GimpGirl Turns 14

Today marks the 14th anniversary of GimpGirl Community! We have taken many forms in the last 14 years, but our mission has always remained the same: to bring together women with disabilities in the spirit of mutual support and positivity. That single mission brings together individuals with many different disabilities from a variety of countries and backgrounds to share our commonalities.

Our community’s administrators and facilitators have always been women with disabilities who volunteer their time because they believe that our community should be strengthened from within by people who understand the lived experience of being a woman with a disability.

We have also grown through the support of many others. Indeed, it is through volunteerism, in-kind donations of services, creative management of available resources and the use of open source and free to use online tools that we have survived and flourished.

Do you have any stories, anecdotes or favorite memories of your time with GimpGirl? We would love to hear from you on your experience of the last 14 years!

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About Jennifer Cole

Jennifer Cole (SL: JennyLin Arashi) is a founding member and Director of the GimpGirl Community. Jennifer is also a research associate in the Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab at Ryerson University. She has worked with Oregon Public Health to create state policy recommendations around women with disabilities and sexual health. Jennifer currently resides in Washington State. She is an invited speaker and author on topics such as disability, social media, technology and sexuality.

5 thoughts on “GimpGirl Turns 14

  1. I found GimpGirl in 2010, after being referred here by another web-based organization. At GimpGirl, I found the support and camaraderie I had been longing for as a young adult woman with disabilities. Shortly after joining, I realized how much the organization had already helped me and began volunteering my time. GimpGirl is amazing and I would encourage people to support it in whatever way they can!

  2. I’ve been involved in the GimpGirl staff since 2008 and have the unique honor of having spoken all over the country and the internet bringing the voices of our wonderful women to a larger audience. My favorite story is about a girl who joined Second Life and found her way to us on her very first day. It turned out the girl was looking for help using Second Life with a stick in her mouth from the bed in her parents’ basement that she was confined to most of the time. Months later when we saw her again in group, she had gotten married in Second Life, had a virtual baby, had a virtual job, and was raising money for kids with cancer through Relay For Life. All of these things (relationships, dating, sex, babies, work, fundraising) would have been extremely difficult for her to negotiate if she had to get her parents’ assistance and aid, as parents often see even adults with disabilities as perpetual infants because they’re in need of more assistance than other adult children. I love telling this story because I like talking about the power of the Internet to liberate people and to give them a safe place to be themselves, and GimpGirl is that place.

  3. It’s hard to pick a favorite memory — but I think it’s got to be a party we had in Second Life. I had been feeling bitter and alienated, and one of y’all talked me through making a 2nd Life avatar for the first time so I could come to the party virtually embodied and chat and dance with folks. I remember flying around in the air in a steampunk wheelchair over the dancers at the GimpGirl disco party, blasting the music, feeling free and not alone anymore, and crying a little.

  4. I thought about a my favorite memory for a few days (14 years takes a long time to process!), but I keep coming back to all of the little things that happen in so many ways during GimpGirl events and in our forums. All those conversations that people have to fill in pieces of information they need in order to improve autonomy, self-advocacy, and life in general. All the connections people have made with others who “get” their experience. All the lessons and kickass successes we share. They all fill my memory of the last 14 years and I am so grateful to have been part of it.

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