Fabled Asp: A Catalyst for Change

Supporting the Next Generation of Activism and Creative Projects

The mission of Fabled Asp is to empower disabled lesbians of diverse racial, cultural and age backgrounds to express stories, challenges, accomplishments and lessons of the movement. From the beginning, we knew we wanted to work with artists. Some projects we commissioned, some we co-created, co-sponsored, mentored or helped produce. We have supported many projects in collaboration with renowned artists. They also serve as examples of what can be done when artists relate to the original materials.

We want to encourage interaction with the archives not only by scholars but also by artists of every persuasion.

Like the aspen for whom we are named, we will continue to send up shoots and enlarge our grove of activist disabled lesbians and allies throughout the world for years to come.

Click here to download a list of our collections and topics pdf.

You too can access our archives as inspiration for future artistic projects!

To access our archives, please contact Fabled Asp.


“Sending up shoots” and supporting new creative works: Digital Stories

Several projects that were initially begun under the auspices of Fabled Asp have continued to develop and evolve. Two such projects grew out of our collaboration with the Center for Digital Storytelling, where we co-hosted workshops for disabled lesbians to create 3-minute personal movies combining storytelling technique with one’s own photos, video or music.


Morningstar Vancil

Morningstar Vancil, a member of the Fabled Asp Core Group, had her digital story “Wild Strawberries” featured in the 2010 “6th Annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival” (a project of QWOCMAP: the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project). This was the first ever open-captioned film to be submitted to the festival.

“Wild Strawberries” © Morningstar Vancil
Morningstar was born in Cavite City, Philippines and her family ancestry is Asian (Filipino), NativeAmerican (Mohican tribe), and Black Negritos (African). She came to the United States to gain political asylum in 1984, leaving the Philippines to resist the Marcos administration’s policy of civil disturbance and use of the military to quell citizen dissent. Morningstar identifies as Two-Spirit and Butch and as a folk-artist, veteran, and community builder. She is a member of Kreatibo (a queer-pinay performance troupe), Butch Magic (a drag king troupe), FatBottom Revue (Big Burlesque), and Neshkinukat, a coalition of Native American artists in Northern California.


Judith Masur


Judith Masur participated in a 2009 digital storytelling workshop, and created “Love and Tsuris” about her partner of 18 years, Jessica Barshay, and herself living with and surviving severe chronic illness and suicide. She is currently working on a longer documentary, “Love and Troubles,” which uses 25 hours of video tapes and 30 hours of audio tapes, made in the last year of their life together, to tell the rest of the story. Judith is an artist, writer, performer, coach, Trager® Practitioner/Tutor and now filmmaker. Jessica M. Barshay was a pioneering lesbian feminist psychotherapist. She was also a great friend of Fabled Asp founders Laura Rifkin and Jill Lessing. In 1985 she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Disfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and Environmental Illness/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (EI/MCS) and eventually had to stop working. In 1993 she and Judith fled the San Francisco Bay Area for the Southwest, seeking a less toxic environment. Jessica died in Santa Fe in 1998 by a planned suicide. Tsuris is the Yiddish word for “trouble.”

“Love and Tsuris” © Judith Masur

Click here to download the video transcript of “Love and Tsuris.”

“Thank you for sponsoring me to take the digital storytelling workshop. It allowed me to open the box of tapes which had lain for 11 years in my basement after the death of my partner. I never expected to have such a breakthrough.”–Judith Masur

Dominika Bednarska


Dominika Bednarska, reading from her one-woman show

Dominika Bednarska, reading from her one-woman show

In “My Body Love Story,” Queer disabled femme Dominika Bednarska takes us through dance floors, shopping malls, and theaters to tell the story of how she learned to love her body. Dominika is a writer, solo performer, poet and academic living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received mentoring from Fabled Asp, and was also invited to participate in the Lineage art project facilitated by E.G. Crichton. “My Body Love Story” is her first play, and was developed with the support of the AIRspace residency program.

“As a young queer woman, it has been amazing being involved with Fabled Asp. I have found a tremendous sense of community, history and support for the importance of the visibility of disabled lesbians.”–Dominika Bednarska, 29




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