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Loree Erickson is a poly, queer, femmegimp porn star academic in a doctoral program at York University in Toronto. She is the creator of want, an internationally award-winning porn film, and a community organizer. She loves travelling to lecture, making queercrip porn, and facilitating workshops on a variety of topics including collective care, disability justice/radical disability politics, and all things related to sex and disability. She is also a fan of sun, sparkly things, and social justice . Her website is femmegimp.org. I ’d like to tell you a story, which, as it turns out, is in fact at least three related stories. 1. Everyday Moments Can Say a Lot One day, which really could be any day, I left my house in a rather good mood. I had found a lovely patch of sunshine to sit in while I waited for the bus. Soon I was joined by another bus rider who stood about four or five feet away from me. In a minute or two, another person passed by with no real difficulty, but found it necessary to grumble at me while passing that I “should have parked [my] car” (more appropriately called a wheelchair) elsewhere as I was blocking the sidewalk. I wasn’t blocking anything. The person who was waiting with me was shocked that this other person had made such a rude, ableist comment. I was not surprised. Nor was I surprised by the message behind his words, which was: You are in the way. You and “your car” are taking up too much space. I just let it go and waited. I was relieved when the bus that arrived moments later was accessible, and was a bit surprised when the other person waiting stepped to the side to allow me on, rather than rushing/ pushing past me—as many people tend to do, making the bus more difficult to navigate. As I waited for the driver to ready the bus, the person who had been waiting with me looked at the step of the bus and then to my power Out of Line: The Sexy Femmegimp Politics of Flaunting It! Loree Erickson wheelchair and asked if I needed help. I simply replied that the bus has a ramp. Behind this sort of well-intentioned query is the ever-present assumption that I am in need of help. I also get this when I am sitting somewhere waiting to meet a friend. People just come up to me and ask if I am okay. As the bus pulled away, I was thinking about how back-toback these moments were when I heard a loud shrill voice from the back of the bus exclaim, “You’re amazing!” I froze. “The way you just whipped that little cart of yours right in that spot.” I ignored it, too tired after three ableist encounters in ten minutes to offer any witty comebacks in response, and too angry to feel like educating anyone. These three encounters are not isolated or individual experiences. Sadly, they are common and systemic. These three moments only tell us some of what disability means, how it appears, and how it is done. Disabilities, and many associated experiences, are often reduced to essentialized biomedical limitations or malfunctions of certain bodies. Disability can more accurately be described as a process enacted through social relations. Though the term disability appears to describe bodies and how they act/move/inhabit/sense/think/exist/communicate, the label carries the weight of how these bodies are deemed inferior to other bodies through illusory, arbitrary, and compulsory social and economic standards designed to enable certain ways of being over others. Disability is a complex , intersectional, cultural, and fluid constellation of experiences and constructs. While this is my story of systemic ableism, it is not—and could not be—every story of systemic ableism. My story is reliant on my particular embodiment and cultural context, which includes, but is not limited to, physical disability, whiteness, with a high level of education. As a thirtyfour -year-old queer femmegimp who lives below the poverty line, I am marked by a unique interplay of identities.1 Disability never appears in isolation; it is always interrelated with other marginalities and privileges. Systemic ableism manifests based on other marginalities and privileges (race, other experiences of disability, class, gender, and beyond). The encounters in the story above tell something about how people make sense of my body: both the anxieties they project onto it and...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781558618190
Related ISBN
9781558618183
MARC Record
OCLC
828140733
Pages
432
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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