What we did in 2010 to honor this community

Honoring 2010 images

Click on images to view entire photo gallery


2010 was The Year of Honoring Lesbians with Disabilities. But it didn’t just happen.

It started in 2007 with the dream that Laura Rifkin had that it would be possible. By the time 2009 rolled around, we were hard at work. We used the visual, electronic, and performing arts as channels for evoking stories. We held mixed media workshops, open mic events we named Krip Salons, partnered with Berkeley Community Media, Diverse Disability Media, and Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project to videotape Living Histories. We organized and videotaped four discussion panels, created a photo and ephemera archives highlighting over 25 topics and groups, partnered with StoryCorps to build an audio archive, and with The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley to create digital stories. Through the Lineage Project living disabled and able-bodied lesbians were asked to respond to the lives of lesbians with disabilities who had died. Karen Hampton created a memorial quilt dedicated to 12 disabled lesbian foremothers. We documented over 80 stories in four different mediums.


Event at Library honoring Pride Grand Marshalls

Then, as 2010 arrived, the dream came true: the California State Assembly, the State Senate, the cities of Berkeley and San Francisco all made proclamations honoring disabled lesbians. The San Francisco Dyke March declared 2010 The Year of Honoring the Disabled Dyke and featured Fabled Asp on the main stage. The Oakland City Council proclaimed 2010 as The Year of Honoring Lesbians with Disabilities. And what a year it was! Fabled Asp coordinated artists, musicians, writers and activists, disabled lesbians and allies across the spectrum, producing events, concerts, luncheons, readings and performances. Founding Director Laura Rifkin was selected by Bank of America as a “Local Hero,” and feted as one of the 25 outstanding GLBT leaders honored at the GLBT Historical Society’s 25th Anniversary,2010. 2010 Project Co-Chair Marion Abdullah was honored for her role as former Grand Marshal of the Pride Parade, and featured in the “Women We Love” event at the Castro Senior Center in San Francisco.


Receiving proclamations from Mark Leno
Laura Rifkin, Fabled Asp Founding Director, receives the 2010 Bank of America “Local Heroes” award
Click audio player below to listen to an audio track with an expanded version of “2010: The Year of Honoring Lesbians with Disabilities.”

Click here to download a complete transcript of the audio track.

Fabled Asp: Honored at the 2010 Dyke March

Laura Rifkin, Fabled Asp Founding Director
The San Francisco Dyke March declared 2010 “The Year of Honoring the Disabled Dyke” and featured Fabled Asp on the main stage, with Fabled Asp members as featured speakers in the opening program. Event publicity materials and posters prominently featured the phrase “2010: The Year of the Disabled Lesbian.”

A video mini-documentary of our involvement with the 2010 Dyke March video was selected for posting on the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco’s “It’s Normal” website – as part of an ongoing effort to promote GLBTQ acceptance to the larger disabled community. Meja Tyehimba was a videographer and the main editor for this production. Meja is a graduate of the QWOCMAP (Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project) media production training, continued her video training with Fabled Asp as a result of our collaboration with QWOCMAP, and she now serves as the Fabled Asp Production Manager.

Click here to watch a video of the 2010 Dyke March on YouTube.
Click here to read the transcript of 2010 Dyke March Video.


40 year Retrospective Exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library:
“Celebrating Fabulous/Activist Bay Area Lesbians with Disabilities”


Exhibition display panels and ephemera

Fabled ASP and the work of the disabled lesbian movement originated in San Francisco. Within this community, political activism specific to lesbians with disability was born: Fabled Asp Founders Laura Rifkin, Ph.D., and Jill Lessing, M.A., were among the pioneers. Together with Diane Sabin, they started the first special needs services for the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade, which has opened access to one of the City’s most famous and important events, became a model for other venues and events, and still stands as the benchmark for providing services for people living with disabilities, HIV and AIDS at events. This advocacy was only one aspect of a newly emerging “crip culture” which embraced cultural work of art, poetry, music and dance, while simultaneously promoting bridge-building across race, ethnicity, and class. View more Fabled ASP Photos Exhibition photos here.

Information signage, collage of event photos

The exhibition consisted of a series of panels and glass cases, each addressing a particular theme. Historic photos and contemporary art works were supplemented with descriptive text, while ephemera from multiple private collections demonstrated how these topics were part of our every-day lives, as represented in t-shirts, event flyers, performance scripts, and hand-written wall charts.

Click here to read more about “Why this exhibition?”

Exhibition dates were September 18 – November 21, 2010, at the San Francisco Main Library, and included displays in the Skylight Gallery and the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center.


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