Thursday, November 19, 2009

sometimes i struggle with this

sometimes i struggle with this:
i know that disabled folks dont look a certain way. i know that folks who are disabled but not perceived by the culture as disabled deal with a whole range of shit that i dont anymore. And i also know that there are things i deal with, as someone who is labeled disabled, who is identifiably disabled by an ableist culture (meaning, because i am identified by people living in an ableist culture as being disabled, because sighted folks can see that i am disabled, and because of that put all their bullshit about disabled folks on me, every day, all day, and i cant escape it for a moment), there are things i deal with that others dont. i want to be able to speak to that without that meaning im invalidating the experiences of folks with invisible [to sighted folks] disabilities. Because thats not what it is. i dont have that kind of power. i just want to be able to speak to my lived experience.

So. If i want to have a photo taken of me with someone/s else who is also identifiably disabled by an ableist culture, i think thats ok. If i want to sit around and chat with other folks who are identifiably disabled by an ableist culture, i think thats ok too. Its more than ok. Its super important to me to share those experiences, to support each other with the particular kinds of shit we get when we are identifiably disabled by an ableist culture, to make art about it, music, words, something i can look to when i feel so completely fucked up from having to deal with it every single day. Because while those experiences are hugely variant, there are some commonalities that i want to chat/complain/cry/create/laugh about with other folks who deal with it. When i have these moments with folks who also deal with this stuff, there's a connection there, an understanding--even in our differences-- theres this common experience of being seen[sic] & and yet not seen[sic] at the same time.

There are so many things i dont yet know how to talk about. But theres something to connecting with other folks who are also seen/not seen[sic] at the same time that means something to me. Not to any other disabled persons exclusion, holy fuck no, but to grow my heart, to figure out where some of the fissures are, to sew it up or let it bleed. i need this.

What do you need to help you heal your heart? And how will/do you find it/create it?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

let's get real a minute

Please take the time to read this. It's not long, and will be (if you're doin' it right) mostly painless, i promise. Feel free to repost this.

Please, if you are putting on an event, make sure you indicate the level of accessibility in your promotional materials & callouts. Ensure that the indicated access level is actually the level offered at the venue and not simply what you wish or assume is offered. It gets old fast showing up having been told a space is "fully wheelchair accessible" only to discover it is actually only "semi wheelchair accessible", for example; or to be told an event is "accessible" but without sign language interpretation. Yes, this kind of transparency actually DOES make a difference for real live disabled folks & DOES impact whether & to what extent i'll support your event.
[And here's a novel idea i'd like people to consider: If your venue does have a wheelchair accessible entrance, why not make that the DEFAULT entrance, for everyone? Get people used the the notion that this matters to folks using wheelchairs and scooters; and yes, this matters to more than only those folks you identify as requiring a wheelchair accessible entrance; that more people will actually show up if you provide wheelchair access; that it actually does matter that it is disabled folks who are required to enter through some super secret, rocky, usually poorly lit, back alley entrance (at which there is never a safety or security person positioned, and often no reliable way of alerting staff to your presence). i promise, gimps are chock full of handy ideas!]

If you're unsure what level to identify your events, ask me (i say that just because, well, you know me, and we're talkin' here...) or any number of other folks equipped to provide accurate, up to date, critical information on accessibility. Use the skills and energy of those of us who have put ourselves out there on this stuff! Seriously. i dont do accessibility audits only because i enjoy them (which i totally do); i do them because i think it's critical that folks are aware of the spaces they're using, and not just the status quo able-bodied centric viewpoint, but from that of an actual disabled person (in conversation with several other variously disabled folks) who has to navigate the spaces you choose for your fine-ass events. i also know how important it is to me personally to have the information ahead of time, to not have to call 6 people to find accurate information, to not have to surf around the internet for an hour trying to find the info.
im personally invested in being part of creating a culture where it isnt always just gimps taking responsibility for this stuff, but all of our community. Part of that process is showing each other how its done, what information we need, and getting it out there consistently.

This really is just part of the work of organizing events, like any other part. i'm hopeful that more people will take this to heart, and apply it consistently, just as a matter of course.

i'm always open to conversation and questions about my take on this stuff, sharing resources, energy, time and experience. Let's get it the fuck on, people!


not accessible? then don't invite me.

Not wheelchair accessible? Then please DON'T INVITE ME.

More specifically:
Let's get real, people.
Meaning, if you are putting on an event that you think will be fun and fabulous and you just want all your friends to attend? But that event is being held in a NON accessible location? Then yes, please do not invite me. i am tired of being put in the position -- by ENabled (able-bodied) folks -- of having to choose between solidarity with my friends and/or lovers and/or community members who are unable to access such spaces, and attending because the friends and/or lovers and/or community putting something on are ENabled and just arent thinking about access, and no matter what i'll just keep missing out on the good stuff.Tired of having to choose between dragging my ass up the stairs (which i often cant do) that you seem to think are no big deal, or staying home.

i am so. incredibly. tired.
There are times when i feel like i cant stand even one more incident of ableism in my communities. One more incident and my brain will fucking implode for good. One more incident and my heart will shrink back to its old, fucked up, defeated size; and i will go back to not going out, not being part of fun, educational, inspiring, challenging community events, not volunteering my goddamned gimped ASS off for them. And that is fucked up. All because way too many people cant get their shit together and do some actual, for real solidarity. That is a goddamned shame, and yes, even though im no fan of "shoulds", you absolutely should feel something for participating in it. You should want to change that. You should want this to be different. You just should. Dont you think so? It's just such incredibly basic shit.

And while i know that this will never be easy for anyone, particularly those of you who cannot or will not conceptualize what ableism means on the ground for those of us who live with it every day, i do continue to expect better. i expect more. i expect it in large part because so many people talk a streak about solidarity, but dont seem clear on how that is impacted by ableism. i expect it because i and so many other disabled folks put our gimped asses on the line literally every day for this stuff. We put in time, energy and what little money we have working on accessibility. i've certainly never asked for one single thing in return. Not money, not notoriety, not even your attention for more than it takes to consider something ive written on the topic. i do it because i need it to get done lol, and there are so few people doing it. i do it because my friends/lovers/comrades need it done, and so few people are doing it. i do it because its right. i just wish more people for whom this didnt directly impact would step up and do it too. Because, yknow, they tend to be the ones with the resources to make this stuff actually happen.

Please, think about the ways you have and havent been honestly looking at this stuff, and endeavour to do better. Listen to what disabled folks have to say about it, we are, after all, the actual experts in our own experiences--which is a critical piece so many ENabled folks seem to miss when it comes to disabled folks.

i know perfectly well what im missing out on because so so few are doing anything about ableism and inaccessibility in our communities. But i fear that so many have no idea what yer are missing out on by doing nothing. And that is a damn shame. (im not going to go to that other place, the one that is about how i know that some folks do know what theyre missing out on by excluding gimps, and because of their fucked up notions about disabled folks are quite happy to maintain the status quo...thats for another post.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

see asterisk for more detail re: access, community, mutual support

more specifically:
OK. So. This is what happens when you support me: i support you. Deal? Deal*. Very exciting! You support me, i support you. That is what community is about folks. Right there.

Do you realize that if everyone said "No. No, we will neither attend nor support this inaccessible event because it shuts out members of our communities. How can we make this different together?", that if more people said that, stuff would change much quicker and more appropriately? And that then i could spend more time cuddling? Sounds good to me.

Support me and i will support you. Have each other's back. Deal? Deal.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

some point form on stealth, queer, trans, gimp, far and privilege

just some thoughts for the day...

- being "stealth" is not / wont be the downfall of the trans community

- it is CISSEXISM that challenges us, that degrades us, that creates rifts, that kills us, so please dont attempt to derail us in our self-love, support, community building projects with some bullshit about how our troubles are because of stealth folks, genderqueers, trans kinksters, fat trans folks, or any other trans person.

- not all people you identify as being "stealth" trans people identify that way (either as stealth or trans or any combination), and THAT IS OK

- being cis(sexual and or gender) does not mean you are a bad person, and it is not an attack on your personal freedoms to be identified as cis(sexual or gender).

- not all trans folks, including myself, want to hear your neverending processing about your cissexual privilege

- some of us, including me, do want to hear what work youre doing

- queer =/= trans by default; trans =/= queer by default

- i personally believe that how i am queer is about who and how i fuck, about my political strategies, is also intimately connected to my trans identity, it's about a bunch of stuff, and THAT IS OK

- this fat person does not want to listen to you process your emotions around my body

- this gimp does not want to listen to you process your emotions around my body

- advocating for a scent-free and/or scent-reduced space is not restricting your personal freedoms, creating anarchy and/or creating a police state

- anyone, ANYONE, who tells me that they refuse to place accessibility information on their websites and other promotional materials is actively accessing ENabled privilege. Full stop.

- it is not my job as a gimp to educate you about my thoughts on gimp stuff, but it is most certainly my right to do so, and it would do us all a favourfor you to pay some attention

- my love of my fat body, my trans body, my gimped body, is not some delusion. It is self love in the face of a never-ending flood of messages that my body is wrong, is other, is worthless, is ugly.

Do not get in the way of me loving my body.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Tranifesto: An Ongoing Self Exam Sans Stirrups

i started this in April, but have been adding to it.

Always more to think about and add...

My Tranifesto: An Ongoing Self Exam Sans Stirrups

1a. i am in love with my cunt. My cunt is the sacred black hole into which all the things that try to assail my heart are turned, spun, chrysalis. My cunt has always been with me, and always will, whether in its current solid form or in brainwaves or memories. My cunt is like none other. My cunt is mine and mine alone. My cunt is powerful, beautiful, unstoppable, and neither rape, nor guilt, nor expectation, nor the state can take that away. i will maintain and celebrate this connection, without shame, without fear, without explanation. i will include in my life only those people who respect this. My cunt-love doesn't take away or minimize you or your identity, your cunt or not-cunt. My cunt-love doesn't have anything to do with you. My cunt-love is between me and my cunt, spun from the silk of my Mother's cunt, and her Mother's cunt, and so on.

1 b. i refuse to use my cunt as a tool of and/or justification for oppression. My cunt has too long been at the shit-end of that stick. My cunt is not a podium from behind which i will allow myself or others to spout hatred.

Specifically, in solidarity with Unconsentually Assigned Male At Birth trans folks:
  • i will not allow myself or others to use my cunt as a tool to oppress UAMAB trans folks.
  • i will not allow the existence or not-existence of an UAMAB trans persyn's cunt to determine whether and to what extent i show her/them respect, solidarity and compassion.
  • i will not demand that UAMAB trans folks' interpretations, experiences or physical embodiments of their cunts match my own. My solidarity will not be based on her/their ability or willingness to conform to mine.
  • i will consistently challenge myself on my assumptions around what it means to me to have been born with a particular kind of cunt, and
  • i will not allow those who would use their cunt against UAMAB trans folks to sway me in this exploration.
  • i will call out those who use the existence or not-existence of a specific kind of cunt to defend their hatred, fear, exclusion, marginalization and oppression of UAMAB trans folks; and refuse to participate in any way in undertakings based in such oppression.
  • i refuse, despite the ongoing invitations, to enjoy "women-only" events; and will scrutinize "women-focused", "women and trans" or "past, present and future women" events until such time it's clear these events and spaces truly honour all women.

2. i am proud of who and what i am. i am Trans.
i have been and am fucking raging. i am tired of bullshit that tries to degrade me, to insult me, to minimize and/or trivialize my pain, to erase and appropriate my history. i will not allow myself to succumb to this violence, this soul-murder. and i won't allow non-Trans people, any of them, to take that and turn it into some Queer Theory bullshit, or into some psychosis, or some thing i'm meant to be ashamed of and / or open up to every fucker who wants a piece.

3. i am proud of my community and will support and protect and struggle alongside my Trans friends, lovers, comrades, acquaintances, strangers, in their own searches and struggles to be proud of their communities. i will challenge myself, expand my brain, my heart, the grasp of my fingers, shut the fuck up, speak out, then shut the fuck up and speak up and shut the fuck up and so on so that i can be a solid member of my Trans communities.

4. i have a right to be in this body, and to use the language i choose to define it. i will consistently challenge myself around the words i choose, i will continue to learn, to listen, to adapt, to honour.

5. i will not allow myself to succumb to the sexist and transphobic bullshit i'm forced to swim in every day. i will call bullshit. every. fucking. time. And because there are times my spirit is broken, or my head is in a fog or my body pain is too much to bear, i will take care of that, and then i'll get back to calling bullshit.

6. i will continue to not poison my Trans body with alcohol, whether attempting to numb the physical and emotional pain in my body, my family, or the universe. i want my cunt to continue to experience life free from numbness. i came out of my Mother's cunt in a bath of numbness, and stayed there for thirty years. i'm done. This isn't easy, it's not without setbacks, challenges, questions, context. But silence & denial = death, and yeah, i'm done with that too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

ally is a verb not an identity

Hi folks,
a semi-annual request.

If you are going to advertise for events, gatherings, etc, please for the love of golden-fried perogies,

It takes a phone call or a visit to the space, a moment to type it up along with the rest of your post, and does a world of good.
Some incredibly basic examples of what im personally asking for:
- is the entire space "wheelchair accessible"? Do you know what that means?

- if just the main space is w/c accessible, give some detail about what the deal is with the bathrooms: can a person in a wheelchair access them? can that person transfer on either or only one side of the toilet? are there bars? does the door swing into or out of the stall? what are the measurements?

- if there are stairs, how many? are there landings? are there railings? on one or both sides? how wide is the staircase?

- is there to be a clear path so folks can get through the space without getting knocked on their asses or run into?

- is the space scent and smoke free?

- is the space on an accessible bus route? if not, is it on any bus route?

- is there sign language interpretation available?

- is the place well-lit or moody? are signs big and bold, high contrast?

- is there gimp parking available?

- is there a variety of seating? or is it all those folding "chairs" of doom?

- is there a contact person for access issues?
- etc

It seems like a lot of work, but really, its not. It's considerably more work to show up at an event only to find it's up a huge flight of stairs, and/or the bathroom isnt accessible, and/or the place smells like a perfume shop.

There are those of us who have been working on this kind of stuff for a long ass time and already know the info you need. If youre unsure, ask.

But please, get on it. Toute suite.

Thanks, loves.