Monday, September 3, 2012

i've moved!

So, i have moved over to wordpress!

Please make your way to to find any of the posts you would find here. While it's still under construction over there too, you'll find the info you're looking for there. If there's something you'd like to repost from here, it would be really great if you'd go find it on the wordpress site and repost from there, so folks can follow the updated site. Thanks!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


please bear with a bear while i make the move over to wordpress.

please make your way over to

While it's still under construction over there too, you'll find the info you're looking for there.

thanks kindly for your patience!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trying to catch up!

hiya folks... just a little message to say i've been trying to catch up on getting access audits up here on the website, and it's taking a while. Things have been so busy lately, i've barely found time to take care of other necessary stuff, and then when i do have a few moments where i could update, i forget lol. Anyways, there's more coming, it'll just take a while to make it happen :)

Person First?

Here's a really great commentary on the use of "person first" language:

i didnt even see the shadows til the writer mentioned them. Not a fan of this graphic or it’s message.
Too often people tell me “but I don’t see your disability!” and “I don’t think of you as disabled!”. That’s troubling for me because, well, hi denial! But it also makes assumptions about what i have going on. People assume they know what my “disability” is, what it contains, and they’re wrong. For starters, i have disabilitIES, and they are varied. Because there exists this one manifestation that most people can understand and recognize as somehow officially Disabled(tm) (i.e. being on wheels) doesn’t mean they have any understanding of what’s going on for me.

So they have this recognition that there's disability going on, yet they find it important to tell me that they will erase my reality as a gimp, at least for the duration of our interaction.

Why? Because underneath all the "I don't see disability" talk, they do see it and they think it's shameful, sad, pathetic, embarrassing, however it is they are interpreting their personal fear about my experience, and they likely imagine i feel those things too, and they want to be on the same page. Even though, clearly, we will never be.

If using person first language helps you to work on your recognition of disabled folks as human, i suppose that's important work, so keep it up. Just don't insist i use it. If yer also disabled, please don't insist i use the same language you use to describe myself. If you want to challenge your ideas around this stuff, or just want to be a generally respectful person, ask me what i prefer.

It won't hurt, promise!

Also, just to add...
i want you to see me, and that includes my disabilities. If you look at me and tell me you "don't see" my disabilities, you are telling me you "don't see" me. Because while i am not only my disabilities, they're a huge and integral part of my lived reality. And if you refuse my lived reality, well, we won't have too much to talk about now will we?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

gendered access

[picture: plain black and white drawing of a toilet and universal wheelchair symbol on the left, with black text wrapped to the right]
"Oh gendered bathrooms and in/accessibility, you little scamps!
These two symbols right here re all i need when choosing which bathroom to use. Contrary to popular belief, it's not necessary for you to know what genitals i possess in order for you to provide safe facilities for the general public's needs. Really, it isnt. i know it seems ridiculous that private information about a person's genitals not be made public and up for scrutiny right then and there with a total stranger, while im trying not to piss myself, but let's just try it out, ok? Like you, im in there to use the washrooms; and often the only wheelchair accessible bathroom (if there is one at all) is only in one of two gendered bathrooms; and often, its in a washroom gendered for people who dont look like me.

i dont have control over that. And sometimes, i dont have super great control over my bladder,; so if you prefer i dont piss in the hallway, we can have this debate later. Maybe over a cup of tea and an exchange of names, if youre really curious, i'll tell you about my genitals, and you can tell me all about yours and how theyre used to control your free access to public spaces too, hm? And if you dont ever have to face scrutiny when youre just trying to piss, consider yourself lucky and just STFU."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Letting go

So, i'm in the process of putting together a little "toolkit" that people can use to assist in doing the accessibility audits i've been doing. It's time to begin more actively letting them go. I've been doing more audits with other folks, and people are keen. In some ways it's hard to let them go, if that makes sense? But i also want to let them go, because that's the whole purpose of them! Getting the info out there, having more people involved in the process, and recognizing that accessibility isn't just one thing, these things are all super important to me, and is the major reason i began doing these.

But i want to find ways to have some "quality control" (i can see myself in a little lab coat with a stamp like the Fruit Of The Loom QC person) too, because it actually is important that it not just be a block of random information without context or supporting info, but useful, usable, accurate and up-to-date information. Organic, ongoing, adaptable, y'know?

So far i've got a summary of what it's all about; the templates for the audit, the overview, and the text i've been posting with them online; the methods i use to designate final accessibility ratings; and offering recommendations to venues and event holders. Do you think other things would be helpful for you if you're thinking about doing these audits? What sorts of supports, if any, would you find useful? 

I'm also thinking about picking a venue and taking a "field trip" with a bunch of interested folks and us all doing a practice run of the whole process. Contact, scheduling and performing the audit, followup, creating the final online products, including the overview and other pieces. i want to think about all the stages, and see if there are gaps folks would like to fill, and how, and what sorts of resources might help folks move forward with doing these on their own.

As well, i want to do some personal work on letting go and recognizing that the final products will not all look the way my final product looks, and that that's ok. It's hard when you've been working on something for so long, something which is also wrapped up in a lot of personal lived experience as a disabled person. This isn't a "project" for me, or a hobby, and when i see people treating accessibility that way, it kind of pisses me off, because one day they're in, the next day they're out. But i need to work on not allowing that able-bodied-centredness to dictate the work i do as a gimp. Lifeswork, i tell ya!

Thanks for everyone who is helping in some way, expressed interest in and done audits with me, posted the audits for events, sent folks my way to get an audit done, and so on. Onward! :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Auditing and sharing and auditing and sharing...

So, a little math. In 3 years, ive done 51 accessibility audits. At an average of 5 hours work each, plus approximately 1-2 hours per audit on communication alone --and that's not including the work i do to upgrade the audit template, to research trends in access, to learn about and integrate technologies & services, update my access blog with new audits (which i'm sadly running behind on, ahem), as well as updating existing audits with new info and so on-- that makes around 331.5 hours since starting them in 2009. At least a hundred hours per year. With all that other stuff i've not included, add another 30 or so hours/year.  And i'm not even going to try to calculate how many dozens of hours i've spent subtitling 86 videos lol. Perhaps that's a future math project!

Even though there's frustratingly little in the way of monetary or trade payback, and even though it can be hard on my body, i really love doing these things. Aside from satiating my strange need to fill out forms, the info is important to me personally, and to folks i care about and folks i don't even know, so that we can more freely get into and enjoy the fabulous spaces so many other folks have such easy access to. And there's so much to learn about this stuff! Every time i do one, by myself or with other folks, i learn some new piece to add or point to change; and it also helps me to open myself up more to sharing my needs with folks who aren't gimps, which can be really exposing; or folks who are gimped in different ways than i am. It keeps me up on my shit too -- there are so many things i dont know, havent thought of, wouldn't even have considered. 

So when people tell me accessibility is as simple as putting a ramp in (don't get me wrong, ramps are great! i need em and love em!), i'd love to hand them one of these nearly 400-point audits and then chat about it over coffee --and sometimes that happens :) maybe i'll share a post on that sometime -- because we all have work to do, things to learn, we all make awesome contributions, and we all make a difference simply by doing the things we love and sharing them. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

REACH Community Health Centre Audit

The accessibilities audit of the REACH Community Health Centre was performed on December 22nd 2011 by the Radical Access Mapping Project, for the All Genders Wellness Centre. Learn more about the AGWC here:

You can learn more about the Mapping Project and find other audited spaces here

If you would like a space audited, or have questions about accessibilities in general, please contact and let's talk!

REACH CHC Accessibilities Overview

REACH CHC Full Accessibilities Audit

M2M Vancouver steambaths Audit

This accessibilities audit of M2M Vancouver steambaths was performed on March 1st 2012 by the Radical Access Mapping Project, with assistance from the good folks at sTeam: Bathhouse For All Gender.
You can find out more about sTeam by visiting their website at []
You can get more details about M2M here []

You can learn more about the Mapping Project, and find other audited spaces here:

If you would like a space audited, or have questions about accessibilities in general, please contact and let's talk!

M2M Accessibilities Overview:

M2M Full Accessibilities Audit:
Here is a photo of the rear entrance of M2M, where you'll find the wheelchair lift:
[image: a black painted back metal double door with no handles, the right wall is black brick; there is a partial view of the alleyway]

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Supporting Kids and Parents through childcare

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind- Concrete Things You Can Do To Support Parents In Your Scene (Repost)

These suggestions are from the “Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Anarcha-feminism & Supporting Mothers and Children” workshop at La Revolta! To get a copy of the 22 page workshop handout: you can download it from: or send a dollar to Vikki Law P.O. Box 20388 NY NY 10009 or China Martens P.O. Box 4803 Baltimore MD 21211 USA

Saturday, February 18, 2012


please note that im currently fiddling around with the settings here, it'll be up and making sense soon enough :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Inspiration Porn

[photo: black and white image of a bearded, white, tattoo'd, bespectacled person wearing a black tshirt, overalls and cap, sitting in a motorized mobility scooter, clasping their hands together while smiling big, with their forearm crutches sticking up behind them; text reads: "Know what i'm tired of? Images of disabled people doing random things, turned into "inspiration porn". These images (e.g. children joyfully running with their prosthetic legs, someone painting with their toes, an elder skiing, etc), are then emblazoned with text like "what's your excuse?", "your excuse is invalid", "if ___ can do it, why can't you?" and other gems. They call on non-disabled people to buck up and stop making excuses for not doing something, and guilt other disabled folks into feeling like crap for not being able to pull themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps & "just do it". These images & sentiments are an ableist tool. They exceptionalize disabled people based in ablesist notions of accomplishment & worth. They build on & reenforce able bodied pitydom of gimps. Just fucking stop it ok? We're just doing our thing, yknow? We are not a goddamn guilt-trip tool to get you to do stuff. Please, if you need to use gimps as a tool to get you to do stuff, yer using the wrong starting point. (*for example, in this photo, i am simply enjoying a moment with a friend... I AM NOT YOUR INSPIRATION!)"]

- - - - - - - >
Think about it... if you wanted to surf, i bet you've seen many photos of random people surfing, and if you're reading this now you've got access to a computer and, like, so many photos and videos [e.g. when i type in "surfing" into google, i get about 298,000,000 results]. So ask yourself: why does it take the image of a disabled person doing it to get you to do it? Here's what i think, take it or leave it, i just ask that you ponder it some:

Society creates stories out of disabled folks. Stories which vilify us or exceptionalize us, and in the case of these images it's the latter (but it ultimately leads to the former as well, but that's for another post).

It seems like it taps into a few things:

A sense of pity (however subconscious) for the disabled person, because wow, is that ever sad!

A sense of "well if they can do it so can i!". But why didn't you have that reaction when you saw
297,999,990 shots of able bodied people doing the exact same thing? Just the mere SIGHT of a disabled person propelled you to do it? Wow! Now THAT'S power and influence!

A sense of "duty" / "obligation" somehow. Because if disabled people are doing this, you cant possibly say no. That wouldn't look right. What would your friends think? How could you look at yourself in the morning if there was a poor disabled child out there running joyfully with their prosthetic legs while you whined about schedules and whatnot?

[Us just existing and not crawling into a hole you can see really makes folks think of the big picture, of humanity, of you know, the like meaning of life and shit.]

You look at that kid running  [ that same running kid i mentioned earlier ], and maybe you see the joy on their face. You want to capture some of that for yourself, maybe remember what it's like to feel like that. But what you're also doing when you read the words "your excuse is invalid" [aside from probably not even thinking about the use of that word "invalid" in this context] and you leap off the couch to find your old track suit, is that you are creating a story for that kid based on able-bodied perceptions of worth, of success, of joy; you are pitying that kid, you are maybe feeling silly for ever thinking you couldnt do it because wow, that kid can do it! 

And that dear reader is ableism.

Just ponder it, ok?

And before i get any "you don't want to see gimps doing stuff!!" messages, that's not what this is about. i love seeing images of gimps doing stuff. What i don't dig is the ableist sentimentality which so often accompanies it. i dislike having our lives used as a tool to reenforce the very systems which cause us to be "disabled" in the first place [you know, disability as a social construct and all that jazz]. Different stuff.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

that awkward moment when...


"that awkward moment when you gently question someone’s use of the ableist word “lame”, and suggest that they have a look at this post over at FWD, and their only response is to delete their original comments. errrrrr."

i think sometimes folks do it because they feel embarrassed, or maybe they think it's not ok to keep a post up there once its been called out, maybe they don't want anyone to get offended, who knows. The point is, getting kindly, softly called on something needn't be so embarrassing that it stops you from working on it. Its a learning moment. Try to sit with it, let it be what it is. And don't do it again.

Friday, February 10, 2012

how do you be compassionate with yourself when all you want to do is rip your eyebrows off?

i've spent so many years doing work to love and understand my survivor body | my fat body | my trans & genderqueer body | my aging body | my sober body | my gimped ache-filled body, working to turn down the volume during pain flares and pump it up during the rest of the time | to love my cunt in a cunt-hating world | and to love my tits | love my stretchmarks | even love this bald head of mine | love the complex shit that makes it hard to love freely sometimes, that i've lost sight of taking care to love my whole, complete, integrated body, the whole thing, as one big package, all at the same time. i want to know what that feels like. i'm trying.

A friend suggested to me tonight that --given the time and energy and passion i give to other things in my life-- i might need to ask different questions of myself; suggested that instead of judging myself for the things i'm not able to or am not doing, that i instead ask "what is the most self-loving thing i can do right now?", and i broke down crying. (cue Kinnie Starr lyrics from Soar that've been stuck in my head since, like, 8 or 9 years: Forsake the answer, rename the question, what lies deep enough not to be mentioned, should be brought to the top to be spoken")

Clearly, there's more work to be done. But i'm gonna try to think of it not as work, as drudgery, as a desperate need because i once again am in fucking agony right now, but rather as coming from a place of love, forgiveness, compassion.

i wonder: what will it feel like to truly love myself --and not simply these bitesize portions which used to feel like enough-- in words and actions?

What do you do when you want to feel integrated and in touch with and compassionate and loving and responsive and accountable to a body that is consistently being an asshole to you?

i suppose i'm going to keep trying to come back to "what is the most self-loving thing i can do right now?"


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fragrance Free Femme of Colour Realness Draft 1.5

Another amazing piece by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha!

by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

"Dedicated to all my fierce femme of colour disabled and chronically ill warrior fam.

When I think about access, I think about love. I think that crip (disabled and chronically ill) solidarity, and solidarity between disabled folks and non(yet) disabled folks is a powerful act of love and I-got-your-back. It’s in big things, but it’s also in the little things we do moment by moment to ensure that we all- in all our individual bodies- get to be present fiercely as we make change. ...

One small (and huge) thing you can do to ensure access is to work towards  being scent/fragrance free. Folks who have chemical disabilities need  to be able to participate in the worlds outside our bedrooms- in our parties, queer/trans of color cultural events, the subway, the grocery store, etc.

It’s easy to get inexpensive scent/fragrance free products at Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Whole Foods (they suck, but they make $3 scent-free shampoo, conditioner and lotion), independent health food stores and co-ops, and you can also just get some cocoa butter, coconut oil or shea butter in the raw and make your own products, which is cheap and fun.

Cutting out scents may seem like a pain in the ass, but it means that awesome, ass-kicking community members you love can attend events you're at and make out with you without having seizures, throwing up or otherwise getting really sick.

Are you curious about going scent-free but totally overwhelmed by the prospect of having to replace your whole product line of fiercely researched POC body care products? You're not the only one. Fear not!"