All posts by BeingCharis

Fashion, androgynous, and artistic model with Ankylosing Spondylitis Queer Disabled Speaker Writer

Love 6-ft Apart – I Met My Partner At the Beginning of a Pandemic

I met my partner at a 2020 Christmas Potluck for queers. We had like three dates. Then they moved to Fresno for a month for work, then the pandemic happened and I began sheltering at home as a #HighRiskCovid19 person. So we were physically separated for half the start of our relationship. Then we said we love you over a fire in my back yard after getting drunk together many times without being allowed to touch each other. And then we adopted a cat. After I nearly died (here’s the link to that story).
Below, my new (!) partner and I share a bit of our story that continues to develop behind the scenes in the midst of a global pandemic rivaling the flu of 1918.
I’ve already told a lot of you that I now use they/them/their pronouns. You can learn more about what that means here.

A dark photo of a white-appearing person looking over a back yard fire as its light shines on their face
Fires have become our ritual. This is one of many we’ve had over the course of our socially-distanced dating, a particularly special one. We said we loved each other that night.

From Emily

Last week, I saw my partner of now four months and we took a rare drive out of their backyard to Sutter’s Landing where we sat on an American flag and drank whiskey out of a prescription bottle. They rolled up their pants and went into the water while I got stubbornly sunburnt. We drove around the city, masks on, seats covered, windows down. We are loving each other during a global pandemic and sometimes it means learning to be with someone, 6-ft apart.

Continue reading Love 6-ft Apart – I Met My Partner At the Beginning of a Pandemic

Coronavirus Messaging Impacts High-Risk Communities

During an interview for a local paper about COVID-19 (Coronavirus), my mayor said: “Yes, people have died, mostly people who were in fragile condition.”

His statement was not unusual; it is messaging commonly used by public health officials, elected representatives, and media outlets when discussing public health threats; whether that threat is influenza, H1N1, COVID-19 or another infectious or viral disease.

 

While the purpose of public service announcements is to quell fear, the underlying message from statements like the mayor’s is this: healthy people are considered, the threat is downplayed, and high-risk populations are left to fend on our own. If a public health threat is, by default, advertised as only causing “mild symptoms for most people,” then healthy people – who don’t see their own lives or health at risk – will not perceive the seriousness of preventing its spread to vulnerable groups.

If the central theme is that healthy people needn’t worry, that’s the message that will routinely be broadcast. And when public messaging from reputable sources is treated as fact, it can then be weaponized against anyone who suggests differently.

Continue reading Coronavirus Messaging Impacts High-Risk Communities

Here’s Why I Endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President

My entrance into hands-on political engagement began in 2008.

President Barack Obama was the first president I could vote for after I turned 18. I volunteered for him in both 2008 & 2012 & shook his hand at a rally a week before the 2008 election. His hand was soft & wrinkly & thin. I didn’t wash my hand for a week for good luck (ok, yes, I know that’s gross).

I grew up overhearing whispers about President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, his iconic, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” soundbite & then the grumbling about President George W. Bush’s “nuke-yule-er” pronunciation & his politics.

Obama restored my patriotism. I remember wanting to be a proud American again during his campaign and after his first election.

In college (2007 – 2008) I researched media portrayal of US womxn running for President & Vice President. There were only four to research: Shirley Chisholm (#BlackHistory), Geraldine Ferraro, Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton. Since then, the number of womxn who’ve viably run for president has more than doubled.

For me, since college, jobs, moves across the country & buying my house; I’ve continued to be politically involved in different ways.

Since being diagnosed with AS, a debilitating progressive disease (watch my TEDx talk about it), I’ve seen a lot of politics via my healthcare advocacy/activism on local, state, & federal levels.

I know how politics work on the inside, from the outside, is what I’m saying. Continue reading Here’s Why I Endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President

Disability Justice: 2020 Sacramento Women’s March

I spoke at the 2020 Sacramento Women’s March about disability justice.

Below is video (by Denice Ristau) and the transcript.


Disability Justice



Transcript:

Is there power in standing up?

That was a trick question.

Is there power in sitting down?

I’m disabled whether I’m standing or sitting. And I’m powerful both ways!

So, let’s change this phrasing: is there power in showing up?


Let me tell you about Rosa.

Rosa May Billinghurst would ram her wheelchair into police during protests in the early 1900s. She continued using her wheelchair to make a path for herself even after being violently thrown out of her chair intentionally damaged by police.

Rosa was called “the cripple suffragette.”

Rosa claimed her space and she made it known she would be counted as a disabled woman and nothing less.

So I’m here to tell you:

Continue reading Disability Justice: 2020 Sacramento Women’s March