ClexaCon Fundraiser: Disability Representation Panel

ClexaCon Fundraiser: Disability Representation Panel

Clexacon logo (rainbow infinity symbol on its side with '2018' at the most righthand side) with ClexaCon written in rainbow below against a black background

If you haven’t already heard, I’ll be heading to ClexaCon this April! I’m incredibly excited as I’ll be on two panels. One is about sex ed for queer peeps called Let’s Get Cliterate! The other panel is about disability representation in queer media.

For the latter one, we’ve set up a GoFundMe to raise funds for those of us traveling to Vegas for the conference.

This panel is so needed. The fundraiser will go to cover travel and lodging during the conference for our panel peeps. One of our panel peeps has, unfortunately, had to drop out due to health, and we’re hoping to have some surprises from them at our panel at least.

Please consider donating. I’m driving and staying at an Airbnb to save on costs. Still, with having to get a new car sans planning, having any money to cover our travel and lodging would be very much appreciated. And that’s just me! There are others attending that could use the help as well.

Please consider sharing even if you’re unable to donate.

Giving Tuesday: Help Our Community

Giving Tuesday: Help Our Community

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One of the things I’ve always envisioned this site being able to do is lifting up other people in our communities. For me, that means chronically amazing, trans/GNC, queer, sex-educatory, animal-loving people.

Since it’s Giving Tuesday, I want to highlight ways we can give back to our peoples, whoever they may be. While I’ve put people under a variety of sections, notice that intersecting identities don’t just limit most of us to one label.

Chronically Amazing

USA

My friend Kenzie defies words. She is all at once innovative and an old soul, spontaneous and planned out, supportive and sassy. There are a million reasons I’m glad she and I are friends. Unfortunately, she’s struggling a lot lately. While dealing with being a senior in college, she’s juggling an ever-growing list of serious chronic health conditions. The dual hit to the bank account of being a chronically ill college student is something that’s really hard to cope with. That’s where we come in! You can donate to her Amazon wishlist or contribute to her fundraiser that helps train her service dog (and giant love muffin) Ophie.

Britt is another chronically ill gal. Recently, she’s received a rare disease diagnosis and struggled with back-to-back hospital admissions. On top of that, she’s barely able to eat. You can help get her food and supplies through her Amazon wishlist.

Struggling with undiagnosed health issues is scary, especially when they land us in emergency multiple times. Kat, who is a freaking joy to know, is dealing with just that – struggling with a high ER bill on top of needing to see specialists. You can help offset the costs she’s been hit with on her GoFundMe.

Judy lives with a number of health conditions. Unfortunately, she has little help with day-to-day tasks, schooling, medications, and more. She’s looking to get a service dog, but they’re very expensive. Please visit her GoFundMe to learn more.

Annabel has been fighting breast cancer for over a year and recently had a second major surgery. Unfortunately, she’s not covered under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and will be out of work for two months. You can help cover the costs of her surgery and expenses via GoFundMe.

Antonina is a hard-working Haitian immigrant with 4 children. She works as a nurse to provide for her kids, but this has left her with severe damage in her knees – to the point she needs a total knee replacement on each one. With the Temporary Protected Status of Haiti being ended before August 2019, it’s incredibly important to raise the money to get these surgeries as soon as possible to allow for the best possible outcomes. You can donate here.

Canada

Alex is a great reminder that healthcare isn’t better in other countries – yes, even Canada sucks when you’re chronically ill. They have been fighting to get an accurate diagnosis for ages. Unfortunately, that requires a series of very expensive tests that the Canadian health system won’t cover. You can donate to Alex’s GoFundMe or shoot them money via PayPal.

UK

Shona, who you might remember as the author of this piece, has an outdated wheelchair. Since she is able to walk (with a metric ton of pain), the National Health System in the UK won’t help her get a new one. Since she can’t work, either, funds are limited to get a new chair. Please consider donating to her GoFundMe.

Emma also lives in the UK where they are ill-equipped to handle her complex medical issues. On top of chronic Lyme Disease, she endures a number of harrowing symptoms that leave her bedbound 90% of the time. Her family is raising money to help get treatment underway as the NHS isn’t cutting it.

Representation

Dawn runs Spoonie Chat, a weekly Twitter chat held on Wednesdays at 8 pm Eastern that’s focused on living well will a variety of chronic illnesses. She’s currently working on crowdfunding her writing to help get more representation of illness out there.

Black and Brown Spoons is an online community started to help Black, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous people with chronic illnesses get connected to information, resources, and support around healthcare and disability rights in the US. Honestly, most of us who are popular are pretty white and we don’t experience the same issues the same way. They’ve got a Teespring page set up with great gear you can grab while helping them further this awesome mission. They have a merch giveaway that ends today, too, until 6 pm Eastern today. Check out this Twitter thread for how to enter.

Jennifer Brea has made a lot of headlines recently. As the filmmaker behind Unrest, she is challenging providers to see and believe the reality of patients living with ME/CFS. The film premiered at Sundance this year and it’s gotten rave reviews (mine is coming soon!). If you want to help Jennifer and her organization raise more awareness of ME/CFS, please click here.

Trans/GNC

Gender-affirming surgery is a very extensive and expensive process. It can be scary to go through, even though it’s super helpful to have. Kai has been on testosterone for two years and is starting the process of getting bottom surgery. Between having to travel across the country – and stay for 6 weeks – for treatment, he is having a hard time paying the bills associated with preparing for surgery. Please visit Kai’s YouCaring page to help.

Ty is working to get top surgery. Right now, though, their insurance won’t cover the costs. Donating will help Ty with the costs of surgery and being out of work while healing. Their YouCaring page has more information.

Getting a new passport for trans folx can be incredibly expensive, but very worthwhile. You can help, though! An organization is helping to cover passport fees for trans peeps. Visit their YouCaring page to learn more.

Zaire is a black, trans, chronically-ill queer who has been struggling with ongoing homelessness for their entire life, on top of chronic illness, ongoing health struggles, and the daily violence of anti-blackness and transphobia moving through this white supremacist world. You can help them by donating through their YouCaring page.

Jacie is a runner and activist who fights hard for equality. Unfortunately, after coming out as trans in 2014, she was severely beaten. While she’s in a safer position right now, she is raising money for surgery to correct the damage done during the attack.

Queer

Bree is one of my favorite people. I can’t believe I get to be on a panel with her soon! (Go to Clexacon – you won’t regret it.) She’s a fellow queerdo, disabled, and just hella cool. She helps remind people all the time to practice self-care and is very open about mental health, which is so very needed. You can help her through her fun Amazon wishlist, her medical one, or on Patreon.

NC Queer TROUBLMakers (Trans Revolutionaries Organizing Under Black Lives Matter) is a statewide collective of queer and trans people of color in North Carolina. We began formally working together in August of 2015, coordinating Queer and Trans Black Lives Matter demonstrations at Pride events across the state. They need additional funding to help their members pay rent and cover basic living costs. Visit their GoFundMe page to learn more.

Sex Education

Ducky Doolittle is an amazing human being. She’s one of the reasons that I got into sex education work. Unfortunately, she has recently been diagnosed with uterine cancer and just went through surgery to kick cancer’s ass. If you can donate to help keep things afloat while she does her thing, click here to pop to her PayPal.

Sarah Brynn is one of my favorite sex educators. She’s had a lot of great things to share during the MeToo movement as a fellow survivor. She wants to help create more trauma-informed, feminist sex education. You can donate to her via Patreon or PayPal.

JoEllen Notte talks very openly about mental health and sex. She has given presentations and talks at many conferences on the subject and is working on writing a book. Check out her Patreon and support her amazing work.

Ever heard of the book Girl Sex 101? The author behind that, Allison, work on a lot – sex-ed videos, blogs, essays, art, fiction, etc. She has a Patreon set up to snag more funding and make her work more accessible.

Amy runs Coffee & Kink. In addition to sex education, she writes erotic fiction and helps people new to investigating sexuality navigate their new world. You can support her work on Patreon.

Artemisia FemmeCock writes reviews of sex toys and kink products. She works hard to bring in educational aspects, helping to demystify kink and sex toys. Please visit her Patreon to learn more.

Cheryl AKA Horny Geek Girl is a writer and sex blogger, too. She recently set up a Patreon in an effort to focus more on her passion – badass erotic writing.

Amy Jo Goddard and Julie Carlson are on a mission to improve pelvic exams, and they go on a quest to find out why patients have horror stories about gyn exams, what students are learning, and how to change our approach to gynecology to one of empowerment rather than dread and trauma. Check out their project, At Your Cervix.

Organizations

LGBT+ and Sex Ed

The Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN) is an organization by and for Indigenous youth that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice throughout the United States and Canada.

In the quaint town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island sits a building with a giant walk-through vulva. The Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health works tirelessly to provide education to everyone, including continuing education for people like myself.

Heart Women & Girls is one of my favorite organizations. They focus on sexual health and education for femmes within Muslim spaces. Providing culturally-sensitive health information is something that is vastly overlooked and badly needed – and Heart does that. Donate and help them on their path to fix the world.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation came about after Matt’s brutal murder in 1998. As a baby queer at the time, I’ve written about how Matt’s story continues to push me to fight for all of us. The Foundation continues to push for better laws against hate crimes, especially for the LGBT+ community. You can donate to them here.

TSER – Trans Student Educational Resources – is a youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment. In addition to our focus on creating a more trans-friendly education system, our mission is to educate the public and teach trans activists how to be effective organizers. Please consider donating to help further their mission.

Founded in 2003 by trans activists, the National Center for Transgender Equality provides a powerful transgender advocacy presence in Washington, DC. After the many setbacks our community has seen this year – and the ones we fear are coming – it’s important to continue supporting their work and affirming our support for them.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. It’s named after one of the trans pioneers of the LGBT rights movement, Sylvia Rivera. Please consider donating to them today.

Health

The International Pain Foundation is a great organization. They work hard to help raise awareness about various pain-causing conditions as well as providing resources and help for patients.

RA Guy has been a staple in patient communities for ages. Recently, he started his own foundation that focuses on providing education, support, and connection for arthritis patients.

The Autoinflammatory Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those with autoinflammatory diseases, also known as periodic fever syndromes… AKA part of what I deal with (and hate) daily.

NORD – the National Organization for Rare Diseases – works with patients, providers, researchers, pharma, and more to help raise awareness and money for the many rare diseases out there (some of which aren’t even on their list). You can donate to help further their cause.

Selfish Time

It’d be hard to write this out and not include my stuff. I’m semi-reluctantly posting links here that will help me to continue producing awesome content, going to conferences, and developing stuff to help all of us.

You can donate via Patreon, PayPal, or Ko-Fi. Additionally, you can snag CS gear on Zazzle, donate to ORCHIDS, or purchase something from my Amazon Wishlist. You can also shop using one of my affiliates:

Ways to Help California Fire Victims

Ways to Help California Fire Victims

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There are over a dozen fires raging through California right now. Most of them are in and around where my sister lives – Northern California. They have not had to evacuate yet, but with her having asthma and small kids, the tension is high.

She’s not alone, though. There are a ton of people sitting on the edge of evacuation zones struggling with ash, heat, and more.

Thousands of people have evacuated, lost their homes, or worse. Right now, the death toll sits in the mid-20s with nearly 300 people missing.

Here’s how to help if you’re in the area:

  • You can open your home for free via Airbnb. This is currently open through the 30th, but I’ll bet it gets extended.
  • You can donate supplies and clothing to Love on Haight in SF. Tutto Capelli Salon, 1234 Go Records,
  • Donate to the North Bay Fire Relief fund at Redwood Credit Union locations
  • Volunteer! You can register at the Sonoma Community Center (open from 9-5 daily). You can also register online at CVNL for Marin and Napa.
  • Sonoma County Animal Services needs food and supplies. Napa Community Animal Response Team needs help with sheltering and moving animals. Hop Along and Second Chance Animal Rescue needs foster pet parents and donations.
  • Here are evacuation centers and other locations you can drop off supplies to:
    • Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds Evacuation Center – 442 Franklin Avenue, Yuba City
    • Veterans Memorial Building and Hall – 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa
    • Petaluma Community Center – 320 N. McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma
    • Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds – 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma
    • Napa Valley College Gym – 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway, Napa
    • Ramekins Culinary School and Inn – 450 W. Spain Street, Sonoma
    • Sonoma Valley High School – 20000 Broadway, Sonoma
    • Sonoma County Animal Services – 1247 Century Ct, Santa Rosa
    • RYSE Center – 205 41st Street @ MacDonald, Richmond
    • Salute E Vita Restaurante – 1900 Esplanade Dr, Richmond
    • Seaport Storage Center – 1703 E. Bayshore Road, Redwood City
If you’re remote, like me, or can’t venture out due to the ash and smoke, you can still donate:
Are you affected by the wildfires in Northern California? Here are some of the resources in the area offering shelter, food, and other supplies. Make sure to keep up with evacuation orders in your area.

 

Shelter

  • Check out Airbnb’s open home program. It’s free and people in the area are opening up their homes to help.
  • Official shelters
    • Cloverdale
      • Cloverdale Citrus Fair – 1 Citrus Fair Dr.
    • Healdsburg
      • Healdsburg Community Center – 1157 Healdsburg Ave.
    • Petaluma
      • Casa Grande High School – 333 Casa Grande Rd.
      • Cavanaugh Youth Center – 426 8th St.
      • Church of Christ – 370 Sonoma Mountain Parkway
      • 1st Presbyterian Church – 939 B. St.
      • New Life Church – 1310 Clegg St.
      • Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds – 175 Fairgrounds Dr.
      • Veterans Memorial Hall – 1094 Petaluma Blvd. S.
    • Santa Rosa
      • Cook Middle School – 2480 Sebastopol Rd.
      • Elsie Allen High School – 599 Bellevue Ave.
      • Finley Community Center – 2060 W. College Ave.
      • Sonoma County Fairgrounds Pavillion – 1350 Bennett Valley Rd.
      • St. Eugene’s Cathedral School/Gym – 300 Farmers Ln.
    • Sebastopol
      • Analy High School – 6950 Analy Ave.
      • Hessel Church – 5060 Hessel Ave.
      • St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church – 500 Robinson Rd.
    • Rohnert Park
      • Burton Recreation Center/RP Community Center – 5401 Snyder Ln.
      • Sally Tomatoes – 1100 Valley House Dr.
      • Technology Middle School – 7165 Burton Ave
      • Waldo Rohnert Elementary School – 550 Bonnie Ave.
    • Sonoma
      • Adele Harrison Middle School – 1150 Broadway
      • Sonoma Raceway – 29355 Arnold Dr.
      • Sonoma Valley High School – 20000 Broadway
      • Sonoma Veterans Building – 126 1st St. West
    • Windsor
      • Windsor High School – 8695 Windsor Rd.
    • American Canyon
      • American Canyon High School – 3000 Newell Dr.
    • Calistoga
      • Calistoga Fairgrounds – 1435 N. Oak St.
    • Napa
      • Crosswalk Community Church – 2590 First St.
      • Napa Valley College Gym – 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
    • Fairfield
      • Alan Witt Sports Complex – 1741 W. Texas St.
      • Solano Community College – 4000 Suisun Valley Rd.

Restaurants

  • Amy’s Drive Thru (58 Golf Course Dr. W, Rohnert Park) is offering free meals to those evacuated.
  • Sauced BBQ Restaurant (151 Petaluma Blvd S Suite 129, Petaluma) serves free food from 9-4 every few days for victims and offers a place to rest and view TV.
  • Better Homes and Gardens (186 Main St., Sebastopol) will give you a cup of coffee and wifi and you can charge your phone.

Wifi and Computer Use

  • FREE Internet/Comcast/Xfinity: Removed restrictions and opened their WiFi hotspots for all to use through Fri. 10/13 Log in as “Guest.”
  • Copperfield’s Books (140 Kentucky St, Petaluma): Free wifi, allows dogs, water, stickers & crayons for children.
  • Mystic Theatre/McNears/The Roaring Donkey (23 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma): Offering laptops for fire victims to use if they need to get a hold of their financial institutions or family. They have wifi and chargers, too. Ask for Sierra Bradley.

For pets and animals

  • Strong’s Second Chance Ranch (771 Liberty Rd, Petaluma) is offering to home horses, can message on Facebook.
  • Chanslor Ranch (2660 CA-1, Bodega Bay) – Offering free beds and campsite. Kid and pet- friendly.
  • Sonoma Humane Society (5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa) – Taking in animals for boarding, lost & found animals. No cost vet treatment for burn victims, owned or stray animals affected by fires. Open 8-5 daily.
  • Unleashed Dog Training (301 2nd St, Petaluma) is boarding and open if you need a place to hang. Call at 707.763.9882
  • Marin Humane Society (171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato) is offering free boarding.
  • Misc animal issues: Anyone encountering animal-related issues can call 707-565-4406. This number will be available 24/7 until further notice. Donations can also be made through this line. Please be prepared to share information about the number of animals, type of animals, address and location for the animals, and any information about the families associated with the animals, if known.

Other

  • Petaluma Swim Center (900 E Washington St, Petaluma) is offering free showers for victims with soap, shampoo and towels provided. Check their FB page for times and dates.
  • Synergy Health Club (1201 Redwood Way, Petaluma) is offering free showers plus towels to those in need. Also, a place to relax with couches and TV.
  • Adventure Recreation Center (2200 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma) is open limited hours for kids to play out of the smoke. Free for fire victims, and they have coffee. Proceeds from others will be donated to relief efforts.
  • Ethical Clothing (122 Kentucky St., Petaluma) has free clothing for those in need. For non-evacuees, they will also sell newly donated items for $25 a piece and donate the money. Check their FB page for hours.
  • Yoga Hell (1484 Petaluma Blvd N., Petaluma) is offering free yoga classes and showers.
  • If you’re affected by the Tubbs fire, there is a FB group for you. Facebook also has a community help section for those dealing with the fires, including those willing to volunteer.

Originally posted on Oct. 12. Updated Oct. 12.

CHIP Needs Our Help

CHIP Needs Our Help

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The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was passed in August 1997, taking effect the next month. What this program does is give states funds (that they must match) that help to cover children living in low-income households that don’t qualify for Medicaid. It’s undergone expansion, adding protection for a couple million more children thanks to President Obama.

Today, CHIP covers approximately 9 million children from low-income families. These children are at risk of losing their healthcare. See, funding for CHIP ends at the end of this month – so, Saturday. The Senate has refused to discuss renewing funding for CHIP since early this year, focusing on repeal-and-replace efforts instead. Without immediate renewal, over a million of these children would lose insurance and the remaining 8 million would see reduced benefits.

The Senate Finance Committee, led by Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch, have introduced a bill – S 1827 – that extends funding for another five years. However, the Senate has failed to act on this.

Do what you can today to reach out to your Senators and ask them to discuss this bill NOW.

  • Contact your Senators
  • Protest and picket (if able)
  • Get loud on social media
    • Use tags like #saveCHIP
  • Send letters to the editors or reach out to your local news to explain your concerns

Let’s come together to ensure that these children aren’t left behind.

HR 36 and HR 620: Two Bills We Must Fight

HR 36 and HR 620: Two Bills We Must Fight

Photo of the Supreme Court building against a blue sky - a black text box on the lower half with white text: "HR 36 and HR 620: Two Bills We Must Fight - chronic sex"

After the good news that the Graham-Cassidy plan wasn’t going to be voted on, you might’ve thought we’d get a break.

Sadly, there are two bills right now that we need to fight.

HR 36: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

In 2015, the House approved this but the Senate did not. Unfortunately, Trent Franks in Arizona decided it was time to try again. It’s unknown right now if the Senate would approve this once it passes in the House, but Cheeto Voldemort has vowed to sign it if so.

What this bill does is make it illegal to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the fetus is 20 weeks or older. This is targeted toward abortion performers (i.e., doctors, etc), and those breaking this federal law would be subject to fines and/or jail time.

While people say this does not affect the person seeking the abortion, I doubt that is true. There are exceptions for rape, incest, and if the procedure is deemed medically necessary.

You can read the bill here. Note that the bill currently has support from representatives in just about every single state.

HR 620: ADA Education Reform Act of 2017

Contrary to what the title might suggest, HR 620 negatively impacts the ability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to work. The ADA, passed 27 years ago, was supposed to secure certain rights for those of us with disabilities. Instead, there is a lack of enforcement of the ADA, with businesses and schools getting away with not making necessary changes.
This bill would only make that worse. It would make it nearly impossible for many disabled people to make a formal complaint about ADA violations. The complaint would first have to be in writing with very specific language. If (or, really, when) the business/whatever fails to respond and/or update things, it’s then on the disabled person to gather data to send in.
There’s no reason for this. All this is doing is making it harder for us to report businesses that are not compliant with a nearly 30-year old law.
Check to see if your representatives are currently co-sponsoring this. See also the following articles:

What to do

Like with Graham-Cassidy, we’re going to have to get loud over these bills.

  • Contact your Senators
    • Call them at 844-859-3118
    • Use ResistBot
    • Talk to them on social media
    • Email
    • Fax
    • While you’re at it, tell them it’s unfair and illegal to strip the ACA’s funding
  • Protest and picket (if able)
  • Get loud on social media
    • Use tags like #savetheADA
  • Send letters to the editors or reach out to your local news to explain your concerns
You can also take a moment to contact members of the House Judiciary Committee as listed below:
  • Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06)
  • Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI-05)
  • Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21)
  • Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01)
  • Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49)
  • Rep. Steve King (IA-04)
  • Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08)
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04)
  • Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02)
  • Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
  • Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04)
  • Rep. Raúl Labrador (ID-01)
  • Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
  • Rep. Doug Collins (GA-09)
  • Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06)
  • Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04)
  • Rep. John Ratcliffe (TX-04)
  • Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01)
  • Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04)
  • Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05)
  • Rep. John Rutherford (FL-04)
  • Rep. Karen Handel (GA-06)
  • Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13)
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
  • Rep. Hank Johnson, Jr. (GA-04)
  • Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22)
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
  • Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37)
  • Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08)
  • Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01)
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
  • Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33)
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
  • Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10)