Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2014-05-22

All Bodies Deserve Health Care: Great Video Resource!

My friend Kelli Dunham, a stand-up comic and nurse, posted a video she made about planning for unplanned health care and I think it is one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen about how complicated it is to have a non-normative body while trying to navigate the health care system. I absolutely had to share it with my readership.

If you can’t watch a video right now–repeat this mantra, “I deserve health care.” Then keep repeating it until you have six minutes to watch the video and receive some really great, practical, funny advice.

I think a lot about how much worse Dara’s cancer treatment would be if she had waited. Believe me, it sucks a lot, but it could be worse… Luckily right now her care is considered “curative.”

240134641_117c66a8d5_o (1)Here’s Kelli Dunham with her late partner, Heather MacAllister, who worked to inspire all folks to take care of their minds and bodies. Her parting words are in this blog post I wrote five years ago about my own medical self advocacy.

I’m really thankful Dara’s lump was found when it was. But if she had waited to get her annual GYN exam she might not have caught the lump in time for it to be stage 2. I mean, Dara is not boob identified so even though once I knew it was there I could feel the lump it wasn’t super likely it would just get found on its own, and without her doctor’s insistence she might not have had it biopsied for quite some time.

It really touched me in Kelli’s video when she talked about how even folks who haven’t gotten “that lump” checked out deserve health care. Because they do! It’s so hard to advocate for yourself and it takes time to realize that you probably need to deal with the hassle and cost of health care.

The more hassle you get being a fat, disabled, gender non-conforming, otherwise marginalized person in the health care system the more likely you are to need your health care situation to actually feel or seem extremely urgent to get health care. Which, sadly, means that health care issues that are easier/cheaper to address if they’re caught early, are much harder to deal with and sometimes no longer curable.

One of the biggest motivating forces behind my work as a body liberation activist is getting people to love their bodies enough to take care of them and to dismantle the system that pathologizes fat people just for their fat. My beloved step mother died at age 48 after being prescribed fen-phen–she was being treated for her fat not her actual symptoms. What a fucking hassle to have a body that is immediately targeted and treated incorrectly because people buy the myth that fat is automatically unhealthy. This happens far too often.

11873829985_1d0d81bcc4_zMy step mom Liz, in Yosemite, sometime in the early 90s.

I also know way too many fat, gender non-conforming queers who have passed before their time because of a lack of healthcare that can squarely be blamed on systemic fatphobia.

So watch this video. Pocket this info. Regardless of what your own situation is, maybe you’ll learn something that will be helpful to pass along to a friend when the time comes. And repeat the mantra, “I deserve healthcare.”

10290632_10152377167780340_6190868267996805814_nKelli designed this awesome low-fi photo of Glenn Marla with his iconic phrase!

2010-01-18

FemmeCast Video Podcast Episode 2: Heather MacAllister’s Embodying Fat Liberation

I have switching the FemmeCast Video Podcast hosting to Blip.tv because you tube no longer allows videos longer than 10 minutes.

I really hope you’ll pull up a cupcake and cozy in for 13 minutes. Heather’s piece is very accessible, chronicles the history of the Fat Bottom Revue (the fat burlesque troupe she founded) and also speaks to the need to use the body in order to work against fat oppression.

“We will never have our freedom if we only live from the neck up, yet that is the way that many fat people live, even, or especially, the fat activists and academics among us… The oppression of anti-fat hatred is sited on the body, and it is in the body that these wounds can be healed.” —Heather MacAllister

On the video the piece is read by Kelli Dunham, butch comedien correspondent for FemmeCast.

You can read the piece in its entirety, as well as 50 other pieces in the Fat Studies Reader. You should try to get it at your local indie bookstore (and make sure they order an extra copy for their shelf). If you buy anything from Amazon through my links my website gets a small referral fee, which basically gets me more books and music. (I got a free copy of the next Femme Book Club book, Leather Daddy and the Femme thanks to my reader’s clicking generosity.

Heather continues to be a huge inspiration for me. I am working on an oral history project collecting people’s stories about Heather.*

I am also collecting a slide show of photos of her for the Heather MacAllister Memorial Community Lounge at Re/Dress NYC–please send any digital photos you have.

We will be having a naming ceremony for the lounge on Friday, February 12 at 9PM as part of the Glutton For Fatshion Zine** Release Party at Re/Dress NYC. It’s a free event!

*If you knew her, would you please get in touch with me?
**The Glutton For Fatshion Zine call for submissions is going on through January 22. Read it at the link and submit!

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