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social sciences

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Disability Issues  
page: 1  2  

Disability Activists

However, many queers with disabilities have refused to remain silent. They have formed support networks, created publications, and become part of a larger radical disabled rights movement, demanding respect, independence, and accommodation from their own community as well as the larger society.

For example, queers are active in Not Dead Yet, a militant disabled rights group that opposes the assisted suicide movement because it devalues the lives of those with disabilities. Groups such as Blind Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, and Transgender People (BFLAG) and the Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf offer support and connection for queers with particular disabilities.

Sponsor Message.

In queer communities everywhere strong disabled activists work in many different ways to counter ableist attitudes and promote inclusivity. In Montreal, for example, activists have raised awareness about queers with disabilities by confronting the lack of accessibility in such venues as Image and Nation, the Montreal gay and lesbian film festival, and l'Androgyne, the city's queer bookstore.

In 1996, Sergeant Sharon Fitzpatrick Smith founded the Lesbian Disabled Veterans of America, which later became the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Disabled Veterans of America. Another activist, Peter Little founded San Francisco Gay Amputees in 2006.

Disabled gay performance artist Greg Walloch puts an elfishly raunchy face on disability issues in his sharply satiric comic act. Walloch's life and work are the subject of a 2001 film by Eli Kabillio: Keeping it Real: The Adventures of Greg Walloch.

Queer disability activists have also started publications to offer support and a public voice to those who have long been isolated and invisible within the glbtq community. San Francisco's Dragonsani Renteria, a Deaf queer trans activist has been instrumental in the formation of the National Deaf Queer Resource Center and Flash, a webzine for Deaf queers which began publication in 1994. Bent: A Journal of Cripgay Voices is a bi-monthly ezine "by and for cripgay men." The journal, founded in 1999 by Bob Guter, celebrates the full lives of gay men with disabilities, including news, community, and sexuality.

In addition, listserves abound where glbtq people with a wide range of disabilities can share their experiences with others who are coping with similar problems and where caregivers and allies of the disabled can also find information and support.

Tina Gianoulis

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social sciences >> Overview:  AIDS Activism

In the United States, glbtq people have played an integral and often leading role in AIDS activism, greatly influencing AIDS treatment and advocacy.

social sciences >> Overview:  Deaf Culture

Members of the Deaf community, which defines deafness not as a disability but as a separate culture with its own vibrant vernacular, have organized an international support network of glbtq Deaf people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Seniors' Resources

As the aging population has grown, more organizations have emerged that are dedicated to providing much-needed services and information, along with socialization and activism opportunities, to glbtq senior citizens.

social sciences >> Overview:  Stereotypes

Stereotypes usually include inaccurate and negative assumptions about groups, thus contributing to racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia.

literature >> Kanga, Firdaus

Indian writer Firdaus Kanga has explored the intersection of two kinds of marginality: that based on being a member of a sexual minority and that based on being a disabled person.

social sciences >> Kowalski, Sharon (b. 1956) and Karen Thompson (b. 1947)

The plight of Thompson and Kowalski brought into sharp focus an issue that many able-bodied gay men and lesbians had never considered: the importance of giving legal status to their chosen families.


"Advocate Poll: Survey of Treatment of Disabled People in Gay and Lesbian Community." The Advocate (December 19, 2000): 6. 

Brownworth, Victoria A., and Susan Raffo, eds. Restricted Access: Lesbians on Disability. Emeryville, Calif.: Seal Press, 1999.

Clare, Eli. Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 1999.

Fries, Kenny. "Comedy is Not a Crutch." The Advocate (December 4, 2001):.64-66.

Guter, Bob, and John R. Killacky, eds. Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories. New York, Harrington Park Press, 2004.

Hays, Matthew, "Nora Rae." The Montreal Mirror (August 2, 2001):

Johnson, Harriet McBryde. "Unspeakable Conversations, Or How I Spent One Day as a Token Cripple at Princeton University." New York Times Magazine (February 16, 2003): 50-59.

Quittner, Jeremy. "Insurance Insecurity." The Advocate (August 31, 2004): 42-45.

McRuer, Robert. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

_____, and Abby L. Wilkerson, eds. "Desiring Disability 2003: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 9.1-2 (2003).


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Disability Issues  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated March 5, 2010  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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