Monday, August 29, 2011


Hey folks :)
Here's a bit of news from the BC Coalition of People With Disabilities about a new service available to blind & low-vision folks:


A program of Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture, VocalEye Live Audio Description Service provides the visual details of live performance to blind and low vision audience members. Each patron is given a personal receiver with a single earpiece and volume control that allows him or her to hear both the show and the live audio description at the same time.

The broadcast begins 15 minutes before curtain with detailed descriptions of the set, characters and costumes. Once the show begins, the describer transmits pertinent physical action and visual detail between the lines of dialogue.

A new feature introduced at the end of last season is "Advance Audio Previews", pre-recorded descriptions of the set, costumes and characters, background info, reviews and plot synopsis available prior to the described performance. Please contact VocalEye for more details about the service: and contact the theatres directly to arrange your tickets. Remember to mention VocalEye Live Audio Description to reserve your equipment.

SEASON 2 of LIVE Audio Described performance 2011-12

Sunday Oct 2 at 2 PM      Next to Normal
Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Friday Oct 21 at 8 PM       Tosca Cafe, Vancouver Playhouse Theatre
Sunday Nov 13 at 2 PM    The Penelopiad Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Friday Dec 9 at 8 PM       La Cage aux Folles Vancouver Playhouse Theatre
Sunday Dec 11 at 2 PM    White Christmas Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Friday Jan 27 at 8 PM       Red
Vancouver Playhouse Theatre
January TBA                    Don Quixote, Surrey Arts Centre
Sunday Feb 19 at 2 PM     Calendar Girls Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Friday Mar 2 at 8 PM        Hunchback Vancouver Playhouse Theatre
Sunday Apr 8 at 2 PM      The Importance of Being Earnest Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Friday Apr 27 at 8PM       God of Carnage Vancouver Playhouse Theatre
Sunday Jun 3 at 2 PM        High Society Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Sunday Aug 5 at 2 PM       Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,  Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage  

For more information on Kickstart and the VocalEye Audio Description Service, including show descriptions, ticket information, and accessible directions to theatres
, email

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Future Tripping.

So i saw a film (fabulous by the way, highly recommend it: "Gen Silent") recently, and the discussion afterwards got me thinking. Well, it got me to leave quite frankly, but also thinking.

A panel was talking about the film and about aging LGBT folks more generally. And one of the things that kept getting said was different versions of: "We're all going to have to start planning (for aging and care we may need) soon!"

It struck me that this was all very clearly being couched in pretty able-bodied terms. 
Because of course, people aren't dealing with these kinds of questions already! Or so many would like to believe, because this culture does not centre or prioritize or even scratch the surface of the voices and experiences of folks with disabilities; and because both aging and disability (together or separately) are terrifying to most folks.
But for many of us, we're already planning. We're already having people wiping our asses, spoon feeding us, getting our groceries, manipulating our bodies, speaking on our behalf, blocking out our lovers, relying on strangers, and so forth. Many of us already live with this reality, so what felt like an unexamined refrain of "ZOMG it's going to happen someday!" was a little exhausting quite frankly, albeit predictable.

i'd love it if more people would challenge this constant centering of able-bodied stories/ realities. i wanted to stay for the end so i could say something, but just couldn't. And i needed to pee. And then i got lodged in the bathroom in my scooter. So y'know, no commentary from me. See? Plenty of us are already there. Having to be extricated from the bathroom by some strange (but very nice lol) dude. Awesomesauce. Reality. And there are so many folks in my life for whom this stuff and more is already a daily reality.

And yeah it does scare me to think of how things are gonna go down as i age. A queer, fat, trans, gimped and getting gimpier, with no connection to my family of birth, who will not be getting married, who will have limited rights (as will my lovers) to care for me and have my wishes respected, it scares me for sure.
i wonder if it's actually a gift to be going through some of these things now instead of having them crash into me later? Just please don't call it a privilege lol. It's just practice.

So i guess when i'm watching things like this --and wow, it really was incredibly touching, i felt for each of these folks and related in some ways as well-- i'm thinking about who's in the room with me, and who isn't. How do we find each other, and how to we lose each other?

Sometimes, we can be right there, sitting right next to you, and it seems we don't even exist. And isn't that the very problem we (and this whole movie we're there to see) are talking about? 

Forest? Meet trees.

Friday, August 19, 2011

grammar, people!

"When you post/reblog pithy little graphics or other things that bemoan others not using English words or grammar correctly, it makes me lose a lot more respect for you than anyone else. It makes me want to unfollow you.
On the best days, that kind of language policing and shaming is a little brother to the tone argument in which you don’t care if someone has said something true or important because you’re just there to tear it down any way you can by disapproving of the words, letters, and structure used and the failure of them to meet arbitrary standards. "

i think this is so important to remember. There are so many reasons why folks write the way we do, don't write the way you do, make the choices we make, or don't make the choices you make. Please keep this in mind the next time you want to tell me to capitalize my sentences more often, or use more accurate punctuation, or mix up they're/their/there [which is sort of also amusing to me to be called on that when SO many people have a hard time respecting my pronoun choice (they/ them/ their) because it's apparently not "proper" (which is also untrue) bahaha].

Anyways, ponder away!

to add:

Here's a longer thought for folks to chew on at yer leisure...

These conversations of late (and ongoing really) about "The English Language" and who's doing it "right" and "wrong" are so interesting to me. To see what folks are ok with & not.

i want to share something with you about me because while it may not help you move past your dislike of and peevishness with these things, it may open it up to a little more understanding:
When im reading, either in my head or out loud, i have to for example turn this "the cat played with *an* apple" into "the cat played with *a* apple", because if i dont, i will see/hear/interpret it as "unapple". This becomes a real problem for me depending on the context; it totally changes the meaning, and limits my understanding of a larger piece of writing. Sometimes i end up writing it out as "a apple".

i dont change it in my mind or on paper or on the screen because i dont understand or respect the rules (but who honestly gives a fuck if i do or dont?), but because that is how my brain works. i have a learning disability brought on by having been bathed in alcohol during my time in the womb & having endured 2 intense brain injuries (& a few smaller ones) in my life. And this is how i have adapted to it.

As to the dislike of acronyms (LOL, WTF, TL;DR and so forth), many of us use those because the act of writing, the physical act, can be painful, and we use acronyms to last longer, to say what we need to say without having to endure more pain than necessary, especially in the online format.

Who is anyone, especially people with the privilege of being seen and respected as writers, and people who have worked so damn hard to have their voice heard in this written form, to suggest that what i and others have to say is somehow less worthy of or likely to get your attention because of these adaptations we have made? i mean really? If people's adaptations of a language which may not even be their first (and as the article i linked to illustrates quite well, folks who may have entirely conflicted relationship with it for many reasons) is such an impediment to respecting or paying any attention to what they're saying, i suggest the impediment is yours -- and i mean "yours" in the general, not specific to any one person or incident; but this stuff is not always simple rule-breaking to piss people off, and is not all "laziness". It has real consequences for people, in ways critics may not be / so often are not taking into account.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Valuing My Work, and How You Can Help!

this come on the heels of a post i wrote about valuing my work i did a little while ago.

Here's something to ponder: if you have had me do an accessibility audit for you or used one of my existing accessibility audits & we never did any kind of trade/payment/exchange at the time, id like you to consider it now, retroactively, and for future audits.

So, for some examples:

  • If you run parties, how about a couple comp tickets to a future event?
  • If you do arts & crafts, how about a little something you made?
  • Photographer? How about a nice little snap?
  • Zinemaker? How about a free copy?
  • Into gardening? How about you help me lay these paving stones or offer advice on where to plant veggies?
  • Have the ability to offer an honourarium of any amount? Great! Even make it a gift certificate to a place of my choosing, i'd love it!
  • Love to cook? How about making me a meal you're especially excited about?
  • Maker of teas, chocolates, cheeses, jams, you name it? How about a sampling of your wares?
  • Have access to a vehicle? How about taking me to go shopping for something i couldn't carry otherwise? Or take me to a beach i can't access without a vehicle?

And so on.

Get it? i provide something you need, you provide something i need, and back and forth like that. Interdependency. Mutual aid. Community.

If you really, tangibly want to value the work i do, and you don't want to insist on using your value structure to determine how i  should interpret "value", lets talk about ways to do that for each other based in what we have access to, hm?

By which i mean, to clarify: If i do an audit for you/ your group/ organization/ collective/ band/ party/ etc, i would like you to ponder how you might compensate me for the several hours of work i put into it; to not wait until i ask; and to not just assume it's a giant freebie all the time. We don't all have a bunch of money to offer (but no-one's offering me that either lol, or even simply ASKing how much it would cost dollar-wise, so, y'know, there's that), but we do all have things and skills we enjoy/ create/ have access to and can share. i'm asking you to look into that and see what you can offer, without me necessarily having to come to you about it. Maybe a tall order, but there it is.

And for all the folks who have made the effort to reach out and compensate me somehow when you use my audits, thank you, it's seriously appreciated <3

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fierce Bodies

hey folks, please consider donating to this Fierce Bodies campaign to help them get their first line off the ground. This is pretty groundbreaking stuff in terms of fragrance and chemical free hair and skin products, and i think could lead to some really amazing change in how we deal with our impacts on other folks' health.
Below is the link to a video about Fierce Bodies, with english subtitles:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

super tangible interdependency

So this is what happened tonight: i was out scooting about the neighbourhood tonight wearing my battery down so i could get a nice full charge overnight, when the whole thing went kaput. Slammed (and i do mean slammed, there was nothing graceful about it at all) to a stop and no power. In the middle of the street. On a steep hill. 20 blocks from home. (i was hoping to all fuck that it was the battery and not the motor, and the former seems to be the case, fingers crossed, thank fuck). *UPDATE: its still not working, even after a full charge :( Dont know what im gonna do. *UPDATEUPDATE lol: its working! apparently i blew a charge (?) and just needed to press the reset button under the seat thing. Whoosh.

Now, at another time in my life, this wouldn't have freaked me out. i'd have just taken my time and crutches and walked home. But that reality is no more for me. i can't just get up and walk 20 blocks. i felt stuck. And scared. And worn out. And like i was gonna cry in the street. i just sat there and said to myself "well what the fuck am i supposed to do now??"

After a few moments i decided i at least needed to get out of the street because i had no lights. So i released the, well, release-y thing, and got it up on the sidewalk. And sat some more. Tried the key again. Nuthin'. i took it real slow and inched down half the hill to an intersection and figured i'd just have to wind my way home somehow, and hope to fuck i don't lose control on a downhill. Not cool. (Note: these fucking things should have hand brakes on them for times like this.)

So im sitting there in the dark, when these folks come by on bicycles and ask if im ok and do i need any help. i let them know what happened and where i was trying to get to, and one of them locked their bike up, and pushed me all the way home. This chair weighs about 140lbs + me at another 230lbs, so this dude pushes 370lbs for 20 blocks, down some steep hills which he has to completely control me so i dont go flying, then a couple inclines and a rocky alley. Didnt even hesitate. 

He and his partner just moved here 5 months ago, and are exploring the neighbourhood. When he asked me what i'd gotten up to today, before i knew what i was saying, i said id been at the Vancouver Queer Film Fest. Inside, i was like "why the fuck did you say that!!!! You dont know this dude!! What if he freaks out??" and so forth. But he didnt. He was totally chill, totally sweet, asked me some questions about it, told me what he'd been up to today.

Also, this all has me thinking again in a different way about privilege: skin privilege (if i wasn't white, would people even stop?), gender-passing privilege (if people perceived me as the trans person i am, would they stop to help?), presumed-male privilege (if i was perceived as a woman, how safe could i ever assume it to be to have a strange man push me home, physically vulnerable?), class-based passing privilege (if i "looked poor", how many people would stop to help me if i was in the street like that?), and so on, and how these things intersect with ones ability to do those things, to even receive assistance, to take chances, etc.

Yeah, that whole interdependency thing (which includes among other things suspending disbelief, putting yourself out there, trusting-while-also-trusting-your-gut ---which needs to be filtered through the last paragraph)? Totally need it in my life. Riding this chair, im learning that more every day.


Friday, August 5, 2011

touching me

So i briefly mentioned this in my last post, but this thing keeps happening more and more, and now especially since i started using the scooter: people touch me without my consent. 

It's been a common theme since i started being perceived as a dude more, and increases depending on what i'm using to get around. When i had just my crutches, people would touch me. On the bus, in a cafe, walking down the street, you name it. 

Now, in the scooter, people do it even more. i noticed today while i was out n about, that people non-consentually touched me at least 5 times that i counted and particularly noticed. Strangers touched me. Super casual acquaintances who'd never touched me before touched me. They touched me and they touched my scooter. One man stroked the arm of my scooter, and tried to lead me. 

No invitation, no connection = non-consentual.

Also, people used to ask me more if i wanted "help"; now, they just don't even bother asking, they just go ahead and do it, and don't look me in the eyes while they do it. Even if their "help" actually makes things worse/ harder for me, like it did on a couple occasions today. Or they don't even bother "helping" at all. Less perceived, more perceived, less perceived, who can say?
Seems to me this is about a declining kind of visibility on one hand (my perceived worth and ability as a person based in able-bodied notions has gone down another notch), and an increasing kind of visibility (as even more of a gimp, and as extra not meeting those able-bodied standards of worth, even more in apparent need of able-bodied "help", and also in need of less consent-giving than before).


i'll be keeping my feelers out on this one. Have you experienced a notable shift in how people treat you in terms of consent over what happens to your body? How have you handled it? i'd love to hear some tips!

Also, just an added note: if you didn't touch me before i used the scooter, don't start touching me now unless we have that kind of connection, ok? Ask me first! Consent and all that! Thanks :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Adventures in Scootin'

So i want to tell you a little about this scooter situation.
[photo: a tattooed white-skinned bearish person with glasses wearing a black cap, tshirt, overalls and boots, sitting with hands up to their face on a bright blue Ranger scooter with a black basket in front and forearm crutches on the back. Parked on the sidewalk, there are trees and other greenery in the background]

It’s amazing, and i am so fortunate that my good friend passed this along to me to get fixed up and use as i please. i'd have never been able to afford to buy one on my income, and this used one is a brand that's sturdy, simple design, and has quick n easy maintenance. That’s some gimp solidarity right there. 

i knew it would be a big deal for me, but it’s only been a few days, and it has already changed my life. Like, i’m trying to find words for it, but it’s hard.

i’ll be real honest with you: i’m scared. Scared about what’s happening to my body; scared of being more reliant on something other than my body; scared of relying on more technology; of relying on electricity; scared of how people look at me differently; and how they touch me differently; how they touch me at all, when that hasn’t been our connection. Of how they do and don’t see me. Scared of being down here when i used to be up there; of not having as much eye contact. Scared of how vulnerable i feel. Scared of how friends will feel about me, how my gimp friends will feel about me based in their own experiences. Scared of hurling myself off another curb (have already done it once, and it doesn't feel good at all), but without any help. Scared of my body slowing down, of not exercising my muscles as much. Scared of what that could mean in terms of body pain. i live with a degenerative disease, and i’m scared of how using a scooter could most likely exacerbate that over time.

And i’m also unsure about a lot of the above, have many mixed feelings about it all. There’s a lot to process here. Like there was when i first began using a cane, how when i briefly used a wheelchair people were so fucking rude and weird to me, how i then switched to a forearm crutch, then two, then back to one periodically, then two, and now this. All the reactions, the social changes, the body changes. It’s so much.

But for right now, mixed in with all these questions and uncertainties and scary shit, there is this: 

freedom. i feel right now a freedom i haven’t felt in i don’t even know how long. i’ve been able to explore my neighbourhood in ways i just haven’t been in so long. And that’s important to me, the taking slow (or rabbit speed!) meanders through the neighbourhood and not being completely worn out by the end of it; feeling the wind in my (forearm!) hair. Also, feeling more vulnerable in some ways and less vulnerable in others. i just can’t even accurately describe this feeling. Maybe i don’t need to. But there it is.

Going on a scooting adventure with a friend who’s also on wheels was like another dimension to an already fabulous friendship, a new experience, a new appreciation (for the sometimes really fucked up realities of wheeled life and for the beauty and groseness of this city).

i just....yeah. So many thoughts right now. i’m going to be processing this stuff for awhile, and it won’t all be excitement and a huge grin on my face as i swish down the street with a coffee. But i hope you can read about some of it, and gain some new understanding, or find some solidarity or commonality in what i write about it, while i gain some new perspectives on what you put out there too.

Interdependency, who knew?