Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This isn't a feel-good blog. There are no sparkles and rainbows for you to slide down to find disabled people in a little accessible pot o' gold, farting sequins and love for you. It's also not exactly just a pissy blog either, not all the time. But it's honest, and hopefully provides some information that you can use in the real world. And that makes a difference in mine and the lives of other folks who need things to change, like ASAP. And i'm good with that. i just want us to keep learning and re-learning this stuff, and adapting as things change. i do this kind of work because it's the right thing to do, for me, for my communities, not because i imagine everything will be amazing some day. It may never change substantially in my lifetime. As a gimp, i'm not fooling myself. i know this stuff is hard, and if i sat around waiting for the big payoff i'd lose my shit. So i keep writing, agitating, rebuilding, tearing down and building again, advocating and creating change, big, little, whatever. The more the merrier! So, in the words of Inga Muscio, let's "get it the fuck on!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pump Up The Volume

Here's something i'd like my non-disabled friends, lovers, comrades, community members to think about:

Your ability to behave as though accessibility isn't really a big deal, or that it's a big deal but not something you really need to concern yourself with, is based purely in your privileged position within an ableist society.

If you've known me any length of time, you've known that accessibility is important. There's just no getting around that. The degree to which you allow yourself to integrate that fact into your actions is directly correlated to the degree to which an ableist society values the voices of disabled folks, which is to say, not a lot.

Think about that: the voices of disabled folks (which, if you've known me for any length of time includes mine) are not valued or prioritized in any meaningful way in this society. You access that fact, whether realizing it or not, every day, in countless ways.

Which means, whether or not you realize it, whether or not you like it, you are tapping into ENabled privilege in a way that directly impacts the lives of people with disabilities. That's definitely not some personal indictment, just a fact of living in this society.

The fact is that you've more than likely encountered more than just me talking about accessibility. If it's in the local kink community, i know this for sure, because kinky gimps have been speaking out about accessibility at kink events for a very, very long time. Friends, lovers, comrades, we speak about it, we bring it up on websites, we talk about it at meetings (if they're accessible to us), we talk about it over coffee, breakfast, and before/after sex and/or play. We are indeed talking about it.

But again, the degree to which the information penetrates is directly correlated to the degree to which disabled voices are valued in this society, which is to say not a lot.

So i want folks to think more deeply about what it means for example to give accessibility information about your events without having to always be prompted by folks with disabilities to do it. i want you to think about how your actions affect PWD on a daily basis. How it impacts our access to what are supposed to be our communities, and how that lack of access hinders growth on so many levels, for everyone.

i also want people to be more creative about it! We have such an incredible community! Talented on so many levels, resourceful, creative, thoughtful, diverse. i want more folks to think (and DO!) more about who gets to be here. i want people's actions to challenge dominant notions about who gets to be here, to turn up the proverbial (and literal!) volume on gimp voices for a change by working on cutting down your own background noise.

What are you doing, right now, to turn down your own racket? What do you need to help you do that more often? Are there disabled members of your community who have been silenced, drowned out or passed over in discussions about space and community? i guarantee even if you can't think of any, they're there. What would it take for you to reach out? What do you think would be positives for the larger community if that happened consistently?

i'm down for it for sure :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

How can fatties be at peace in this world if/when we be at peace on the backs of other fatties?

That's what i want.

i don't need nor am i interested in Health At Every Size. As a disabled person who is identified daily by sighted folks as disabled i will never have that. And i refuse to get solidarity for myself on the backs of other disabled folks, or on the backs of other fatties who do not tow the "healthy" line. i mean, i don't tow that line, but generally i can get away with a certain level of shit because i am considered to be a "smaller" fatty. Do you know what i mean? i mean that i often have some wiggle room as a smaller fatty, a little more freedom, a little less staring when i eat in public (depending on what i'm eating and how excited i am about that), a little less judgment, etc than many of my bigger friends face, certainly when they and i are together and people can compare us (eg "they're both disgusting, but at least he's[sic] not THAT fat!"). This affords me time and space to do and be in ways that some of my friends and lovers and comrades simply cant take for granted. i know this, i understand it. i fight against giving in to it. i refuse to allow it to bring other fatties down because it is apparently somehow useful as a tool to elevate me.

i am also not interested in Fat Acceptance. i dont want to be accepted, or tolerated. i want to be respected, i want to be understood, i want to be left the fuck alone. i want to be celebrated and crooned over and smothered in kisses; on and on til i forget what it was ever like to be spit on, to be yelled at from passing cars, to be sneered and gawked at, to have every fucking thing that ever went wrong with my body attributed to my fat (and yes, even as a smaller fatty and as someone who others now perceive to be a dude, all of this is what i get, particularly living in one of the most fatphobic cities on the north american continent). i want to be covered, and when or if i'm so covered in kisses that i can forget that feeling of shame and hurt and embarrassment and anger even for a moment, i will remember that this shit is all contextual, and that in 5 minutes i'll get it again, and i will remember that other people in my life are still and always feeling it, and i will smother them with kisses (literal and/or figurative, as they may desire) and i will respect, understand, respect desires for solitude, celebrate and croon the fuck over them.

How can fatties be at peace in this world if/when we be at peace on the backs of other fatties? How can we look ourselves in the mirror, or imagine ourselves in our hearts, when we are so busy gawking at other fatties? At finger-pointing, at comparing, at judging, at disrespecting each other? How can you know in your heart that i wish to be in solidarity with you when and if my behaviour tells you something else? How can you know (and how can it be so) the depth of my love and respect when and if i prove myself over and over to throw you under the bus every time it gets overheated?

The only way i can be in true solidarity with you, and you with me, is to honour, listen, act, with dignity, respect, compassion, humility, to shut the fuck up, to leave alone, to show up, and yes to smother with kisses (literal and/or figurative) when desired, and to move forward together. That's what i commit to, every day, and that is why this fatty doesn't "accept" you and doesn't want you to "accept" me; doesn't want "health" at every size; but instead understands in the deepest corners of this cavernous heart that you, me, us, we, are fucking perfect in every way possible, precisely because you are, not because of what you can prove to me, not because of what you could be, not because of how well you fit into fatphobic framing of what a worthwhile existence should be, but because you are, right now, you, we, us. 

There is something incredibly powerful about you, we, us, no?