GimpGirl Moves to a New Sim

GimpGirl Community’s current Second Life sim will be closing as of May 11, 2013. In June, we will have a new Second Life space set up and will notify everyone when it opens! Until then, we will be taking a break after May 11 from regular scheduled meetings, so our last meeting for a few weeks will be the Hang Out Hour on May 8. We will announce the next meeting as we get closer to opening our new space on Second Life. In the meantime, you can get involved on Facebook and Twitter, or reach us on our website contact form.

A reminder to all current vendors and tenants: Our current Second Life sim will be completely shutting down as of May 11. Don’t wait until the last minute to save all of your objects! If you have anything on our parcel that is irreplaceable, please take it into your inventory as soon as possible. All vendor spaces and apartments will completely disappear on or around May 11. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns that we can assist you with.

GimpGirl Community’s 15th Anniversary Celebration

In February we celebrate GimpGirl Community’s 15th anniversary. We’ve come a long way since it was founded in 1998, however our mission remains the same — to support the lives of women with disabilities. We could not do this without the support of our members.

To mark this celebration we would like to ask you to submit your thoughts to us on what GimpGirl has meant to you. It could be a memory, a poem, a piece of creative writing or art work. We will showcase them on our website, Flickr, Second Life, Facebook and Twitter. We are also planning a celebration (details to come) where we will showcase some pieces and show art work in our Second Life gallery and on Flickr. We ask that these be submitted by 28th of February.

You can email your entry to us using the contact form on our website or add pictures to our Flickr group. You can also comment on this post with your memories. What is your first memory of GimpGirl? What is your favorite memory since being part of the community? We look forward to reading them!

Accessible Gynecologists

 

A common barrier faced by many women with disabilities is finding a gynecologist with an accessible office and the knowledge and flexibility to work with complications associated with various disabilities. Some time ago GimpGirl members got together to start a list of gynecologists that they had personal experience with and knew to be accessible. Not surprisingly, the list was not very long because of the relative rarity of accessible gynecologists.

However, we are constantly looking for more feedback to expand this list to include other states within the United States and other countries. This information is a vital tool to help other women finding doctors and facilities that they can work with. If you have personal experience with a doctor or facility you would recommend, please take a few minutes to anonymously fill out the Accessible Gynecologists Survey so we can make that information available to everyone!

If you don’t personally have anyone to recommend, consider passing on this information to your friends. Thank you to everyone who has helped gather this information!

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!

Spotlight: Sins Invalid

Every now and then we like to spotlight organizations other than our own that in some way support the voices of women with disabilities. Check out Sins Invalid!

What is Sins Invalid?

Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility (aka “Sins”) is a San Francisco/Bay Area based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. For the last five years, our performance work has explored themes of sexuality, embodiment, and the disabled body to sold-out audiences.

What people say…

The world of enforced and embodied norms constricts all of us, regardless of where we identify on the spectrums of sexuality, gender, or ability. In this project, people with disabilities are engaging in the wholeness of our bodies and our sexualities. When people experience our shows they are deeply impacted:

“I am moved beyond words, moved to an emotional state that I can’t quite explain. Thank you for making this space possible!” – audience member 2011

“You are brilliant and beautiful and help me remember that so am I.  Thank you.” – audience member 2011

“What makes Sins Invalid so powerful is that it thoroughly succeeds artistically and erotically, separate from the impact of its political message. Sins Invalid challenges its audience to think about sexuality, beauty, and disability in new and expanded ways. But Sins Invalid is also, quite simply, a hot, arousing, sexually charged evening of thought-provoking, imaginative sexual entertainment that only happens to be entirely by and about people with disabilities.” – David Steinberg, SFGate

Want to support Sins Invalid and their upcoming movie project? Visit their Kickstarter page and help them reach their goal by February 14th! Can’t donate? Just help by spreading the word to friends!

Engaging with the Community

Since the launch of our new website earlier this month, many of you might be wondering how to engage with our awesome community of women with disabilities outside of this website. Take a moment to look to the right of this post (on our website), where you will find a collection of icons (under “Follow Us!”) for various social media and online tools that GimpGirl uses. Each of these icons link to our specific group or page. They are a great way to find us around the Internet!

On Facebook, we have an amazing, active forum for posting links, sharing stories and ideas, and discussing various relevant topics. Outside of our weekly meetings on Second Life and our Chat Room (IRC), our Facebook group is probably the best way to connect with other women with disabilities.

What if you just want to keep track of blog posts or events? Twitter is our largest group, and is a great way to keep track of links to relevant news topics and GimpGirl’s events. You can view our Google calendar to see upcoming events, as well as subscribe to the calendar to see the event times in your time zone and sign up for notifications when events are getting close. If you use an RSS blog reader, you can add our RSS feed. If not, you can also follow our various groups and communities on FriendFeed.

Our Flickr community is a must-see, with member pictures, event snapshots, and various works of art. On LinkedIn, you can network with other women with disabilities on employment and other professional matters. If you would like to buy various items with our logo on them, visit our Zazzle store (hosted by NoPityCity).

So, what are you waiting for? Connect with us and join the conversation!

Stop SOPA/PIPA

We here at GimpGirl have a 14 year history of showcasing compelling, original stories that are the direct personal experiences of women with disabilities, as well as curating the best material to support our members in leading their kickass lives.  We get to tell innovative, creative stories that no-one else is telling.

If SOPA/PIPA passes, it could genuinely become too expensive and too much of a potential legal problem for us to be able to continue our curation practices, or even to tell stories where women say things like “I saw a movie and it inspired me to change my life.”  Or worse, it could mean that Google considers this too much of a risk to index our site, so we won’t be able to be found by women looking for information.  Under SOPA/PIPA, ANYWHERE that people express themselves – our site, our LiveJournal, our Facebook group, our Twitter, our Second Life – could become too much of a legal risk or get shut down.

Please support SOPA/PIPA actions today to keep the Internet free and safe for everyone – especially rarely heard voices like women with disabilities.

Here are some links on PIPA/SOPA:

Clay Shirky gives a 10 minute speech on the topic (video, not
subtitled) – http://www.ted.com/talks/defend_our_freedom_to_share_or_why_sopa_is_a_bad_idea.html

Fight for the Future
http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa
(Subtitled version of video here:
http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/5A31ep7v6HFd/)

Google’s Take Action Page
https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/

Huffington Post on the blackout:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/01/18/sopa-blackout-internet-censorship_n_1211905.html

Mashable on the blackout:
http://mashable.com/2012/01/18/sopa-dark-ages/

The New Year

When most people think of New Year’s resolutions, they picture easily made and easily broken promises. I like to think of the New Year as a time for reflection and self-guidance — a time to look back on the year behind us and what we have learned from those experiences, and a time to look forward into the new year to see how we can use those lessons to get closer to our goals.

Most of the GimpGirl regulars know that, for me, the last year has been one filled with a great deal of difficulty. The summer saw a sudden end to my long-term relationship, which sparked an interstate move and an endless cascade of problems with arranging social services and dealing with various other issues, on top of continuing school and my work here at GimpGirl. It has not been easy, to say the least. At times it looked as if I would end up in a group or nursing home on a long-term basis, something I fight very hard to avoid. It has been soul crushing, heartbreaking, and has tested every ounce of my somewhat renown tenacity.

As a disabled disability advocate, I feel it is important to share this experience. Sharing experience is a big part of how our community learns from each other. I often encounter assumptions that advocates don’t experience the same kinds of struggles and barriers that many other people do. We do, and it is just as difficult for us. We also know that what we do for ourselves affects those that come after us.

I have learned so much in the last six months. More than I ever thought possible. I have learned even more about navigating the system, what housing options are available to people with disabilities, what specific terminology to use when being assessed for caregiver funding, federal laws and statutes, and a multitude of other things. What I was reminded of more than anything was to stick by who I am as an individual. I am worthy, and the goals I set for myself are worthy. It was a reminder to not let anyone change me, because who I am is pretty awesome even if not everyone thinks so. It was also a reminder of how vitally important having a community is. Without my GimpGirl family – all of you amazing women who understand what facing these struggles is like – all of this would have been unbearable. When I was tired, these reminders would echo through my mind, keeping me from giving up when everything was telling me to.

As I go forward into the new year, I will take those lessons with me into my own life and in my work with GimpGirl. I am already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but I know that in order to fully realize what I want from my own life I will face many obstacles in the months to come. However, having looked back at the previous year, I know that I can face it. I know that the struggle is worth it. I know that I am worth every bit of energy I put into myself and my dreams. I believe in myself, probably more than I ever have after facing all of this.

I look forward to the year ahead. I look forward to working with other volunteers to make GimpGirl an even better community, with more community-created content and outreach. As we begin our 14th year together, I look forward to getting to know all of you even more. I am grateful for every one of you.

— in solidarity… Jennifer Cole

GimpGirl Community Moves to New Second Life Home, in Collaboration with the Experiential Design and Gaming Environment Lab at Ryerson University

 


GimpGirl Community Moves to New Second Life Home, in Collaboration with the Experiential Design and Gaming Environment Lab at Ryerson University

September 15, 2010 – The GimpGirl Community, an international online support network for women with disabilities, is launching its new home within the virtual world of Second Life, in collaboration with the Experiential Design and Gaming Environment (EDGE) Lab at Ryerson University, based in Toronto, Canada.

GimpGirl Community was established in 1998 as a support network and resource center for women with disabilities. One of the first of its kind, it has brought together women with disabilities, allies, and supporters from around the world, using various Internet-based platforms. GimpGirl Community is active on several sites, including Flickr, LiveJournal, the social networking platforms of Facebook and Twitter, and its own website forums, among others.

Since February 2008, GimpGirl has maintained land within the virtual world of Second Life, previously sponsored by 3D Embodiment. This in-world environment includes space for weekly support group meetings, events and presentations, and areas to showcase art and items for sale created by community members, along with residential areas.

The EDGE lab is a transdisciplinary research lab exploring virtual and mixed-reality applications at the intersection of developing technologically embedded social and cultural practices, and shifting economic landscapes. The lab is supported with funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ministry for Research and Innovation of the Province of Ontario.

This new partnership will allow us to expand and more fully utilize our presence on Second Life and beyond,” said Jennifer Cole, program director of the GimpGirl Community. “Our goal is to create and maintain spaces online where women with disabilities can express themselves, support each other, and and engage their creativity.”

The new partnership with the EDGE Lab will allow GimpGirl Community access to the lab’s research and development infrastructure for the exploration of virtual and mixed-reality projects. The partnership will also increase traffic to the GimpGirl Community presence in Second Life, and ultimately support all of the community platforms used by the GimpGirl Community. This will allow for continued and exciting improvements in how the GimpGirl Community can reach out and support the lives of women with disabilities it connects with every day.

A “moving party” will take place within Second Life on September 19th, 2010 from 12 PM to 3 PM (PDT), which will include live music, as well as a DJ and dance party, a tour, and a guided storytelling hour. The event will also be accessible outside of Second Life via the GimpGirl Community website chat room and audio stream, and related projects and discussions will take place across the various GimpGirl Community outposts on the web.

For more information, visit http://www.gimpgirl.com.

Contact:
GimpGirl Community
info@gimpgirl.com

Dr. Jason Nolan
Director
Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab
Ryerson University
jnolan@ryerson.ca
http://ryerson.ca/~edgelab