#QVWBody: Jasmine Morrell

"The first question I ask people is 'What do you want?'"

Jasmine Morrell of Spirited Tattooing Coalition took us through the process and philosophy of getting a tattoo, something they described as an act of freedom and an act of resistance.

"What do you want?" Your tattoo choices tell how you want to be seen in the world. They are signifiers. What do you want to world to know?

"What do you want?" Getting a tattoo is an in-depth experience. It's subcutaneous. And it's important to Jasmine that the experience that people have with them is meaningful and memorable. "People walk away with the experience." they said.

"What do you want?" Jasmine, as a queer trans person of color, calls the experience of self-ownership, as represented by tattoos, vital. "I've had people look at my tattoos and try to take my name away from me."

"What do you want?" Jasmine continued, "claiming your body is for you and you alone... This is for you... You don't have to talk to people about your tattoos. Conversely, having a tattoo is freeing. And it doesn't have to have meaning. It's taking control of your body. Which in itself is a political statement."

"So, what do you want?"

#QVWBody: Ricky Cintron

"Our instructor told us our bodies were like piece of fabric. When you have sex, it puts a hole in the fabric. Now who wants something with holes in it."

Struggling with Christian theology despite a love of Jesus and a Catholic School upbringing, Ricky Cintron converted to Hinduism. He was looking for a way to reconcile his sexuality with his sense of some spiritual in his life. 

In Hinduism he found a reconciling of sorts, but did was it complete? "A lot of teaching tells us that our true nature is the soul." He said.  "That means we're all equal, right?"

He found, however, that talking about true equality or intersectionality was difficult within the faith tradition.

"When I would try to talk about sexuality or gender or race, I would get shut down. 'These are all material things. That's divisive,' they would say."

As a queer person of color, Ricky felt that being told that talking about race is decisive was hurtful. There had to be a way to be himself completely, all the parts of himself.

He began to acutely feel a division between body and spirit. "In both of these religious traditions I was told to affirm my spirit at the expense of my body."

I had a crisis of faith. If you haven't had one, let me tell you, they're a lot of fun.

After 8 years a practicing Hindu, we picked up a Bible again. He began attending queer-affirming church services and investigating anew the way that he could be whole, body and soul. "One of the most healing things has been meditating on the fact that Jesus Christ had a body. Just like ours."

Ricky closed his Queer Voice in the World talk by asking the question "How do we begin to heal the divide between body and spirit?"

While acknowledging that he didn't have all the answers he suggested, "For those of us who are spiritual, I think we need to go deeper with our theology. We need to stop seeing the body and spirit as irreconcilable."

I've grown beyond seeing myself as a flimsy piece of fabric. I am so much more than that.

#QVWBody: Barry Eichner

Growing up in Nebraska, Barry Eichner was found he was too effeminate to fly under the radar. "I was crucified every day," he says. "I was so jealous of the guys who passed."

As an adult, living in Philadelphia, the photographer and yoga instructor, heard echoes of the verbal attacks he suffered now being directed at Caitlyn Jenner after she announced her transition. "The idea of gender really fucked with people, so I decided to fuck with gender."

An artist who loves to photograph movement, muscle, and expression, he enlisted models and friends to pose for a campaign that flouted the conventions of gender. #GenderIs asks what happens--what changes--when the same model presents in different ways. Muscle daddy, fairy princess, casanova: are they are the same? Does it matter?

#QVWBody: Rachel Stevenson

Rachel Stevenson is the second speaker in our program. A professional motivational speaker and nutrition coach, she asked us to visualize our inner child. And she did that by showing us hers:

She presented the idea of a label-less child and the labelled adult and walked us through the process of deconstructing the influences that affect us.

After losing over a hundred pounds in 2009, she realized that changing the exterior didn't necessarily change the interior. "I learned how to cook healthy but I didn't learn to change my labels."

By returning to ways that she labelled herself as a child and focusing on the attributes of herself, physically and mentally, that she loved and the people that supported her, she was able to create new labels. Some may contradict or go against what we're programmed to believe, but they're all hers.

#QVWBody: Dr. Timaree Schmit

"No matter how much space it occupies or how long it's been on the planet or what it can do, we believe that bodies are good."

Dr. Schmit just finished a wonderful opening talk introducing the ideas of sex-positive feminism

At her Catholic high school in NE, the analogy for sex that was give was tape, used once and then ruined. That doesn't jibe with her view of life. "We have to remember that our value is intrinsic."

Dr. Schmit implored the crowd to reject society's limits on our bodies. "To love yourself in world that tells you that you're good enough and your body is good enough is a radical act. It is an act of supreme rebellion."

"Your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest... You will grow back over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated."

QVW: Body Questions

Doors open in an hour!

Upon arriving, attendees will be invited to discuss these opening questions. If you're following along at home or on the go, feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #QVWBody

  • How do we, as LGBTQ communities view our bodies? Is it largely negative? Largely positive?

  • Does the way we feel and talk about body change with age? Is it different in various subcultures?

  • Think about the way we change our bodies—modification, surgery, weight loss, weight gain, exercise and augmentation. Are there ways that we change our bodies that are affected by our queerness?

  • Think about the way we use our bodies? What are ways that we use the body that can be labelled as queer?



Queer Voice in the World: Body

After a successful launch in 2015, we’re bringing back our intersectional and queer ideas talk series. Queer Voice in the World invites thinkers, provocateurs, storytellers and change agents to give brief TED-style takes on a common theme.

This month the theme is “Body”—body acceptance, body modification, physical ability and more. The talks will be followed by world cafe-style discussion groups guided by the insight and challenges presented by the speaker. Come for a fun, stimulating evening of good ideas, big questions and, more than anything, hope for a changing world.

Refreshments and World Cafe-style discussions during the program.

Dr. Timaree Schmit, Sex with Timaree
Barry Eichner, SuiteBE Photography
Jasmine Morrell, Spirited Tattoo Coalition
Ricky Cintron, former priest
Rachel Stevenson, ReshapingYOU

Follow our blog and Twitter feed below to keep up with the conversation and add your own thoughts.