sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
If you are interested in the general strike on January 20th (anti-inauguration day), here are some things I thought of that would be useful:

Make flyers to advertise it to non-internet people. Print, distribute, and hang flyers.
Make a press release and send the release to friendly newspapers and periodicals.
Buy ad space and/or write articles and blog posts.
Contact your local unions to see if they are interested.
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
I dreamt that I had renewed my passport and eaten the old one for some reason, maybe for security. But then I thoughtlessly ate a page of the new one, the page with the most important information on it, and so I'd have to renew it again.

LWC talked about, it feels as if someone has died. It feels as if our hopes and dreams have died. Many of us feared that Obama, our first black president, would be assassinated. Instead it feel like they have assassinated the possibility of a future, the possibility of a second black president, of a Muslim president, of a queer or woman president, of safety, of progress.

Jesse talked about generational trauma. The fears and warnings of her mother ringing in her head. Talking to an ignorant financial planner about the dangers of the FBI; about how the Nazi party came to power.

TWW talked about how fleeing is a fantasy. Furiosa, she dreams of escaping to the green place. But it does not exist. She gathers allies and draws her enemies away and returns to retake the Citadel.

What can we do, as chronically ill people? We are often not people who can plan and lead marches. We generally cannot work long hours. Many of us have trouble with phone calls due to anxiety. Many of us are poor and cannot donate or purchase supplies.

Here's what we can do.
Link sharing of important information.
Emotional labor, such as telling people we care for them, leaving supportive comments, linking to cute animal pictures and music.
Listening to people's troubles. Using Skype and calling our friends. Sometimes you understand something so much better when you describe it to someone else; you can think through a problem when you talk to someone.
Sending packages or notes in the mail.
Producing fanfic, fanworks, art, etc. Journaling. Creating. Letting our voices be heard. Reminding the world that we exist.
Wearing buttons-- making ourselves and our positions visible to the world.
Starting conversations. Being allies as best we can.
Sharing what resources and skills we have. For instance cooking, proof reading, pet sitting.
Take care of ourselves and each other, because survival is essential. Remind others to do self-care. Affix your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

Dreamwidth comms of note:
[community profile] spoonlessactivists
[community profile] thisfinecrew
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
I'm going to write about seeing Mia Mingus! She is so awesome, has so many great ideas, such great open energy. By culture and personality, I am somewhat conflict averse, and yet also drawn to things that involve cognitive dissonance, which is a problem. Mia has this way of being hungry for the conflict, of digging into with enthusiasm. Like, YES, let's TALK about that uncomfortable thing! And it is just honestly such a relief.

I went to a small group session where we talked about a couple of her essays from her website:
1. Changing the Framework: Disability Justice

2. Access Intimacy: The Missing Link

3. Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability

The third one really blew my mind. LOVED it. Here is another way of resisting respectability politics: embrace magnificence instead of prettiness. Be memorable, own the way you look and are.

We talked a bit about being uncomfortable with "body positivity", and the intersection of disability and fat politics. This is an exciting area to me and I'd like to see more people talking about it. These are both highly stigmatized categories and activists from the two groups seem to want to avoid each other due to this stigma, even though the intersection between the two groups is pretty readily apparent. Think of fat activists emphasizing "health at any size" and talking about how they are healthy and active at their weight--centering health, which is not exactly friendly to those of us who are not in good health. Meds can cause weight gain or loss; weight (high or low) itself can be associated with certain illnesses; etc. Anyways, Dave Hingsburger writes about this a bit (mostly the stigma of being a fat wheelchair user). And I always, always rec The Fat Nutritionist, especially this post: You have no obligation to be healthy.

Mia Mingus talked about how when we are so committed to the social model of disability (or any kind of social model), we can run up against the wall of our bodies. And so we need to talk about embodiment. I think part of loving and caring for our bodies is acknowledging that being embodied can totally suck sometimes. It is ok to feel negative.

During her key note, Mia Mingus talked about transformative justice and her work using it to address child sexual abuse (often adult survivors of same). She works with Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective. One of the themes of her talk was building alternatives to our state institutions, because how can we depend on the state to address violence when the state uses violence and oppression against us?

This event was part of the Gender and Women's Studies 40th anniversary event on campus. I went to some of the events the next day, but they were... much more academic and kind of not my thing.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Pursuant to my post about conferences, I've been thinking about how making events affordable is an access issue.

Making your event affordable attracts people of different classes and backgrounds and locations. It also makes your event more welcoming to disabled folks / PWD. People with disabilities are more likely to be poor for structural, societal reasons. Being disabled can affect a person's earning potential due to discrimination and impairment-related reasons; it also is just plain expensive. For me, for example: There are co-pays on prescriptions and doctor appointments; health services that are not covered by insurance; supplements to buy; expensive shoes that don't hurt my feet; the list goes on and on. For people on special diets, food can be more expensive. A 2008 study found gluten-free products to be much more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts.

Worry about money is a near-constant source of stress for many people, and some studies link this stress to negative health effects.

If we are planning events, what can we do to help make them more affordable?

Here are some ideas:

Registration and Programming
Sliding scale registrations; day memberships
Member Assistance Fund or Scholarships
ConSuite (hospitality suite)
Free Childcare
Kid, Teen, Youth programming tracks at fan conventions so people can bring their kids
Rebates or refunds for volunteering or presenting

List area hostels
Have a room share board on social media

Provide cab vouchers and/or mass transit fees so people can get back to their lodging late at night
Have a ride share board
Choose a venue that is on bus or mass transit lines

List local restaurants, grocery stores, and markets. Note if the markets accept food stamps. note if the grocery stores deliver.
Note if they hotel has fridges or microwaves in the rooms or lobby.

Look for grants and sponsorships to help off set costs.
Ask for donated items for prizes and gifts.
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Saving my tweets on this as I think it through.

The "Man of his time" argument assumes that everyone in that time period felt the same way. Erases nuance and difference.

It also erases experiences of dissents and marginalized people. Those people existed even if history has forgotten them. (For example: I learned from Rachel Maddow tonight that Vince Lombardi was pro-gay and had a gay brother. He was a famous football coach that lived from 1913-1970).

Me and my friends don't hold the prevailing views of mainstream society. I don't think of us as "products of our time."

This argument also assumes that society progresses forward thru time, that people in the past were worse. Which is not true. (History does not go forward in a upward line. It's more like a sine wave maybe.)

We are all influenced by our time and society, but we can all think critically and listen to our consciences re right and wrong.

Saying that someone was "a product of their time" is usually just apologism for their bad behaviors.

If something is wrong today, it was wrong 100 years ago. (Ethical behaviors, possibly, have some standards across societies and times, even if morals are relative. Have to think on this more.)

Just because people in power endorsed it, doesn't make it OK for everyone else in society to do so.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
So people on Twitter have been like, "Say it with me, vaccines do not cause autism." Which is all well and good, but for years I've been thinking that the better strategy is to completely separate the words. Don't even say them in the same sentence at all.

Think word associations. Remember those Wordles that were popular a few years ago, that make an artistic picture of all the words in your document or story? They are a word association picture. By putting words into the same sentence (even with a "does not equal/cause") you are associating them.

Instead substitute things that are like are equal.

So, associate vaccines with, say: normalcy, goodness, hygiene, civic duty, scientific development, the fight against infectious diseases, etc.


Associate autism with good things like equality, support, creativity, love, life, diversity, justice.

Just don't put them in the same sentence.


Mar. 5th, 2014 03:35 pm
sasha_feather: a fox curled up around a rabbitt (fox and rabbit)
Wisdom from [personal profile] jesse_the_k (paraphrased, from last week):

"Sometimes people think that violence is the only way to get attention from the powerful. But the problem is, it brings the wrong kind of attention. Violence makes the powerful feel like victims and they can use it to justify their further actions." (ie their own further violence).

We also talked about how access is like a living organism, that you have to keep tending it so that it doesn't wither away and die. You can't do access for a group or event once and be done-- you have to keep doing it, keep tending that living organism.

These days I find activists to be the most inspiring people. For instance I found this obituary for civil rights activist Lee Lorch super fascinating. He was a math professor and involved in de-segregating housing. He was a white person who taught at a couple of historically black colleges; he kept getting fired or denied tenure at his jobs due to his activism. He seemed to have no regrets.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
This article better reflects how I feel than the last one:

Bitch magazine: Sized Up

Does this sound familiar? Remember psychiatry's attempts to cure homosexuality? Our culture's hand-wringing over the "obesity epidemic," its hawking of one breakthrough diet or miracle weight-loss product after another, and its moralistic shaming of those it deems "too fat" are as conducive to self-hatred as "gay conversion therapy." But while the harmful conversion therapy that religious conservatives practice on lgbtq people has rightly been the target of political protest and legal intervention, the medically sanctioned use of weight conversion therapy (a.k.a. dieting) has provoked far less outrage on the Left.

eta: don't read the comments
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
I said something tonight which seemed to surprise my friends, and now I feel the need to talk about it a little, so I'm laying it out here: I don't believe in the "obesity epidemic." I mean that I really don't believe it exists.

My essential reading for this is a 2005/2006 scientific article:

The epidemiology of overweight and obesity: public health crisis or moral panic? Paul Campos, et al. International Journal of Epidemiology.

Selections follow, but I suggest reading it all. It is scientfic, but readable, and a fantastic article that states the claims the claims the medical/scientific communities have been making, and swiftly knocks them down. For example:

Claim #2: ‘Mortality rates increase with increasing degrees of overweight, as measured by BMI.’—WHO, 2003 (p. 61)2

This claim, central to arguments that higher than average body mass amount to a major public health problem, is at best weakly supported by the epidemiological literature. Except at true statistical extremes, high body mass is a very weak predictor of mortality, and may even be protective in older populations.

Claim #4: Significant long-term weight loss is a practical goal, and will improve health.

At present, this claim is almost completely unsupported by the epidemiological literature. It is a remarkable fact that the central premise of the current war on fat—that turning obese and overweight people into so-called ‘normal weight’ individuals will improve their health—remains an untested hypothesis. One main reason the hypothesis remains untested is because there is no method available to produce the result that would have to be produced—significant long-term weight loss, in statistically significant cohorts—in order to test the claim.


The authors also speculate on social and political factors contributing to this moral panic:

In particular, organizations like the International Obesity Task Force (which has authored many of the WHO reports on obesity) and the American Obesity Association (which has actively campaigned to have obesity officially designated as a ‘disease’) have been largely funded by pharmaceutical and weight-loss companies.

Moral panics are typical during times of rapid social change and involve an exaggeration or fabrication of risks, the use of disaster analogies, and the projection of societal anxieties onto a stigmatized group.47,48

Public opinion studies also show that negative attitudes towards the obese are highly correlated with negative attitudes towards minorities and the poor, such as the belief that all these groups are lazy and lack self-control and will power. This suggests that anxieties about racial integration and immigration may be an underlying cause of some of the concern over obesity.49–51

Previous work indicates that moral panics often displace broader anxieties about changing gender roles.49,53 While this hypothesis deserves further research, a recent advertisement that ran in a major American newspaper suggests that this may be at play in the obesity panic. This advertisement blames ‘30 years of feminist careerism’ for an epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes: ‘With most mothers working, too few adults and children eat balanced, nutritious, portion-controlled home-cooked meals.

However, other works suggest that some portion of the population's weight gain can be attributed to smoking cessation,56 which runs counter to the assumption that the country's weight gain is evidence of both moral laxity and a harbinger of declining overall health.
[bolding mine]
sasha_feather: "subversive" in rainbow colors (subversive)
Actor Wentworth Miller of "Prison Break" came out publicly, making it politcal, making it about Russia.

George Takei posted this on Facebook:

["Wentworth Miller reveals he's gay." Photo of Miller. Photo of Obi-Wan Kenobi. "I feel a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of women suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly followed by millions of gay men crying out in joy."]

I saw a similar reaction on an acquaintance's Facebook feed, where a gay man posted in support of Miller, and a presumably straight woman said, perhaps in jest, "I am not pleased!"

The microagressions here are many. I wish his coming out were a neutral piece of news, or focused, as he meant, on Russia. Instead we get this.

There is something here about Miller's body as public property, which is part of being a celebrity, and I don't think it's wrong to admire and sexualize celebrities. In fact I think it's often great! But I think it goes too far when people express this creepy sort of ownership over celebrities' bodies, and rules about who can and can't desire them. Because Miller is gay, now suddenly women can't desire him anymore? Who made up that rule?

The Obi-Wan meme erases the experience of queer women entirely, assuming that all women are straight. It also ignores bisexual, asexual, and other queer people. Yes, I realize that it's just a meme, and meant for humor. But it isn't funny. I am really glad about Miller coming out, and doing so in an explicitly political way.

The women saying "I am not pleased!" no doubt think they are saying this statement in humor. I always want people generally to say they are pleased by queerness. Expressing displeasure at someone's queerness sure sounds like homophobia even if you don't mean it that way. It also centers these women's own feelings as hetero women, and assumes that all good looking actors should somehow be available to them sexually. This sort of magical thinking is really strange.

Malinda Lo said the other day on Twitter, that people are shocked and appalled when a character they think should be straight turns out to be gay. I think there is some of that happening here. Miller is a very good looking hunk, someone "masucline" in appearance, not stereotypically gay, and so some people react with a kind of outrage. A hunky man like that is gay??
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
This talk was part of UW's Distinguished Lecture Series, and was given by Dr. Michelle Alexander, speaking about: "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement."

Here are my notes.

An introduction was given by a professor of law? politics? who was a white man. He said that at the start of the U.S. there were only 5 laws; now there are something like 2,000, and all of us break laws. This overcriminilization leads to overincarceration. Discretion must be used to enforce the law, but this opens the door to bias. Federal laws are vague, and plea bargaining is rampant. There is a decline in the use of juries.

From 1990 to 2001, there was a doubling in the number of people in prison. The number of prisons rose by 41%. There are 2.1 million people in prison. Although blacks use drugs at about the same rate as whites, they are 9 times more likely to go to prison for drug crimes. Equal protection is not in play, which is a political issue. Other issues inc lude the fact that prosecutors often live outside of inner cities, and intraracial crime is not addressed, leaving black people unprotected.

Michelle Alexander spoke about the Invisible Undercaste in America. We see the Obamas on TV but that image does not match up with the "other America". Dr. MLK Jr. said there is no greater sin than sleeping through a revolution. We've slept through a counter-revolution: one that fought back against the civil rights movement. Poor folks of color are shuffled from under funded schools into high-tech prisons.

In this era of "color blindness", we aren't allowed to see or name race, so the word "criminal" or "felon" replaces race and becomes a legal form of descrimination. Being a felon makes one a pariah. She talked about her own awakening here and her own prejudice against a particular person with regard to this label, while she was attempting to bring a lawsuit against the Oakland police for "Driving while Black/Brown" stops. Felons often can't get food stamps, public housing, or jobs. The cops get to everyone in the neighborhood. The path to racial justice includes those that we see as guilty. Felon laws keep people from voting in the same way that poll taxes used to. Felons are permanently unemployable. Black families are decimated.

Incarceration quintupled over a 30 year period while crime fluctuated. This was because of the war on drugs. Our stereotype of a drug dealer is of a black person which is not true. Violence is a part of daily life in some communities: why? Because of Joblessness. Work disappeared, Factories closed in black neighborhoods in Chicago. There was no bailout for this, when there could have been. The war on drugs is a backlash to the civil rights movement! Felons can't get food stamps! This was a bipartisan effort --- being tough on crime-- Joblessness is a major predictor of violence. Incarceration does not solve crime. Law enforcement makes major money off the war on drugs. They are allowed to seize assets from people only suspected of drug crimes. Clinton escalated the drug war especially for marijuana.

The Supreme Court has supported all of this, gutting 4th amendment rights (search and seizure), much as they supported Jim Crow laws. She talked about "stop and frisk" actions.

When people get out of prison, they have many obstacles, including having to pay back child support, legal fees, and sometimes having to pay for their incarceration, all while being unemployable and having little to no access to services. This system is designed to send people back to prison. The prison industry employs white people, and private prisons are listed on the NYSE.

We need a Major Social Movement for all poor people of all colors. It needs to be a Human Rights Movement. There should be no discrimination against people released from prison. There should be an underground railroad for these people to help them get back home and get food, shelter, and work. She mentioned the local group "Voices Beyond Bars". We also need to work for the abolition of this system. We need to end the war on drugs. One trillion dollars has been spent on this useless war! We need to shift to a public health model of addiction. We need to shift away from a punitive model of justice and towards a model of restorative justice and rehabilitation. We need to challenge the belief that some people are unworthy: we need to recognize the dignity and humanity of all people!

"Illegal Immigrants" is the same game and we must reject that discourse. We must be a multi-racial and multi-ethnic movement.

Q and A: the questions were mostly inaudible but I took notes on the answers.

MA: the 13th Amendment (which bans slavery) has an exception for prison labor. This is wrong and must be fixed. Work is good, but must be by choice and be paid. Corporations profit in many ways from prisons, and it's a virtual slave system. Book rec: Prison Profiteers.

Audience member: The 11x15 campaign seeks to reduce the prison population in WI to 11,000 by 2015.

Audience member: A woman talked about her son who is in prison. His name is Lawrence Tucker and he is a father. She talked about how dehumanizing prison is. This situation is very hard on her family.

MA: She is a prison abolitionist. Solitary confinement is used here in the states for years on end, and it is torture.

Question from a law student about getting into the field.

MA: Takes courage to get into the system and speak the truth and have compassion. Book rec: Let's Get Free.

Q: inaudible
MA: We need to transition from protest politics to movement building where the message is a critique of the system and energy is sustained over time. We would never have heard about Trayvon Martin if he'd been killed by a police officer, for instance.

Q: Suggestions for multi-ethnic movement building?
MA: Who is already doing the work in your area? Support each other's work.

Q: inaudible
MA: "Tinkering with the machine" isn't the way to go. Aim a larger goal. Have a comprehensive vision and broad picture for your activism. Her example was not to focus on just one narrow issue but when someone asks you about violent offenders, include them too and talk about restorative justice. Don't avoid the question! (As an activist I really appreciated this tip.)

Q: Incomprehensible convoluted question/story/statement which I think might have been about student activity fees?
MA: Very graciously brushed him off.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Thanks to those of you who took the poll and/or left comments! I ended up going with green tone outfit and no hat. Well, I wore a stocking cap because it was a whopping -1 F (-18 C) when I left the house. I had time to comb my hair a bit before the interview. Anyways, the interview went fine.

I watched most of the inauguration the other day. I quite liked it but here is a rhetorical thing that some people have pointed out on Twitter:

Regarding fair pay for women: "Our wives, mothers, and daughters..." This excludes women, making men the rhetorical "we", and also reduces them to roles in relation to men.

Response from Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) on Twitter: "As an experiment, I'm going to start referring to men as "our husbands, fathers and sons." Just to see if anyone finds that a little weird."

Regarding LGBT rights: "Our gay brothers and sisters": Similarly, this excludes gay people by making straight people the "we/our". It also excludes people who are queer but do not ID as gay.

Obviously I'm very happy the president is acknowledging these issues. But here is another way to phrase it which I learned from WisCon activists:

"Those of us who who are gay..." "Those of us who unfairly receive less pay due to the simple fact of being women in society..."

Very. Simple.
sasha_feather: Gaeta from battlestar galactica (Gaeta in blue)
This is emotionally difficult to read but so important!

Disability Voice Lost in Medical Discrimination from Disability Rights Washington.

It talks a lot about the Ashley Treatment, and also cases where life saving treatments were withheld from PWD due to discrimination. The Report centers the experiences of PWD and the social justice model of disability. It is very good reading, very clear and well stated activism.
sasha_feather: rocks arranged in a pattern (pretty rocks)
I went to an activist event tonight that was aimed at queer people interested in anti-racist work. I came in late because I had the time wrong but I took a few notes. The panelists were white allies.

--Being a white ally means showing up, listening, and not having your own agenda. Instead of expecting people to come to you, go to them and ask what they need. One panelist went to a group and sat there for a year and listened before being asked to do anything; during this time she built relationships and trust. Being a white ally involves educating ourselves and other white people. We as a queer rights movement are different than the civil rights movement of the 1960s and we need to recognize that: for white people there is not a history of institutional racism, slavery, etc. The issues we deal with are different.

--Go into uncomfortable spaces and be ready to be challenged. Racism will never end if we only surround ourselves with white people; homophobia and transphobia will never end if we only surround ourselves with queer people. Also, if we encounter homophobia from People of Color, we may have the erroneous tendency to attribute this to their race, whereas we wouldn't do this for white people. Remember that as white people we take our own privilege and racism into such spaces.

--White guilt: It belongs to you; you have no right to ask anyone to forgive you for it. Don't engage with people of color out of a sense of wanting to alleviate white guilt. Don't get stuck in this guilt.

--One panelist mentioned Kentucky Fairness as a queer rights group that has a good record of antiracism.

Questions and Comments:

--How to bring this into schools?
Panelists talked about school boards and parental responsibility. They mentioned drug-sniffing dogs and how that criminalizes students: PoC and queer youth are disporportionally targeted for suspension and expulsion.

--One person in the audience who is Puerto Rican asked about the term "people of color" and brought up a good point about how this is used as an umbrella term. A panelist told about a PoC queer group that did not work-- the people involved needed an African American queer group, a Latino/a queer group, a Hmong queer group, etc. But that is for each group to decide, and is not up to the white people.

--One person asked about how to appeal to the private sector, which only listens to money-based arguments. I said something like, "so make a money argument!" In my own field I would use logic to say that by using diversity initiatives we can appeal to more people and therefore enroll more people in our studies, for instance. We might get certain grants. It's about tailoring your argument to your audience (ie marketing). The moderator said that young people today have a certain expectation of workplaces being diverse and progressive.

We brainstormed in small groups and people said:

--Challenge institutional power. I gave a few examples from WisCon about how the institution has struggled to change in the last few years: the PoC safer space, including more antiracist programming, etc.

--Show up to events where you live that are run by/predominantly attended by people of color.

--You can choose to live in a diverse neighborhood. This should be balanced with a recognition of gentrification. Also be prepared to have certain white people (yes even liberals) say disparaging things about where you live. If you are a person of faith, you can choose to attend services with people of color.
sasha_feather: trinity from The Matrix (trinity)
Or, spirit of the staircase!

I participated today in a free screening for oral and throat cancers. It took 5 minutes and I was feeling uncharacteristically talkative to the people running it. For example I told the woman taking the forms: "You should have check boxes for male, female, and other." (I doubt she took me seriously.)

So after I finished having the screening (the doc looks in your mouth with a flashlight), I was talking a man who was passing out the flyers. He was a friendly middle-aged guy that was sort of easy to talk to. He told me the risk factors for these cancers are tobacco use, alcohol use, and HPV (human pappilloma viruses).

"Well," I said, "Hopefully that will go down because now there is a vaccine." (Gardasil.)

"Or, teens could just have regular sex!" he joked, and laughed. He was referring to the fact that oral sex, ie blow jobs, are a risk factor for HPV causing cancers of the mouth and throat.

"Well, that's not going to happen, they just need to get vaccinated!" I said at the time.

What I wished I had done is either gotten scarily calm, or scarily angry, and scared him into NEVER SAYING THAT AGAIN. It was totally inappropriate for a number of reasons.

1. "Regular sex" is a figment of the imagination that exists in a subset of straight people's minds, and is centered around penis-in-vagina hetero sex. It erases queer sex, oral sex, manual sex, kinky sex, etc etc etc.

2. His so-called "regular sex" still transmits HPV-- to women, who can then get cervical cancer.

3. There was more than a strong whiff of victim-blaming to what he said-- if people get cancer from HPV, it's their fault.

People are such assholes! This guy told me he used to be a study coordinator!

ETA I just occurred to me that this man could have been attempting to flirt with me by making a risque joke about blowjobs. Such a lesbian am I-- I was totally oblivious.
sasha_feather: saucy cowgirl  (cowgirl)
This morning I gave a talk about disability (and queerness) for an intro to LGTBQ studies at [personal profile] cabell's request. My notes are here, plus I talked about Glee some, and we showed part of this YouTube video of a wheelchair ice dancer as a contrast to Artie's fake wheelchair dancing.

The whole talk went really well! That is the most talking I have done all at once since... probably since last WisCon. They asked really good questions and a couple of students gave me movie recommendations. The professor complimented me.

One question: "How do you feel about the term 'differently abled'?"

To which I said: "I'm not really a fan. I think that the X-Men are differently abled."

And they laughed! Yay!

One person asked how my family reacted when I told them I was disabled, to which I had to admit that I don't really talk to my family about disability activism, because they don't seem to get it. I'd rather go talk to strangers about it!

Overall it was easy and fun, would do again.

Now I feel a bit overstimulated and headachey. Time for SimCity. :D
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
For my own references: 101 Disability Links... to be updated

with particular interest in intersectionality re queerness and disability

FWD: Do Disabled People Have Sex?

Questioning Transphobia disability tag

Dave Hingsburger: The Letter (coming out parallels)

links in comments VERY WELCOME.
sasha_feather: Leela from the 5th element (multipass)
Something I want to write about is institutionalized access.

To begin with, there is the social model of disability. People are not disabled by diseases or conditions, but by society and how it is set up. People are disabled by a lack of accessible facilities, by the fast pace of life, by refusals for accommodation, by language, by discrimination.

It is somewhat arbitrary what needs society meets for its citizens and what needs it doesn't meet. For example, most of us reading the internet have electricity and water automatically delivered to our homes. With the flick of a switch or the turn of a tap, we have heat, light, power, and water (both hot and cold). However in order to get food, we have to be able to leave our houses and go get it. (Yes, there are some grocery delivery services, but they are expensive and not widely available.) Some information is easy to find, some is hard to find. Some needs are easy to meet, some are next to impossible. It is easy to go to a store for aspirin; it can be very hard to get a prescription for narcotic painkillers. It is easy to buy a bicycle in any city in America, but to buy a wheelchair? Very difficult. It is relatively easy to get plastic surgery on one's nose, but hard to get more controversial surgeries.

So for disabled people, suddenly the world is a lot harder to navigate because it is not designed for people with disabilities. It is designed for the "default" or unmarked human. This is a practical concern but it also sucks because it is discrimination. But this does not have to be so!

We can institutionalize access and incorporate universal design into our lives and events even in small ways. Language, attitudes, blogging practices, choosing accessible venues, listening to people and prioritizing access.

"Well," you might be saying, "can't people just ask for help? I'd be happy to help out anyone who needed it!"

It turns out that asking for help is HARD. Especially if you have to do it over and over and don't feel like you can give anything back. Especially if you have a communication disorder or social anxiety or something else that is disabling. Requesting or requiring people to ask for help is ok sometimes, but it puts the onus on disabled people. It also requires them to self-identify or "out" themselves as disabled, which for some people with invisible disabilities is not necessarily something they want to do.

[personal profile] jesse_the_k wrote a good post about this, Making Space for Wheelchairs and Scooters.

So instead, why not institutionalize access? Make it part of your venue, part of your event, part of your goals and expectations. Set the standards. Make a place for disabled people. It is the right thing to do.

cut for two images )

I am thinking about cross-posting this to access-fandom, please advise. Comments very much welcome.
sasha_feather: trinity from The Matrix (trinity)
TJ Maxx (a store I like) is taking money for Autism Speaks! At least in my town they are! Please don't give money to Austism Speaks.


Aspitude: Austism Speaks does not speak for me


Also recommended: Hulu is running scare tactic ads for the HPV vaccine. As you may know I fully support the vaccine, but the ads are horrible.

[personal profile] cabell: Are you fucking kidding me, pharmaceutical companies?
mirrored at LJ: Are you fucking kidding me, pharmaceutical companies?


sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

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