Queering the Crip/Cripping the Queer

What does it mean to reclaim the
terms “queer,” “crip,” or “freak” as
signifiers of personal identity? How
have sexuality and disability changed meaning
over time? How do images of queer and
disabled sexuality differ? These were some of
the questions explored in CLAGS’s Fall 2003
Seminars in the City series, Queering the
Crip/Cripping the Queer: Introduction to Queer
and Disability Studies.
In monthly meetings at the LGBT
Community Center, participants explored the
similarities, differences, intersections, and
conflicts between Queer Studies and Disability
Studies. The series began with a presentation
by Simi Linton of Hunter College, whose book,
Claiming Disability, was the first assigned text.
Other reading assignments included Eli Clare’s
Exile and Pride and Fleischer and Zames’ The
Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to
Confrontation, in addition to shorter readings by
queer and disabled scholars and activists.
Led by Sarah Chinn of Hunter College,
and CLAGS Board members Kim Christensen of
Purchase College, and Peter Penrose of the
Graduate Center, the semester-long seminar
was open to academics, activists, and interested
community members free of charge. Contact
the CLAGS office for information on future
offerings in its Seminars in the City series.

Beth Kling is a freelance writer who lives in
Brooklyn.