Disability Awareness Month

March is Disability Awareness Month, and although the month is almost over, around here we believe it’s never too late for some quality resources and education. Our collection has many voices from disabled members of the GLBT community that reveal lives affected by intolerance, legal disputes, lack of inclusivity, questions of identity, isolation, and misconception.  A common theme is the collision of queer theory and disability studies, resulting in the emergence of the queer disabled culture. Many also describe both alienation and acceptance within the queer community.

 The Sexual Politics of Disability: Untold Stories
[6.780 SHAse 1996]

Based on first-hand accounts, these stories take a close look at questions of identity, relationships, sex, love, parenting and abuse and demolishes the taboo around disability and sex. It shows both the barriers to disabled people’s sexual rights and sexual expression, and also the ways in which these obstacles are being challenged.


 Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories
[6.7843 GUTqu 2004]

Reverberates with the sound of “cripgay” voices rising to be heard above the din of indifference and bias, oppression and ignorance. This collection of first-person narratives of gay men with mobility and neuromuscular disorders, spinal cord injury, deafness, blindness, and AIDS, fight isolation from society — and each other — to establish a public identity and a common culture.

 Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Communities
[3.200 ATKlo 1998]

A collection of research, first-hand accounts, poetry, theory, and journalistic essays that address and outline the special needs o sexual minorities when dealing with eating disorders and appearance obsession. Disability is addressed in several sections of this book, including misconception, discrimination and bias, partner perceptions, and gender identity.

 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Retardation: Stories of the Rainbow Support Group
[6.160 ALLga 2003]

Describes the founding,a chievements, and history of a unique group providing support for GLBT peple with developmental disabilities or mental retardation. Group founder John D. Allen describes the Rainbow Support Group’s beginnings in 1998 and the ways in which it has been shattering the myths and stereotypes surrounding people with mental retardation ever since.

 Why Can’t Sharon Kowalski Come Home?
6.784 THOwh 1988

In 1983, Sharon Kowalski was seriously injured when her car was struck by a drunk driver, leaving her unable to move or communicate in traditional ways. Karen, her lover of four years, was by Sharon’s side constantly, helping her in the arduous fight to regain basic life-skills. In 1985, the court awarded Sharon’s father sole guardianship, and within 24 hours, he denied Karen visitation rights. In this book, Karen shares her struggle to fight for her and her partner’s rights and her transition from being a closeted lesbian to a feminist activist.

 The Me in the Mirror
6.7863 PANme 1994

Writer, activist and artist Connie Panzarino was born in 1947 with the rare disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type III, formerly called Amytonia Congenita. Throughout a childhood filled with both pain and joy, she strove to define herself: “I knew I was different. Now I had a name for the difference, like being Italian or Jewish. I was an Amytonia. I didn’t understand if that meant that I would never walk, or if all it meant was lack of muscle tone. I didn’t know that most children with this disease die before they’re five years old.” In this deeply moving and eloquent memoir, Connie Panzarino describes her decades of struggle and triumph, her relationships with family members and long-time lover Ron Kovic, her eventual turn to lesbianism, and her years of pioneering work in the disability rights movement.

 Eyes of Desire: A Deaf Gay and Lesbian Reader
[6.7801 LUCey 1993]
Eyes of Desire 2: A Deaf GLBT Reader

[6.7801 LUCey 2007]

In these volumes, deaf GLBT people tell their stories of discovering their sexual identities, overcoming barriers to communication, and reveal insight into deaf gay and lesbian culture.


 Body, Remember
6.7843 FRIbo 1997

In this poetic, introspective memoir, Kenny Fries illustrates his intersecting identities as gay, Jewish, and disabled. While learning about the history of his body through medical records and his physical scars, Fries discovers just how deeply the memories and psychic scars run. As he reflects on his relationships with his family, his compassionate doctor, the brother who resented his disability, and the men who taught him to love, he confronts the challenges of his life. Body, Remember is a story about connection, a redemptive and passionate testimony to one man’s search for the sources of identity and difference.

 Mean Little Deaf Queer
6.7801 GALme 200

In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed “child freak,” she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, she writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life.

 Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation
9.786 CLAex 1999

Exile and Pride explores the landscape of disability, class, queerness, and child abuse, telling stories which echo with the sounds of an Oregon logging and fishing town and with the lively political debates of crip crusaders and transgender warriors.



We want to hear from you! What are your experiences within the queer disabled community? Have you read any of the above books, or encountered any other helpful resources? Let us know in the comments!

Drag Movies at the Library

The fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is underway and it seems fitting to turn our attention to the movies that feature drag performances. If you are a fan or just want to see what drag is all about, here’s a selection of DVDs from our collection that you can check out.

We’ll also be showing Paris is Burning, a movie about the fashion-obsessed New Yorkers who created “voguing” and drag balls, as part of our LGBT Movie Nights. You can catch it on Thursday, April 5th at 9pm at Ballantine 013.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertThe Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

With a contract to perform a drag show way out in the Australian desert, Tick, Adam, and Ralph each has his own reason for wanting to leave the safety of Sydney. Christening their battered pink tour bus “Priscilla,” the trio heads for the outback and into crazy adventures in even crazier outfits


La Cage Aux FollesLa Cage Aux Folles

This farce features the owner of a drag-revue nightclub and his partner, the high-maintenance diva who is the star of the show. When the owner’s son becomes engaged to a politician’s daughter, the family puts on a very different kind of show for her conservative family. We also have The Birdcage, an American adaptation of this French comedy.


Connie and CarlaConnie and Carla

Best friends Connie and Carla aspire to become musical theater stars but when they witness a mafia crime, it seems they’ll never be able to make it big without exposing themselves. While on the run they see a drag revue and decide to go undercover as drag queens. The plan seems to working as soon the girls rise in the ranks of L.A.’s drag community. There is a small complication, however, when Connie falls for a guy who is seeking out his cross-dressing brother.

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar DVD CoverTo Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

En route from New York City to Hollywood for a drag queen beauty pageant, Noxeema, Vida and Chi Chi are stranded in a tiny Midwestern town when their 1967 Cadillac breaks down. When their glitz and glamour wake up the sleepy local citizens, the stage is set for an outrageously funny weekend.


Venus Boyz DVD CoverVenus Boyz

Venus Boyz takes the viewers on an extraordinary journey into the universe of female masculinity. Filmed in New York City and London, this eye-opening documentary uses the performances of drag kings as a starting point into the topic of transgenderism.


 Wigstock: The Movie DVD CoverWigstock: The Movie

This documentary goes behind the scenes at Wigstock, an outdoor drag festival in New York. It features performances by acclaimed performers RuPaul, Lipsinka, and The “Lady” Bunny. It is a raucous look at the self-proclaimed “Super Bowl of Drag.”



The Pink Mirror (Gulabi Aaina) DVD CoverThe Pink Mirror (Gulabi Aaina)

A colorful, funny look into the Indian homosexual closet, this film pits two Indian drag queens against a westernized gay teenager in a battle to woo a handsome hunk. Underneath the humorous exterior, the film is an exploration of the Indian gay landscape and understanding of the deep, humanly tender bonds that exist between drag queens who form unique non-patriarchal families. Hindi with English subtitles.

If you want to see live drag, you don’t even have to leave Bloomington. Here’s a list of groups and events in our community that have drag performances.

GenderF**k IU
This all-inclusive drag show is having it’s second performance at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8pm.

Miss Gay IU and Hoosier Daddy
OUT, IU’s GLBTQA Student Union, hosts these pageants annually. Dates for 2012 have not yet been set.

Gender Studs
This Bloomington-based drag king group gives performances all over town. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events.

West End Girls
This group of drag queens gives performances at Uncle Elizabeth’s every Friday.