The Boiling Point: Disability in The Handmaid’s Tale

The Boiling Point: Disability in The Handmaid's Tale. Image of Janine, a handmaid in a red robe with a white hat. One of her eyes is scarred over

Warning: spoilers for the book and first three episodes beyond this point!

After the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale aired on Hulu, folks were rightfully horrified by the scene where June (later known as Offred) and her fellow women coworkers were fired; the women in that fictional world also lost access to their bank accounts and credit cards, ushering in the Republic of Gilead, the authoritative regime that took over the country. While this scene was chilling, it didn’t impact or disturb me as much as intended. Why? Because this dystopian fiction is a reality for many disabled people, especially those who are multiply marginalized – like queer and trans disabled women of color. As a disabled latina, I’ve already lived through, and continue to live through, that scene in the show. Let me break down what I mean. … Read more…

The Geeky Gimp’s Best of 2016

The Geeky Gimp's Best of 2016. Image of Erin overlayed with fireworks.

While 2016 has been a difficult year for many, I want to reflect on my favorite things that helped me get through the hardest days. Our joy and entertainment, our binge-watching Netflix or slipping away for a few hours with a good book, will aid us now and in the coming years. I hope you enjoy my Best of 2016 list – in the comments below, let me know what you think of my choices, and what’s on your best-of list!

Best Video Game: Stardew Valley

Best video game: Stardew Valley by Chucklefish

By far my most-played game this year, clocking in at 129 hours and counting. You leave a dull office job and travel to Stardew Valley, a small, struggling community with a farm you’ve just inherited from your grandfather. By growing, harvesting, and selling crops, as well as caring for livestock, you earn enough money to expand your farm and help rebuild the derelict community center. You can also go fishing and mining to level up your character. The game never punishes you too much, and there are no time limits for the overall goals; this eliminates the boring grind of most farming sims. Despite all the hours put in, I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. Pick this up if you liked Harvest MoonAvailable on Steam. … Read more…

Recap of #CripTrek

#CripTrek Twitter Chat Recap over a starry background

Hey Trekkers/Trekkies! If you missed the live #CripTrek Twitter chat, you can read the recap below.

We need to keep the conversation going, so please continue using the #CripTrek hashtag to talk about disability representation in Star Trek! You can also share the recap on your own page – don’t hesitate to link to it or tweet about it.

Here is a link to the recap on Storify, or view it in the slideshow below. Thank you to everyone involved! Until then, live long and prosper.

#CripTrek: To Boldly Go Where No Crip Has Gone Before

#CripTrek header, logo on a star background, images of Geordi, 7 or 9, and Melora

Hey disabled Star Trek fans – let’s let CBS know we’re here and we want disability representation in their new series, Star Trek: Discovery! Using two hashtags, #StarTrekDiscovery and #CripTrek, share an idea, picture, video, audio recording, piece of writing, or other digital representation of YOU and your love of all things Trek. Maybe a pic of the Vulcan salute, a poem confessing your Spock and Bones ship, or a video acting out your favorite scene – be creative!

Lt Barclay, wearing yellow TNG uniformTweet at @StarTrekCBS and tell them why you want a disabled character in the cast! Post your contribution with the hashtags on Twitter or Instagram to make sure everyone sees your creation. You can also just share overall thoughts about disability and Trek using #CripTrek – we will keep the conversation going.

On September 1st at 7pm EST, I’ll host a Star Trek and disability Twitter chat along with Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project. The Disability Visibility Project™ is a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture.

To join that chat, log onto Twitter and follow @geekygimp. Starting at 7pm EST, I’ll start posting the questions below, and you can answer using the #CripTrek and #StarTrekDiscovery hashtags. If you have any questions or accessibility concerns, please get in touch with me through the contact page.

Thanks to Mike Mort and his design skills, we have this awesome #CripTrek graphic! Feel free to grab the image and use it as your social media profile pic of choice. The background is transparent to use as you wish. If you have trouble downloading, please contact me.

CripTrek logo is blue insignia with name below and a wheelchair in the insigniaRead more…

Star Trek and Disability Live Panel: Part Two

cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation standing in front of a blue background

Space, the final frontier…

You probably know by now I’m a huge Star Trek fan. It’s one of the few sci-fi shows to address disability directly; sometimes it gets it right, other times it doesn’t. But it gives us something to think about, and a vision of the future that still includes disability.

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of disabled Trekkers out there (the disabled population is huge in general) who like philosophizing about their favorite show – including my friends and me. We got together last year on Google Hangouts, and it was so much fun that we’ve decided to give it another go this past Friday, February 26th.

Missed the chat? No big deal. You can watch the recording below – subtitles are available!

Jump to:

 

The Live Event Recap


On February 26th at 8pm EST, I hosted a live panel on Star Trek and disability! We focused on a few topics, followed by a Q&A with questions from our viewers.

You can watch the event on my YouTube channel and above on the video.

I was joined by my friends and fellow Trekkers: Alice Wong, Andrew Pulrang, and Day Al-Mohamed. Meriah wasn’t able to make the event, but I will post her thoughts on Trek here soon.

The Panel


An woman smiling, wearing glasses and a green knit Yoda hatAlice Wong runs the Disability Visibility Project, a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. She’s also a fan of Spot the Cat.

 

A man smiling, wearing glasses, and a red shirtAndrew Pulrang is a disability blogger and a Star Trek fan. You can find him at www.disabilitythinking.com.

 

 

black and white photo of a woman smiling, wearing hoop earings and sunglasses atop her headDay Al-Mohamed is a part-time science fiction author, and a full-time science fiction fan. 🙂 Her first novel, “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” was published by DarkQuest books in 2014; her stories can be found in SFF magazines and anthologies. Her current project is a short historical film about the “Invalid Corps and the Battle of Fort Stevens” due out in 2016. She is an advocate and policy advisor and works on disability youth employment issues for the Federal government. Also, despite the fact she loves all kinds of tea, she loathes Earl Grey.

woman wearing blue cat eye glasses with blue streaked hair smilingErin Hawley runs The Geeky Gimp blog and YouTube channel. She is also the Digital Content Producer at Easter Seals Thrive, which promotes self-empowerment for young women with disabilities through online communities. Her favorite Trek series is TOS (and is obsessed with Spock), followed closely by DS9. She likes all kinds of tea, especially Earl Grey.

woman with short blondish hair, smilingMeriah Nichols is a deaf Humboldt Housewife who lives off the grid and coordinates the Two Thirds of the Planet (www.twothirdsoftheplanet.com) site via satellite. She writes about travel, disability and chickens at http://www.meriahnichols.com when she’s not. She likes her tea Earl Grey, and hot.

The Topics


Some topics we covered during the event:

  • Captain Pike (“The Menagerie” and “The Cage” episodes)
  • Lieutenant Barclay
  • Our favorite Star Trek foods and drinks
  • PTSD and Deep Space 9
  • JJ Abrams Trek
  • What would make an ideal Star Trek episode relating to disability?

How to Watch


Here is the link to the video: Star Trek and Disability Panel, Part Two

Join in the Conversation


Even though the show is over, we’d love to continue the conversation about Trek and disability. If you want to chat with fellow Trekkies and Trekkers, tag your tweets with #Trekability!

Accessibility


Subtitles are available on the video. Please send me an e-mail using the contact form for any suggestions for future events.

 

The Geeky Gimp Presents – Disability and Star Trek: live panel recording!

Video is closed-captioned, and the transcript is below!

In this live (recording) of our Google hangout, we chat about disability and Star Trek, including the episodes: “The Managerie,” “Melora,” “Ethics,” “The Loss,” and “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” We also discussed Geordi LaForge and the portrayal of blind characters, whether or not Data represents disability, and so much more!

The guests were:

Thank you to all my guests for a wonderful discussion! … Read more…

TV Review #1 – Star Trek: TNG’s “The Loss”

I am not a huge fan of The Next Generation, despite what my Pez dispenser and TNG comic collection might tell you. I haven’t seen every episode yet, but I’ve watched four seasons and I find it difficult to get through at times. I understand the appeal this show has for a lot of people, but many of the episodes are bogged down by meetings and negotiations. The Original Series, while also having meetings and plenty of talky moments, felt more balanced. This may have something to do with Kirk’s ability to challenge and oftentimes defy the Prime Directive, which leaves room for more action and conflict. Despite my somewhat negative outlook of the show, it is still great to analyze and discuss its plots and hit-or-miss attempts at social commentary. The episode I’m reviewing now, titled “The Loss,” is one that stuck out to me because of its weak attempt at disability discourse, and its ability to make my indifferent feelings about Troi switch to complete disgust in only 42 minutes.

Troi making people cry
Troi likes to make people cry.

The episode opens with Ensign Brooks in a counseling session with Troi. Brooks recently lost her husband, and seems to be in a state of denial. Troi reminds her that it would have been her husband’s 38th birthday, and shows her a music box she’s saved that belonged to him. Brooks breaks down and cries on Troi’s shoulder.

Cut to the bridge. Worf picks up something on the sensors that quickly disappears, and Data is unable to see anything with his equipment. As this is going on, Troi says goodbye to Brooks, and suddenly clutches her head in pain. She enters her room and passes out on the couch. And then…

SPACE! THE FINAL FRONTIER! You know the rest. The opening credits are the best (and least rage-inducing) part of this episode. That should tell you something about where I’m going with this review.

Picard orders Data to resume course to T’lli Beta because there is nothing showing up on the sensors. As soon as he says “Engage!”, the ship jolts and is unable to enter warp. They go to a full stop and yellow alert, but the Enterprise begins moving again – albeit very slowly. Some unknown force is pulling them along. After a failed attempt at breaking free, Data suggests immediate shutdown and Picard does his infamous “Make it so!” They continue to be pulled in the same direction and at the same speed.

Back in Troi’s room, we see her wake up and call Dr. Crusher. She says she feels dizzy, but isn’t sure what happened. After dealing with a few other crew injuries, Crusher arrives and wants to run an internuncial series on her in sick bay.  She’s still clearly in distress, so medical scans are probably a good idea.

Read more…