Dr. Laura Rifkin, Founding Director

Dr. Laura Rifkin, Founding Director

Laura Rifkin holds a Ph.D. in Integral Philosophy. She is Faculty Emerita at the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, SFSU, a published author, and is considered a visionary in her academic field. Dr. Rifkin is known for spearheading a variety of social change efforts and community services, including developing the first FamCamp program with the State parks for homeless families, pioneering work in the field of addiction recovery and creative therapeutic approaches, self-esteem development with children and teens with disabilities. She was the co-founder of Wry Crips Women’s Theater Group, Special Needs Services for Gay Pride, and Bay Area Pirates (a women’s wheelchair basketball team). Dr. Rifkin is also the Associate Producer of “The Way Home,” a film about women, race, and ethnicity.




Jill Lessing, M.A., Co-Founder

Jill Lessing, M.A., Co-Founder

Jill Lessing has been a disabled activist and facilitator in the women’s community of the San Francisco Bay Area for the more than 30 years. She is an artist with a B.A. in Creative Arts and earned her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from JFK University. Her specialty has been as a disability consultant. Jill Lessing brings her commitment to social justice issues to her work through her understanding of class, race, disability oppression and creatively integrates them into her work with individuals, couples and facilitating groups.

As a counselor who is widely versed in clinical issues, she is able to integrate appropriate therapeutic techniques with a transpersonal/spiritual base. Her achievements include founding of the first Comprehensive Special Needs Services at the San Francisco Pride Parade & Celebration, writing book reviews and articles for the San Francisco Chronicle, With The Power of Each Breath: A Disabled Women’s Anthology, and Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Anthology. Jill Lessing was also co-editor of What Do We Mean by Handi-Capism?



Marion Abdullah

Marion Abdullah, Chair  2010-The Year Of Honoring Lesbians With Disabilities

Marion Abdullah is a longstanding LGBT activist. She joined the Asian Pacific Lesbian Network, participated in women of color events, was involved in the inaugural meeting of Older Lesbians Organized for Change (OLOC), helped organize the Annual Elder Conference, volunteered with Women’s Building and PFLAG, and is active in AIDS and breast cancer organizations. Working to ensure an elder presence in organizations such as East Bay Pride and Out in Oakland, Marion Abdullah is considered an expert on aging issues. She is active in many organizations and is working on the Elder Committee for Creating Change, striving to improve conditions in the Bay Area. She also contributes to the LGBT Cancer Board, Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, the Mayor’s Roundtable of Oakland, Asian Pacific Queer Women and Transgender Coalition, is a member of AAL40+, New Leaf and is a survivor of breast cancer. In 2010, Marion Abdullah added to her long list of honors by being featured in the “Women We Love” event at the Castro Senior Center in San Francisco, and was recognized for her role as former Grand Marshal of the San Francisco Pride celebration.



Karen Hampton, Creator of the Fabled Asp Memorial Quilt

Karen Hampton, Creator of the Fabled Asp Memorial Quilt

Karen Hampton is a weaver, a storyteller, and an artist. She tells stories of her culture and the people who are part of her make-up. She views herself as a medium for their voices and keeping dreams alive. Her artwork is a combination of research, intuition, and vision. Her influences span from Africa, The Middle Passage, Slavery, to her childhood; some are familiar and others, intuitive kin. Karen Hampton’s artistic process burn and stitch images and text into cloth to invoke voices of the past and provide access for spirits to speak. Her intent is to tell a different story of American culture. As she shares and lives these stories, she also explores her own pain, wishes, and dreams for the future.
Visit Karen’s website at:


Laura Bock, Co-Chair of 2010 - The Year Of Honoring Lesbians With Disabilities

Laura Bock, Co-Chair of 2010 – The Year Of Honoring Lesbians With Disabilities

Laura Bock is a writer, disability rights activist, and the founder of Fat Lip Reader’s Theater.







Barbara Ruth, Fabled Asp Resident Poet:

Barbara Ruth, Fabled Asp Resident Poet

Barbara Ruth is the resident poet of Fabled Asp, a published author and a treasured chronicler of the disabled lesbian movement over the last 4 decades. Coming from a passing family of Potowatomee, Alsatian, Welsh, Blackfoot, and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, a major life assignment has been reinventing herself. She has moved back and forth from disabled to able-bodied since childhood; she seemed to have settled into disabled, where most of her friends happen to live.




Cathy Cade

Cathy Cade, Co-Curator 2010 Fabled Asp Exhibition

Cathy Cade is an activist in the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s and received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tulane University. In the early 1970s she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, became involved in the Women’s Liberation Movement, came out as a Lesbian/Feminist, and began photographing the Bay Area lesbian community -– including lesbians with disabilities. In the 1980s she was lesbian mothering, and in the early 1990s she worked for an international wheelchair project. Cathy Cade has continued her work as a photographer, and has also established a business helping people tell their life histories using their personal photo collections.Visit Cathy’s website at:



Lenn Keller

H. Lenn Keller, Co-Curator 2010 Fabled Asp Exhibition

H. Lenn Keller is a community activist, archivist/curator,photographer, filmmaker, writer, oral historian and public speaker. She has been based in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. She has archived and documented the Bay Area LGBT and lesbian of color communities since 1981. She curated the archival exhibit; Fierce Sistahs: The Art, Activism & Community of Bay Area Lesbians of Color 1975-2000, and was a co-curator of the Fabled Asp exhibit, Fabulous/Activist Bay Area Lesbians with Disabilities: A 40 Year Retrospective. She is the producer and director of two award winning short 16mm films, and is currently directing and producing a feature length documentary, A Persistent Desire, about the butch-femme community, Her writings have been published in; Ache, Sinister Wisdom… She is a public speaker, an independent scholar and has done multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural and historical research. Her photography and film work can be viewed at



Core Committee


Patty Overland

Patty Overland

Patty Overland is a butch living in Oakland. She is a suicide survivor from the Bronx, N.Y., and has been writing poetry since she was 16. She was the co-founder of Wry Crips Disabled Women’s Reader’s Theater along with Laura Rifkin and Judith Smith and is currently spearheading a revival of the company.




Kelly Van Meter

Kelly Van Meter

Kelly Van Meter is a core member extraordinaire and an all-around great person, assisting with catering and event planning. Fabled Asp’s Girl Friday.





Morningstar Vancil

Morningstar Vancil

Morningstar Vancil identifies as Two-Spirit and Butch and as a folk-artist, drag king, veteran, and community builder. Born in the Philippines, she came to the United States to gain political asylum in 1984, in resistance to the Marcos administration’s policy of civil disturbance and use of the military to quell citizen dissent. She has been an advocate for People of Color (POC) in the areas of immigration, human rights, domestic partnership, and tribal alliance-building. Morningstar Vancil has served as a volunteer for the Two-Spirit Groups’ Archives of the LGBT Historical Society, spoken on POC panel discussions, and co-founded ForS/mWoC, an organization dedicated to creating an equal and harmonious relationship among the S/M communities. A founding member and former officer of the Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits, Morningstar Vancil serves on the LGBT Advisory Board of the Human Rights Commission (City of San Francisco) and is presently LGBT board member of American Cancer Society. She is also recovering from gynecological cancer, diagnosed in 2003, and has been very active in creating community for lesbian survivors of this disease.



Yun-Yun Cai, Office Manager

Yun-Yun Cai is the Office Manager/ Web mistress for Fabled Asp – 2010 to present. She organizes data, works as an exhibition assistant, and keeps everyone and everything together with the assistance of Sam, the cat.



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