I want to share an excellent article on The Establishment by Alex Lu called I’m Not Going to be Nice About Ableism. Alex talks about the experience of going through college and grad school as a person who is deaf, and how the criticism that activists must be kind and patient in order to effect change is both BS and dangerous. Feel free to apply these ideas to activists of all stripes. Here’s a preview, but click through to read the entire thing:
The phrase [change hearts and minds] has become associated with a very narrow rhetorical strategy that demands that people sit down with those most hateful and violent toward them, and patiently explain their humanity, taking great pains to neuter their language surrounding any concepts that may provoke defensiveness, like “privilege” or “racism.” Moreover, it contends that making minorities look sympathetic to the majority is the only worthy goal: Outcomes like building community, showing solidarity, or disrupting harmful institutional actions are ignored.
Today I want to share a Longform article by Alex DiFrancesco called How to Disappear. They write about their experience with disappearing in the midst of a mental break. Speaking about hearing the story of a girl who left her life behind, and the differences between how her disappearance was treated in comparison to their own, they say:
When I saw Kidd’s story, I thought of all the resources that had gone into her “case,” and all of those of us who really were lost, unhealthy, and scared, who were given little to no help.
DiFrancesco also gives us a peek into their journey to self acceptance. Here’s a snippet from the part that I resonated with, as having someone love me has helped me find my true self:
Having someone understand me, love me, and support my gender identity let me be the person that I’d been hiding from myself, the too much and too far that some of the people who had said they’d loved me all my life couldn’t allow. Some people did look at the real me and judge me as unlovable. Others adapted, learned, embraced.
Beyond the cis-gendered privilege many of us experience, DiFrancesco also touches on class and family support privilege. Please click through and read her entire story.
Content Warning: violence against women, child abuse
artist: Thiviyaa Sehasothy
12 in. x 12 in.
acrylic on canvas
From the artist: This collaboration was the result of a complete domino effect that all started with an organization, ‘ANBU‘ (Abuse Never Becomes Us). ANBU does important work focused on childhood sexual abuse. They are abolishing the taboo and stigma associated with abuse and the effect of abuse growing rampant within the Tamil community, as it is in many others.
I am so excited to share this painting and collaboration between artist Thiviyaa Sehasothy, poet Manivillie Kanagasabapathy, and photographer Dilani Bala with you. Click through to read more about the process and cause on Thiviyaa’s website! Links to all three collaborators’ social media can be found below or on the contributor page. Please click through and follow their work. It is both beautiful and important.
Artist & painter, Thiviyaa Sehasothy is the hand behind ‘Art By Thiviyaa’ in Toronto. Her paintings have bold & heavy brushstrokes, bright colours and are greatly influenced by her experiences, travels and the world around her. She creates painting to not just capture a mere moment, but instead the experience of fluidity, emotions and movement through time. An evolving narrative. See her portfolio on her website, and on Instagram & Facebook.
A Toronto based poet, Manivillie Kanagasabapathy draws inspiration from everyday moments. Finding her way back to poetry, Manivillie completed a poem a day challenge in 2016, where she successfully wrote 366 poems. Check out her poems on her website, Instagram, or follow her on Facebook.
Dilani Bala is a Tamil-Canadian visual artist with a passion to study the human condition through portraiture. Check out her work on Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram.
She shares about her work with the group Enhance the UK. They provide resources and support for disabled individuals and their loved ones as they seek out a full and sexual life. Emily co-runs a discussion/advice board for any and all questions individuals have in regards to sex and relationships.
Emily talks about asking the right questions, accessibility, and care and how those concerns intersect with sex and sexuality for the disabled.
Please click through to listen to the entire talk!
Today in checking our privilege, I want to talk about how representation matters.
Reading from scriptures* was off-and-on a near-daily experience in my formative years. (*for us that meant the Book of Mormon, the King James Bible, and some other LDS sacred texts) We read about the old Mormon prophets: Nephi, Mormon, Abinadi – their heroic and daring and unwavering faith. We read about the old testament prophets: Jacob and Abraham and Noah – their (blind) (come on, even as a child the old testament was messed up) obedience and… actually, I never got much out of those stories. And we read the new testament, the gospels mostly, and Jesus was the ultimate self-sacrificing hero there. And in my middle-child, people-pleasing way I tried very hard to be the best Mormon girl I could be, holding these men up as the epitome of devotion to God.
And then I read a version of the first chapter of the Book of Mormon with gender-swapped people and pronouns. I must’ve been at least 20, probably older, and suddenly a floor fell out from under me. I found myself crying, sobbing really. My whole life I had been missing something and I never even had been able to recognize it. I wanted to be able to see me in the stories I had been taught from birth. I wanted to be able to see me in our heroes. I didn’t know I needed it, not consciously, until it was given to me. Continue reading “It’s Monday! and Representation Matters”→
Today is Mother’s Day in the United States, along with many other countries in the world. A day to celebrate your mom, if you have one, to be celebrated, if you are one, to read horrible platitudes about how all women are mother’s, and to avoid your local grocery store due to last minute flower sells.
Honestly, I don’t mind Mother’s Day. I love my mom, I love my kids, and I like celebrating things because I need very little reason to eat dessert, but I also recognize that it’s a painful day for many.
So today, I want to remember the historical roots of Mother’s Day, and think about the implications of how we could be celebrating this day. Mother’s Day in the United States was born out Ann Reeves Jarvis’ efforts at activism for women in the mid 19th century, and morphed into a day to promote peace after the Civil War. What better way to honor mothers than to stop taking their sons and daughters and killing them in war?
There have been many critiques of the way that the armed forces in the US recruit our sons and daughters. The majority of recruits come from rural, depressed areas, from families that live below the poverty level. It is concerning that D.C. is still overwhelmingly white, male, and upper-class, and these men are sending our poor, vulnerable, at-risk kids to war to die for… well, that’s a topic for another day. (Spoiler alert: money.) The way these issues intersect with race is particularly troubling – the promise of money and college and future to fight “for” a country that does not treat you as equal at home.
Click through to the links to read more, and remember this Mother’s Day that less war is a gift mom’s all over the world can appreciate. (and the impeachment of the orange menace)
It’s Wednesday! Let’s hear from some new voices today.
Poetry International has posted a lovely conversation between poets spanning the globe discussing the topic of borders. Click through to read it all, but here is a glimpse, from Alfonso Garcia Cortez:
The word “border” refers to the numerous separations or boundaries which reality presents: economic, religious, cultural, legal borders; but it’s also true that the body itself is a border. Language is a border. Reality is a border. Imagination is a border..
To live on the border is to carry all of that on one’s back, sometimes without being aware of it.
There is the constant presence of the “other” in the landscape: the “bordo,” the helicopters of the “migra,” the traffic inching up to the “línea,” the bilingual billboards and signs, as well as migrants and immigrants, the repatriated and the expats, the foreigners and tourists, and the family members who live on the other side, “al otro lado.”
I believe that we constantly cross borders.
Expressing ourselves is a form of crossing the body’s border.
Leaving one’s home is in itself a border crossing towards the uncertainty of the city.
We exit from ourselves, from what we associate as ours, towards a different place.
Thus, the border is then revealed as something that is not rigid at all, not as simple as a wall.
Rather, it’s flexible and porous, an exchange of glances, a game of mirrors.