Prof. Brenda Cossman
Professor of Law, Goodman-Schipper Chair and Associate Dean Research
Tel.: 416-978-8103

Brenda Cossman is Professor of Law at the University of Toronto. She joined the Faculty of Law in 1999, and became a full professor in 2000. She was Director of U of T's Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies from 2009-2018. She holds degrees in law from Harvard and the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree from Queen's. Prior to joining the University of  Toronto, she was Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.  

In 2012, Professor Cossman was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2009, she was awarded the Mundell Medal for contributions to letters and law. In 2002 and 2003, she was a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. 

Professor Cossman's teaching and scholarly interests include family law, law and gender, and law and sexuality. Her most recent book The New Sex Wars: Sexual Harm in the Age of #MeToo was published by NYU Press in 2021. Her publications include Sexual Citizens: The Legal and Cultural Regulation of Sex and Belonging (Stanford University Press, 2007), the co-authored Bad Attitudes on Trial: Pornography, Feminism and the Butler Decision (University of Toronto Press) and Censorship and the Arts (published by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries). 

LL.M. 1988 Harvard University
LL.B 1986 University of Toronto
B.A. Hons 1982 Queen's University
Awards and distinctions
2016 Lexpert Zenith Award for advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and society
2015 Ontario Bar Association Award of Excellence for the Promotion of Women’s Equality
2012 The Lukwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize, University of Toronto, Awards of Excellence
2012 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
2009 Mundell Medal for contribution to letters and law
Selected publications

 “The 1969 Criminal Amendments: Constituting the Terms of Gay Resistance” 70(3) University of Toronto Law Journal 245 (2020).

“Queering Queer Legal Studies”6(1) Critical Analysis of Law (2019). 

“Gender Identity, Gender Pronouns and Freedom of Expression: Bill C-16 and the Traction of Specious Legal Claims” 68 University of Toronto Law Journal 37 (2018).

“Beyond “Beyond Conjugality”” with Bruce Ryder 18 Canadian Journal of Family Law (2018)

 “Censor, Resist, Repeat: The History of Censorship of Gay and Lesbian Sexual Representations in Canada” 21 Duke Journal of Gender, Law and Policy 45. (2014)

 “Anxiety Governance” 38 Law and Social Inquiry 892 (Fall 2013)

 “Contesting Conservatisms, Family Feuds and the Privatization of Dependency”, 13 American Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law 415 (2005).

 “Sex, Gender and Feminism After: Reading and Rereading Twyman” in GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND POWER: IS FEMINIST THEORY ENOUGH? with Dan Danielson, and Janet Halley 12 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 601 (2004)

Research areas
Family Law
Feminist Analysis of Law
Sexuality and the Law