicolor Constitution: Popular Constitutionalism, Ethical Norms, and Legal Pedagogy,” 9 University of Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights 23-44 (2003).
  • “Cruel and Unusual Punishment and the Eighth Amendment as a Mandate for Human Dignity: Another Look at Original Intent,” lead article, 25th Anniversary edition, 25 Thomas Jefferson Law Review 559-592 (2003).