For pride month here at the SSD we want to highlight Queer Disabled Advocates and we will be starting our highlights with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. On Leah’s website she describes herself as “(she/they)… queer, autistic and disabled nonbinary femme writer, disability and transformative justice movement worker, curator and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The author or co-editor of ten books, they are 2020-2021 Disability Futures Gellow and a longtime performer with the disability justice collective Sins invalid.”
Leah’s most recent book is titled ‘The Future is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes, and Mourning Songs’ and before they knew that they were writing a book, it started out as essays that documented how they saw “disabled people – particularly disabled queer/trans and/or BIPOC people – fighting back, surviving and resisting Donald Trump, white supremacy, fascism, and climate change.” Once COVID hit Leah saw disabled people work to keep each other alive as they were already versed in isolation.
They wrote about grief, activism as protection and joy and it soon became important to discuss disabled futures. In a word where a future utopia eliminates disability Leah believes that “disabled wisdom is the key to our survival and expansion. Crip genius is what will keep us alive and bring us home to the just and survivable future we all need.” Specifically. Leah places importance on “Disability justice spaces filled with disabled Black and brown people for… BIPOC people to witness possible futures for ourselves.”
Leah released this book in 2022. As stated in her website bio Leah is a performer with Sins Invalid who are a “disability justice based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and LGBTQ/gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. Led by disabled people of colour, Sins Invalid’s performance work explores the themes of sexuality, embodiment and the disabled body, developing provocative work where paradigms of “normal” and “sexy” are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all bodies and communities”
This instagram post is only a small glimpse into the work that both Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Sins Invalid do. Please take the time to explore our resources as a starting point to educate yourself on both Leah and Sins Invalid and how the future truly is disabled.