Out of Order

Because we want to get disorderly to get our community’s needs out there.

Because our bodies and identities challenge the order by existing outside of the norm.

Because of the righteous indignation and arduous / creative solution that comes from getting off at one of the few accessible underground SEPTA stations only to find that the elevator is out of service.

Crip the Trans Health Conference!

PTHC 2016
[Image: An icon, made of a curved line that forms three quarters of a circle, with a short crossing line at one end, and an arrow at the other end. The crossed end is lavender and the arrow end is deeper purple. To the right of the icon, lavender and purple letters reading “15th Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, A Program of Mazzoni Center, June 9 – 11, 2016”]
Rebecca is a cofounder of OoOP, a member of the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference’s disability working group, and an accessible transportation enthusiast.


Hello disabled queers! I’m thrilled that Out of Order will be a part of the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference this year. We’re gonna make 2016 the most criptastic PTHC ever, but we need your help…

Call for Workshop Proposals on Trans* and Disability

Please spread the word to friends and colleagues!

The 2016 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (PTHC) will be held June 9–11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (Philadelphia, PA).

PTHC hosts over 200 workshops each year. The success of the event is dependent upon the experience and expertise of the community, so we are currently soliciting workshop proposals that explore the intersections of disability and trans* identities. We favor constructive works that work towards education, empowerment, and improving conditions. The deadline for submission is January 30, 2016. All workshops are 60 minutes long.

We embrace a broad definition of disability, including physical disabilities, chronic illness, neurodivergence, sensory impairments, mental illness (and mad pride), intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and more.

We are specifically seeking workshop proposals that address the topic of disability and gender as it relates to: Continue reading “Crip the Trans Health Conference!”

Why This

Jesse HK is a cofounder of OoOP.

Contents: transphobia in medical settings including references to anatomy, dismissive doctors, the ‘it’s all in your head’ phenomenon.

There are so many reasons I need a movement that thinking about it gives me writer’s block. In lieu of anything more elegant, here are a few of those reasons.

 I need a movement because: I was told by a doctor that I had, in my mid twenties, developed dyslexia and that was why I was in so much pain and couldn’t walk right.

I have spent so much of my life fighting to get access to quality medical care. I’ve watched countless doctors weigh the options: try to address my symptoms, or send me away, usually by declaring that it’s ‘all in my head’ while the utter lack of psych referrals given lets me know that they don’t really think that’s the case. Rare disorders, multi-systemic problems — those go on the ‘do not treat’ side of the pro-con list. So does my gender. I’m trans, and it’s too often treated as proof positive that my health problems can be dismissed. Everything gets blamed on it. That ringing in my ears? Despite having no medical basis and no experience working with patients who are on hormones, I’m going to say it’s the T. Note: It’s not the testosterone. Continue reading “Why This”

An open letter to my Loftstrand crutch, regarding the other Friday.

[image: a view of my legs dangling over the edge of a big rock with my crutch tucked between my knee and my shin with distant forests and farms in the background]

Jesse HK is a cofounder of OoOP and apologizes for this silliness. Contents: Lofstrand crutches (aka forearm crutches – those ones that go to just below the shoulder), hiking adventures, potentially cliched essay formats.

I really shouldn’t have done it. I’d already been hiking that morning and the day before, and my knee was acting up in painful ways. The trail was way steeper and more rugged than I expected, like a giant staircase made out of rock, when I’m supposed to avoid staircases of the ordinary variety. And you, well, most days now you sit propped in a corner, sheltered from weather and city streets as I go out with my AFOs [ankle-foot orthoses] and maybe a folding cane.

In some ways this is for the best — I never dislocated a collarbone until I started walking with a crutch — but I miss your presence by my side. For a year you were my constant companion. You inspired questions and concerns that bordered on the ridiculous and forced me to choose between holding a slice of pizza and getting the hair out of my face, but we’ve had good times nonetheless. For every “What did you do to your arm?” and “Oh, you have to use a crutch? That’s so sad” we have had adventures and expeditions and trips to CVS. I took you places, you gave me support.

When you arrived I consigned my first crutch, a cheap turquoise number that enchanted small children and killed my wrists, to a place in the closet. You are solid, steady, and ergonomically designed, the continuation in the lineage of my mobility devices Continue reading “An open letter to my Loftstrand crutch, regarding the other Friday.”


Q: Am I queer/trans/disabled enough to join?

A: We are an inclusive movement – if you’re asking, we’re willing to bet the answer is yes. There’s no litmus test. Asexual, bisexual, gay, genderqueer, pansexual, or transgender; chronically ill, sick, disabled, neurodivergent, mad, or have (or could have) a psych diagnosis, we want you here, and that list is far from exclusive.

Q: Why do you need an organization?

A: Access to resources and opportunities is a social justice issue. When a queer or trans disabled person can’t access medical care because of homophobia and transphobia or can’t access queer events and community resources because those spaces don’t accommodate their disability, we have a serious problem.

From a simple lack of wheelchair ramps to the complexities of navigating housing and medical care, we deal with unnecessary limits and barriers. A peer-led organization run by us and for us can work to take down those barriers. On top of that, creating a space that embraces our identities and sees accommodation as needs, not as special requests for out-of-the-ordinary treatment, can be a transformative experience.

Q: Why queer or trans and disabled or ill?

A: Our community has to deal with unique problems, and we need an organization that does work at that intersection of identities. A group for disabled or sick people where we have to worry about homophobia or transphobia or a group for queer and trans people that doesn’t address disability and illness can’t do that.

Our stories of exclusion and discrimination are both shocking and shockingly common. It’s not a matter of isolated incidents. It’s a matter of civil rights.

Q: Can you tell me what accessible locations I can use within this price range with these features for an event next month?

A: No. We’re looking at survival level issues here – we have to focus our energy on our own community rather than on providing services outside our community, even if we really really support your decision to take action for accessibility.

Q: Aren’t words like “queer” and “cripple” offensive?

A: Kind of. Sometimes. I might self-identify as a cripple in the long tradition of reclaiming slurs and insults, but that doesn’t mean you should use the term to describe other people or that all disabled or chronically ill folks are cool with the term. It’s all about context.

Got a question about OoOP? Drop us a line at OutOfOrderPhiladelphia (at) gmail.com

Personal narrative: Coming out, takes 1 and 2.

Jesse HK is a cofounder of OoOP and a proud queer crip. Content: coming out as trans, coming out as disabled.

I don’t remember when I realized I was disabled. I’m not sure when I realized I was trans, either. By and large, my coming out process was less one of walking out of a closet and more one of emerging: I didn’t know, and then I knew, there was very little time spent knowing but not telling. At the same time, I knew I wasn’t supposed to be either. I’m not only queer but non-binary and transmasculine. There was a whole wealth of information telling me that my gender was not ok, and even now that I have medical diagnoses I am discouraged from accepting my disability. If I mention planning for a life that will work around the progression of my conditions, I’m admonished. I need to think positively, forget that thinking about a satisfying future that works with my conditions is in fact positive thinking.

They’re what I’m not supposed to be. They’re dangerous. They’re the start of a tragic storyline.

To speak casually: screw that. Continue reading “Personal narrative: Coming out, takes 1 and 2.”

Come As You Are

We are an inclusive movement. We use the broadest definitions of queer, trans, and disabled: If you experience first-hand the need for greater accessibility or acceptance of physical or psychological diversity, you are one of us. There is no litmus test for queer or trans identity. If your sexual orientation or gender identity depart from the hetero-/cis- norm in any way, we accept you.

Society limits our participation and pushes us to limit our identities to fit into the prescribed boxes. We’d rather work on a limitless view of accessibility built on true inclusivity and respect for the inherent worth of every individual, and that starts with respecting your identity. There’s no entry exam or list of approved identities – we trust you on this, and we’d spend all our time adding terms to the list when there are better things to work on.

Solidarity and shared experiences let us celebrate our resilience and recognize our strength as a larger community. Learning from and listening to each other creates a supportive environment to envision a radically different reality. Policing identities is not a part of that.