Scent-reduction can’t be just an option, a preference; it’s got to be a practice.

When scent-reduction of events and spaces is framed as an option, a “please”, a “we’ll try to”, a “preference”, with few-to-no clear boundaries or outcomes if folks do arrive scented, that doesn’t create the necessary container required for an accessible space. i go through the world assuming that chemical scents are going to be everywhere, so i prepare as best i can. But when a space/ event/ etc calls itself scent-reduced or scent-free and doesn’t consistently follow through, that creates an extra dangerous situation. Please, if you’re going to advertise as being scent reduced or scent free, just fricken do it?
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assisted life

i’m being serious when i say that i want every single non-disabled person to read THIS ARTICLE, all the way through. Lovers, friends, family, acquaintances, whatever our connection, if you give a shit about the gimps in your life/ community/ periphery, i want YOU to read this and really think about what it means.

i’d like you to think about what it means that instead of access to the things that make disabled folks’ lives work in the bodies we have, we’re “offered” / pushed into “assisted suicide” because the burden of our existence is somehow just too much – not necessarily for us, but for others, for the state, for the people in control of the basic shit we need to live.

Disabled folks aren’t unique in having to beg for the most utterly basic services to keep us alive. This is an ableism thing, it’s a racism thing, a classist thing, a white supremacist cisheteropatriarchal thing, a capitalism thing. This shit is connected and if you’re gonna be any part of my life you have an obligation to pay attention.

This is the very thing that so many disabled folks have been saying for decades, and i want you to listen to us, to stop talking in abstracts, riddles and metaphors about “assisted suicide”, and listen to what we’re saying when we share our concerns and fears about this. We’re the ones who end up on the shit-end of this all, but that “we” can just as quickly be “you”, make no mistake.

Please note that i absolutely respect other disabled folk’s right to choose it. There are people in my life who have done so, and who the hell knows, maybe i would have to choose it at some point. i want to have autonomy over my own life, and i wouldn’t try to take that from anyone.

What i have a problem with is it so often being the only option that a lot of us are given because what we need to live isn’t provided, because our lives aren’t valued, because in general disabled lives aren’t valued, and because specific kinds of disabled lives are especially not valued. The problem for me is that for so many disabled folks, this “choice” isn’t a choice at all, it’s the only option, the first suggestion, the thing that we are supposed to be so grateful for when it’s not actually what we would always choose for ourselves.

And i want more nuanced conversations about it that don’t centre the needs and whims of the state, which is so often what’s happening.

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Note: i will not engage in any debate about this here. If you do, it’ll be removed and i may need to consider removing you as well. It’s not about not being able to handle discussion, discourse, difference, whatever. It’s about refusing to debate my right as a disabled person to not listen to folks defending disabled death over disabled life; and being able to call the shots on this topic in this one small space. Please don’t do it here.

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Clarifying RAMP’s Position on VQFF and the PACBI

i’d like to clarify that any instance of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival using Radical Access Mapping Project accessibility audits for it’s events is not an indication of current RAMP collaboration with, support for, or endorsement of the VQFF.
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RAMP previously supported and worked with the festival in making it more accessible and gimp-inclusive in part by conducting multiple accessibility audits (which are still freely available for use by VQFF or anyone else). But thanks to the incredible education and agitation already being done by others, in 2014 RAMP joined the boycott of the festival for its ongoing status quo regarding the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and the impacts the festival has had and will continue to have in in/forming opinion and fomenting or stifling action on this.
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VQFF has in the past acknowledged that the Israeli occupation of Palestine employs a “systemization of control, dispossession and violence,”, and yet continues to refuse opportunities to support the requests of the Palestinian people for international solidarity in boycotting, sanctioning, and divesting from that system; and continues to refuse offers of grassroots local support in learning more about and responding to the issues involved.
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VQFF has made it clear (see last link below regarding the 2017 festival) that while it uses the language of resistance to fill seats, it doesn’t intend to change its tangible impacts on local Palestinian queers (e.g. Brown Bear Roar below) and on the ongoing resistance efforts of the Palestinian people as a whole in Palestine.
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Unless and until VQFF revisits and endorses PACBI, reflects that in its programming/ organizing/ structure, acknowledges the impacts its stance has had on this community, and gets transparent about that process, RAMP will continue to boycott the festival and encourage others to do so as well.
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If you have any questions about this or want more information, please feel free to send an email to rampvancouver@gmail.ca , or go to any of the links below:
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Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi
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Brown Bear Roar – Letter Re Vancouver Queer Film Festival To Queers:
https://underthejasmine.wordpress.com/…/05/15/brown-bear-r…/
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RAMP Website With Many Statements/ Links Re Boycott:
https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/…
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[this includes statements from or endorsed by QuAIA, SFPIRG, Ad-hoc alliance of Vancouver QTIPOC organizations, Sins Invalid, COPE Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Pansexual Caucus, Trikone Vancouver, Salaam Vancouver, Vancouver Latin GLBT Communities and Friends, No One Is Illegal – Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, SANSAD (South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy), Desi Dialogues, Global Queer Research Group, UBC, and others, as well as multiple film makers and community members]
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RAMP facebook page and the short reply from VQFF about 2017:
https://www.facebook.com/radicalaccessmappingproject/photos/a.265132226969110.1073741827.262865423862457/778381305644197/?type=3&theater&notif_t=like&notif_id=1502482697226551
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my post to vqff re 2017 fest

Image description: A facebook post,

Question from Lumpen Rolletariat to Vancouver Queer Film Festival
17 March at 10:30 ·

@Vancouver Queer Film Festival, has there been or is there expected to be any policy change for this year’s festival regarding pinkwashing and the ongoing community call to support a resolution on the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)? i’ve seen several recent articles about the upcoming fest, and one in Metro today which briefly mentions the boycott as an issue but doesn’t offer any insight for this year’s festival. Any clarity is appreciated.


Reply by Vancouver Queer Film Festival:
Vancouver Queer Film Festival: The short answer is that our perspectives on pinkwashing and the call for Out On Screen to participate in BDS haven’t changed since we issued our Open Letter to the community in 2015 and subsequent advertising policy. (http://queerfilmfestival.ca/blog/an-open-letter/)

The Vancouver Queer Film Festival is proud to continue to play a leading role in harnessing the power of film to advance queer lives. Our films celebrate the richness of our community and illuminate the struggles we still face. We look forward to a fun and compelling 2017 Festival!

Reply by Lumpen Rolletariat:
Disappointing but noted.

OK, what if?

Regarding that video going around about how “what if we talked about physical health the absurd way we talk about mental health”(*link at bottom) that’s going around… another version of similar things i’ve seen over the years:
i get that it’s an important conversation. i know intimately that the ways so many people talk about mental health is fucked up. But this “what if” framing is not how i’d want to build connection across disability, and i don’t think it helps move the conversation forward, Here’s a piece of why:
People DO talk this way. It isn’t a “what if” at all.
More often than not people DO talk about disabled people’s physical health this way. They literally DO tell us to just try harder! think nicer thoughts! buck up! just don’t focus on the pain/ cane/ fatigue/ disease/ wheelchair/ inhaler/ torn cornea, regularly dislocated whatever, etc! you’re just imagining it! just be a better person and all that negative energy will drift away! etc. They look right at us and say these things, with absolute certainty in their trembling tear-filled cartoon cat eyes.
But because the truths of disabled folks’ lives are routinely dismissed/ erased/ minimized/ used as cautionary tales/ etc, huge swaths of inconvenient disabled people can easily be removed from these “what if” experiments to tidy them up to try to explain it to non-disabled folks; and so sure, the reality of these kinds of comments might seem absurd to some. But as a multiply disabled person? i gotta tell you that i and many others regularly experience these same comments about our physical disabilities (which includes the erasure of other stuff we have going on).
We don’t have to imagine it. We live it.
But what if we didn’t have to? Do you think that could have an impact on mental health? What would it look like if -on top of the other stuff we have going on- we didn’t also have to constantly navigate the erasure of our experiences? Didn’t constantly have to defend our right to exist? Weren’t always being pitted against other disabled folks for crumbs and clicks? Imagine that!
i have more to say about this, but will leave it here for now.
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*re:  facebook.com/attn/videos/1391599620875493/
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taking some more time off

i’ve been taking it much easier on the conducting-audits front the past year+, and while i miss doing it, it’s actually really helped me take on some other things, including taking better care of myself, reducing stress, offering more energy to take care of my heart and body through some very rough stuff. i really like the space it’s opened up, and need more of that, so am going to expand that to say i won’t personally be performing any audits at all -including data entry, mapping, or other bits and pieces- in 2017. That’s a good goal for me, and an attainable one. What it means is that i’d love if more people took on doing audits on your own, including all the data entry and drawings and really thinking about it beyond a simple list of things to check off and be done with. If you perform an audit, i’d love if you sent me the link to it so i can add it to the website.

Well, we’ll see how this goes. i think my heart and guts and bones will thank me <3

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Ableism isn’t simply a *result* of capitalism, or even just bound up in capitalism. i believe they are one and the same. i often struggle with screwed up messages about productivity and worth, even things like continuing to do access audits, creating captions for films/videos, or trying to regularly maintain this blog or the facebook page for Radical Access Mapping Project, etc. What happens to me when i can’t do those things anymore at all? i’ve already had to cut back hugely on auditing and captioning, and already feel the tangible impacts of it. When we’re not producing something that’s seen as being of any (even temporary) value in a world that continually devalues and ignores disabled lives, if we can’t produce something that can be crow-barred into the range of acceptably “productive” things, if it & we can’t be itemized, listed, named, shown, PROVEN… what happens to us? If ableism and the system of valuing/devaluing supposed productivity or lack thereof is to end, capitalism has got to go too.
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Here’s an excellent article by Gillian Giles on The Body Is Not An Apology talking about experiences with ableism and racism:

https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/you-are-more-than-what-you-do-dismantling-ideas-of-productivity-in-life-purpose/

“Combinations of my blackness and lack of productivity caused by disability resulted in teachers and peers marking me as lazy, or a problem; one teacher going so far as to advise me to copy the student beside me, just so I could keep up with the pace and production of the class. Isolation and shame resulted out of these experiences.”

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