Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility — San Francisco, CA

Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility

April 8-10, 2011

Z Space (formerly Theater Artaud)
450 Florida St.
San Francisco, CA

Sins Invalid is a performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized.  Sins Invalid celebrates the power of embodiment & sexuality, stripping taboos off sexuality and disability to offer a vision of beauty that includes all bodies and communities.

Knotting Stories Over Time and Geography is best captured in the words of artist performer Aurora Levins Morales:

“Our history is in our bodies—what we do to breathe, how we move, the sounds we make, our myriad shapes, our wild gestures, far outside the boundaries of what’s expected, the knowledge bound into our bones, our trembling muscles, our laboring lungs—like secret seeds tied into the hair of our stolen ancestors, we carry it everywhere.  Our stories erupt in the dances we invent, in the pleasure rubbed from our bodies like medicine from crushed leaves, spicy, astringent, sweet… Listen with your body. Let your body speak.”

2011 artists include:
Aurora Levins Morales
Antoine Hunter
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Ellery Russian
Nomy Lamm
Alex Cafarelli
Juba Kalamka
Leroy F. Moore Jr.
Patty Berne
Todd Herman
seeley quest
Maria Palacios
Ralph Dickinson
Ryon Gesink

To celebrate the 5th anniversary, we are offering a visual art installation of the same theme in the lobby!

8pm Friday April 8th, 2011
8pm Saturday April 9th, 2011 (Audio Described; ASL interpreted by Stage Hands)
7pm Sunday April 10th, 2011

Tickets are $16 – $25, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Tickets are selling – buy your soon! (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/157288)

The venue is wheelchair accessible.  In solidarity with loved ones and community members who are chemically injured and would like to attend the show, please refrain from using perfume, cologne and other scented products.  Although we cannot guarantee a completely scent-free space, there will be scent free seating all three performances.

Supported by the generosity of the Aepoch Fund, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Community Foundation (Boulder), the Carpenter Foundation, the Horizons Foundation, and the Left Tilt Fund.

Conceived and led by disabled people of color, we develop and present performance work where normative paradigms of “sexy” are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all individuals and communities.

Sins Invalid recognizes that we will be liberated as whole beings  as disabled/as queer/as brown/as black/as genderqueer/as female or male bodied  as we are far greater whole than partitioned.  We recognize that our allies emerge from many communities and that demographic identity alone does not determine ones commitment to liberation.

Sins Invalid believes in social and economic justice for all people with disabilities  in lockdowns, in shelters, on the streets, visibly disabled, invisibly disabled, sensory minority, environmentally injured, psychiatric survivors  moving beyond individual legal rights to collective human rights.

Our stories, imbedded in analysis, offer paths from identity politics to unity amongst all oppressed people, laying a foundation for a collective claim of liberation and beauty.

Please Note: Show contains explicit content

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Call for submissions: Online and printed zine about dealing with body/hair/size/fat phobia for and by Indigenous peoples and people of color

**PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY**

Call for submissions: Online and printed zine about dealing with body/hair/size/fat phobia for and by Indigenous peoples and people of colour.

Title: To be decided/announced.

Deadline: February 28th 2011

For far too long, I’ve have been made to always question my body. Always made to feel like if I waxed my sideburns/shaved my legs/signed up for weightwatchers/stopped eating so much roti, that I would live up to the potential of how beautiful I could be. I have learnt that these issues not only represent a complex fear of hair or fat, but is also emblematic of what my body represents as a queer brown body, constantly threatening whiteness, conformity and concepts of beauty that idealize skinny, hairless, colonized white bodies; among many other things. The internalized hate and racism that our communities and peoples have is destroying us, forcing us to dislike and alter our bodies, putting it through further violence and trauma.

As I have been attempting to work through this, I have had the honour of meeting so many beautiful Indigenous people and people of colour who constantly work hard at breaking down these ideas, who survive, love themselves and each other everyday for who they are. We need to share our struggles and triumphs; we need to know we aren’t alone in this. There are many people who have stories, facts, advice and successes on these issues to share with others.

For these reasons and more, with consultation from many over the past two years, I want to put together this zine for Indigenous people and people of colour to share, read, write, listen, learn, realize, question and start a path to working towards realizing how sexy and beautiful we already are.

Who? Self-identified Indigenous peoples and people of colour*, mixed race people* who have something to say about fat/size/hair/body image shit. (I’m talking about size, hair (both body and on your head) and anything else that affects your body/self love/ability to love others.

What? Submit art, writing, prose, poetry, essays, collages, lyrics, photos, stuff you’ve created that can be put in a zine (online) and photocopied to give out in printed copies.

Why? We need to address size/fat/hair phobia and our bodies, colonization, histories and provide resources and support for each other.

How? Please send all submissions to thisisourzine@gmail.com with SUBMISSION as the subject. If it can’t be emailed, email us and we will figure out a way to get your work submitted.

*= it’s important to remember how complex categories of race, sexuality, gender and identity are, and when I say self-identified Indigenous people and people of colour and mixed race people, I mean that if you identify as a person of colour or Indigenous person, but may not necessarily present phenotypically as a person of colour, we want you to submit to the zine.

Obviously we all have different experiences/understandings of how race, body image, sexuality, gender, ability, class, eating disorders, geography, status, etc. etc. come together and shape how we understand these issues, which will be an important string throughout this zine.

About me:

You are probably wondering: ‘who is this random person wanting me to share my work with them?’ Good question. My name is Aruna, I am a 23 year old fat brown woman identified first generation settler that is living on the occupied lands of the Mississauga’s of New Credit. I went to Queen’s University in Kingston, but am now back living with my parents in Scarborough; and this is my first zine ever, and think that this topic is incredibly important and something that people need to start talking about with each other. I’m not claiming ownership over this and want this to be a collective/loving/healing process with everyone involved. I have a lot of issues around my weight and in the process of trying to look for something to comfort and help me work through my shit, I never found anything useful. I think a project like this, if done properly will be useful to lots of people in a similar situation.

Remember! Deadline is February 28th 2011, all submissions and inquiries about submissions should be relayed to thisisourzine@gmail.com.

In your submission, please include:

-       Your name (or name you want to be published)

-       RELIABLE Contact information (in case we need to talk to you about your work)

-       A brief (50-100 word) bio or description of who you are/what you do, etc. (if you want to include it)

-       Please make sure all attachments are either in PDF, JPEG, Word, RTF, BMP or any other compatible program.

-       Your piece/submission should be in an attachment, not copy/pasted into the email. (If you have trouble with attachments, email us for help!)

Want to submit? Get involved in the planning/making of the zine?

Wanna start a larger group out of this?

Got concerns, questions, etc?

Email me at thisisourzine@gmail.com to talk and if you’d like to get involved.

Here are some points to get you thinking about the issues I feel could be repped in this zine. A couple of points have been borrowed from another callout for ‘Occupied bodies’ by Tasha Fierce that I felt was relevant to our zine.

These are merely some starting questions, submissions should in no way feel limited to this:

-       How do you embrace/love your body?

-       What tips do you have to lessen the blows from people who hate on your fat/hair/self

-       How is loving your body an act of sovereignty or decolonization (if at all)?

-       Has your self-esteem/dislike of your body hurt your sex life? How does it stop you from exploring yourself or new partners because of fear of rejection?

-       How does being mixed race affect your body image and how you see yourself? How are you excluded from these discussions because of being mixed race?

-       Does the hair and fat phobic ways of the porn industry make you angry?

-       What images of yourself were instilled in you by your parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child?

-       If you’re queer or two-spirit, how has being two-spirit or queer of color affected your self-image and how you desire your partner to look?

-       How has your gender (whatever that may be) affected how you understand your body, or how you have been forced to see your body?

-       If you’ve had partners who were also Indigenous or of colour, did/do you gaze upon them with the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?

-       Have you ever worried that your choice of partners reflected negative understandings of your own bodies/self?

-       If you’re a Trans people of colour or Indigenous person, how was your perception of your gender identity shaped? How has your self/body image changed over the years and have there been any other shifts in your thinking about your self/body image?

-       How has ability and access affected your image? Affected how you love yourself?

-       What positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that image?

-       How has your body image/size phobia issues been treated in the medical field? How has mental health played a part in it?

-       What connections do you see between colonialism and your body?

-       If you weren’t born on or feel connection to Turtle Island/occupied lands that we call ‘North America’, how has the place you came from/identify with determined your ideas around your body?

-       How did the media you consumed as a child/teen shape your body/self image today? How does it complicate it? How does the media you consume NOW affect your body/self image?

-       How did pressure from family and friends affect the way you perceived yourself after you were old enough to take care of yourself?

-       How did you feel about societal beauty and body standards as a teen? Did you rebel, or conform by any means necessary to avoid confrontation?

-       How has the globalization and dissemination of the Western beauty ideal affected you and Indigenous peoples/people of colour worldwide?

-       Debunk this: “in some cultures they ______”, – deconstructing a commonly held belief about an ethnic group’s relation to body (such as the black community supposedly being OK with fat).

The list goes on and on and is by no means complete…email us for more help if needed.

For more info, write to thisisourzine@gmail.com or check out the original call for submissions, found here.

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Language & Action – 8/21/10

Language & Action spotlights analysis, news, & performance from around the blogosphere that shine a light on critical ideas and action addressing violence against women of color.  Check out the findings for our second installment below!  Plus, woo hoo, thanks for the submissions!  Keep em coming!  If you have suggestions for things to include, please send us an e-mail at incite.news@gmail.com or float it in the comment section…

***

Race, beauty, disability, and symbolism:

Wheelchair Dancer discusses the tension between beauty politics, disability, and the use of a photograph of a woman as an argument for waging war.  She analyzes the recent TIME cover photo of Aisha, a young Afghan woman:

Regardless of how disability plays out in Aisha’s world, the vast majority of readers of TIME live in a culture that understands disability as tragedy. As shocking. As among the worst things that can happen to you (bar death). Mainstream American culture thinks it knows disability and knows how to read it. Ms. Bieber has a history of photographing disabled bodies (there’s an image of a wheelchair user in this video of her “Real Beauty” pictures). But the work she does in the Real Beauty series does not come through in this photograph — perhaps because of the context and placement of the image. Here she (and or the editor) uses Aisha’s disability to trade upon the readership’s sympathies and their horror: this and other unknown kinds of disability are a direct result of the US departure from Afghanistan. This is not about Aisha; it’s about the message of the article.

That women’s rights will be at risk, should the US leave Afghanistan is really not a debatable issue. In fact, looking at Aisha’s story, it seems pretty clear that women’s rights are at risk even while the US is in Afghanistan. So why does the story need Aisha’s disability?

***

Legislation to address violence against Native women is signed:

On the Ms. blog, Native feminists without apology, Jessica Yee & Sarah Deer, discuss the recent passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act, which addresses violence against Native Women:

JY: What is the most important part of this bill for people to know about?

That it requires Indian Health Service (IHS) to train their employees on how to respond to rape. That, to me, is huge. The experiences of Native women at IHS when they are raped or sexually assaulted are horrible, and for IHS not to know what to say or do in these instances is unconscionable. The bill now requires them to go on record with policy and procedure–and if that is the only thing that the bill accomplishes, we can be glad for that.

JY: Is there anything you would change about the bill?

SD: I’m always concerned about “law and order” language. It certainly doesn’t protect or help white women, so it’s not going to help Native women. We have to make sure that the systems we set up are Native women-centered.

I wish the bill had language overturning the destructive 1978 Oliphant decision, which concluded that tribal courts do not have jurisdiction over non-Indians. It’s not acceptable to have a non-Native person to come into the tribe and not be held accountable by the tribe.

JY: A thing that somewhat troubles me about the bill is a lot on criminalization and penalization. I’m a prison abolitionist in many senses and I’m very aware of how many Indigenous people are in the criminal justice system unfairly; but more importantly, that these entire systems are not our laws and not our systems.

SD: I agree with you 100 percent. You have to constantly challenge the idea that the Western criminalization system is the answer–it’s actually the cause of our problems. It’s difficult for people to understand that in order to change this, we have to give back sovereignty to tribes.

I’m so pleased that we are now collectively trying to keep things safer in our own communities–we don’t have to replicate white law and order.

***

Economic justice in LGBT movement building

In an interview with Harmony Goldberg at Organizing Upgrade, FIERCE Executive Director Rickke Mananzala describes the future of LGBT organizing that includes an emphasis on coalition building for economic justice:

There are pockets of left and progressive LGBT groups that are trying to advance demands outside of the mainstream movement, like the Audre Lorde Project (ALP), Southerners on New Ground (SONG), the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and FIERCE.  Many of these groups are part of a newly formed national alliance of progressive LGBT organizations – the Roots Coalition – that is trying to figure out how to take advantage of these openings. We are trying to figure out what opportunities exist for more progressive national fights. We are looking at both the mainstream issues that are already on the table that we might be able to win immediately and new issues that will push the LGBT movement to the left.

We are doing that by intentionally choosing issues that have an LGBT lens and that – if won – will also impact many other communities. In particular, we are looking to build a stronger bridge between fights focused on LGBT issues with those that are focused on racial and economic justice.  An example of a fight we could consider taking up is the struggle around the impending reauthorization of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), specifically challenging the expansion of the marriage promotion programs that Obama has been pushing.  The current economic crisis has increased the need for welfare programs, but the marriage promotion requirements and strict definitions of family present structural barriers that limit LGBT families’ abilities to access the resources they need to survive.

***

A couple of exciting calls for submissions:

Call for submissions: Deconstructing the academic industrial complex of feminism – Feminist education now: youth, activism, and intersectionality:

I’m really interested in talking about the intersectionality of feminist education and breaking down the barriers of what constitutes “education”, where that might be, and according to whom. Education does not have to solely be within a school or school-type setting – if it happened on the street, in your kitchen, if it’s not happening at all, if you want it to happen some particular place – I want to hear about it.

Deadline is September 10, 2010.  Contact Jessica Yee at jessica.j.yee@gmail.com for more info.

Call for Submissions on Addiction & Recovery:  Substance: On Addiction and Recovery is a collection of peoples’ experiences with addiction and recovery in radical and/or marginalized communities.

In addition to pieces by individuals, I’d like to include a few pieces about the work that community-based groups have done to address the politics of addiction and recovery and to support those dealing with substance abuse. If you are a member of such a group, please feel free to write.

Deadline is March 7, 2011.  Contact Emily at substancebook at gmail dot com for more information.

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Language & Action

Language & Action is a new weekend feature where we spotlight some of the fantastic analysis, news, & performance from around the blogosphere that shine a light on critical ideas and action addressing violence against women of color.  The title is borrowed from Audre Lorde’s brilliant 1977 talk, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.”

If you have suggestions for things to include, please send us an e-mail at incite.news@gmail.com or float it in the comment section!

***

YWEP gathering info about Bad Encounters:

Young Women’s Empowerment Project (YWEP) is collecting important info from youth in Chicago who have had crappy encounters with social services, hospitals, police, shelters, etc:

Are you having a bad experience getting help from a social service, police, hospital, shelter or some where else? Do you think this is because you are involved in the sex trade, homeless or Lesbian Gay Bisexual or Transgender or another reason- like using drugs or being involved in the street economy?

If you want to report this bad experience and help other youth in your community
CLICK HERE

Spread the word!!!

For more information about this project, check out this page.

***

Juarez-inspired makeup?

Companies use Juarez as inspiration for makeup:

Julianne Hing at Colorlines has a great write-up on MAC and Rodarte’s new cosmetic line that was inspired by the makeup designers’ trip to Juarez, Mexico, a town that has seen thousands of women murdered or disappeared.  She writes:

It seems the designers took a recent trip to the border, checking out towns from El Paso to Marfa, Texas. They came back with a fascination with Juarez in particular, and with life in the post-NAFTA maquilas that were set up to help the city become a free-trade zone. When designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy unveiled their ready-to-wear F/W 2010 in February, they said that they had been inspired by the lines of women workers who’d make their way to factory jobs in the middle of the night. Romantic, huh?

Of course, real life in Juarez, which has the distinction of being the world’s deadliest city, is much less so. By the end of July, Juarez is set to log 6,000 murders this year alone. The city is home to hundreds of factories owned by multinational corporations, and has become a bloody warzone where Mexico’s drug wars are being fought. For the last few years the violence has resulted in so many thousands of unsolved deaths, many of those killed have been women workers who were traveling to and from their jobs in Juarez’s factories.

The story includes the companies’ apologies and Hing follows up with an interview with beauty bloggers who broke this story.

***

African women and children denied housing rights and brutally attacked by police in Paris:

After watching this horrific video of African immigrant women and children being brutally attacked by police in Paris because they were negotiating for housing rights, La Macha at VivirLatino discusses the level of violence the state is willing to inflict on immigrant women and children in order to protect its borders.  She writes:

Are the protection of borders worth this? And please don’t tell me that this was the mother’s fault. I know that all the anti-immigrant people will be here soon to tell me that it’s their fault, and I can handle that. But if any supposed “ally” says “what were they thinking?” I have a few suggestions. First, sit for a moment and open yourself up to the humanity of these women and the humanity of their children. Know what it feels like to feel terror and confusion and a fear you can’t breathe through. Then take a moment to consider that even when the government offers you something, you, a black immigrant mother that may or may not be legal, may actually have considerable reason to not trust that government.

***

Intersectional analysis of Israeli “rape by deception” case:

brownfemipower at Flip Flopping Joy analyzes the recent Israeli case in which a Palestinian man was accused and found guilty of “rape by deception” after having sex with a Jewish woman who thought he was also Jewish.  She asks, “What vested interest does an apartheid regime have in criminalizing sex between classes?” and writes:

When we don’t understand that a woman’s body under such a system is *contested* and even often looked at as a *resource* for the nation/state, we stand a very good chance of grossly misunderstanding what particular situations mean.

***

Frida Kahlo: “The broken column (self-portrait)”

Recognizing each other as queer disabled women of color:

In tribute to Frida Kahlo, Mia Mingus at Leaving Evidence reflects on the power of recognition among queer disabled women of color.  She writes:

And even when we are visible as disabled queer women of color, sometimes we don’t even recognize each other.  We don’t recognize each other because we’re not taught how to do it; because we’re taught how to be afraid of each other.  Because we are taught how to not recognize each other more readily than we are taught how to find each other.  Where are we? How do we find each other? And how do we do the work to recognize each other and to be recognizable to each other?  Sometimes, as is so often the case with queerness (and disability), I see you, but I don’t know if you see me.  I feel this acutely with adoptees.  We share space together, but often times we don’t know how to recognize each other.  We look right through one another, or avoid each other as if we were taught some kind of secret script.

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Call for Submissions: Occupied Bodies: Women of Color Speak on Self-Image

Below is a call for submissions from Tasha Fierce at Red Vinyl Shoes:

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – Occupied Bodies: Women of Color Speak on Self-Image
Deadline October 15, 2010

I am soliciting essays for an anthology on women of color’s self-image/body image as shaped by family, friends, media, society, history, lived experiences, etc. I’m looking for smart, accessible, and snappy personal narratives that also offer nuanced analysis of the underlying constructs that affect how we perceive ourselves. Exploring intersectionality of identities is extremely important. I particularly want the voices of women of color that are not often heard to be represented, such as trans* WOC, disabled WOC, queer WOC, WOC outside the U.S., WOC with eating disorders, working class/poor WOC and fat WOC. Of course, all the varied perspectives any woman of color can offer are welcome.

This is an exciting project, as this topic has not been explored in depth and including such a diverse collection of viewpoints before. The final manuscript will be submitted to relevant independent publishers.

——
Some possible jumping off points include, but are not limited to:

  • What images of yourself were instilled in you by your parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child? What positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that image?
  • If you were born in a country other than the U.S. and then immigrated to the U.S., how did the society in which you were born play a role in your developing self-image, and what contrasts did you find difficult to navigate between the two societies?
  • How did the media you consumed as a child/teen shape your body/self image today? How does it complicate it? How does the media you consume NOW affect your body/self image?
  • How did pressure from family and friends affect the way you perceived yourself after you were old enough to take care of yourself?
  • How did you feel about societal beauty and body standards as a teen? Did you rebel, or conform by any means necessary to avoid confrontation?
  • How has the globalization and dissemination of the Western beauty ideal affected you and women of color worldwide?
  • Debunk this: “in some cultures they ______”, – deconstructing a commonly held belief about an ethnic group’s relation to body (such as the black community supposedly being OK with fat).
  • If you’re queer, how has being a queer woman of color affected your self-image and how you desire your partner to look? If you’ve had partners who were also women of color, did/do you gaze upon them with the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?
  • If you’re a trans* WOC, how was your perception of your gender identity shaped? How has your self/body image changed over the years and have there been any other shifts in your thinking about your self/body image? How does being a WOC interact with your trans* identity? How does it affect how other people perceive you and your gender?
  • How has being a disabled WOC affected your body/self image? Do you feel it’s a detriment or a positive part of your person? How did you come to terms with your disability, or has it never been problematic for you?
  • As a fat WOC, has weight shaped your self/body image your whole life? Have you developed an eating disorder? Was it exacerbated by there being virtually no resources for women of color, especially for fat WOC?
  • Are you a sexual assault/rape survivor? How did that trauma affect your view of yourself?

——-
If your experiences overlap on any of the suggested jumping off points, PLEASE feel free to explore that.

Guidelines:

  • Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010;
  • Submissions should be saved in Word format or Rich Text, double spaced, size 12 Arial or Times New Roman;
  • 500 to 5,000 words;
  • Include RELIABLE contact information and a brief biography;
  • Only e-mail submissions will be accepted, however, if you can’t arrange that please contact me and we’ll work something out.
  • Send submissions to: occupiedbodies@gmail.com;
  • Again, the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010.

Who I Am:
The woman spearheading this project is Tasha Fierce, a freelance writer who also happens to be a fat, queer, disabled woman of color. I’ve written about race politics, fat acceptance, disability and feminism in several zines, including Evolution of a Race Riot and the zine I edited from 1998-2001, Bitchcore. I have contributed to Jezebel several times, the fat acceptance blog Shapely Prose, the race & pop culture blog Racialicious, and the feminist disability activism blog FWD/Forward. My work has also been featured in The Huffington Post. I live, love and write in Los Angeles, California. You can regularly read me at my own blog, Red Vinyl Shoes (http://redvinylshoes.com/blog) and on Twitter as @redvinylshoes.

A PDF copy of this call for submissions can be found here.

Donations are greatly appreciated. All donations will only be used to cover costs and time spent getting the anthology to print. Please go to this page to donate.

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