Finding aid to the Fabled Asp Collection, 1986-2010

Finding aid written by Tim Wilson
James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Title: Fabled Asp Collection
Identifier/Call Number: GLC 142
Date (inclusive): 1986-2010
Physical Description: 5 Cubic Feet (5 cartons) and extensive digital files
Contributing Institution: James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Abstract: Fabled Asp is a multimedia archive that documents forty years of activist history and creativity. The project illuminates the myriad ways disabled lesbians have been moving against invisibility through civil rights actions, theater, dance, sports, and visual arts. The collection contains the oral histories, photographs, organizational files, documents and ephemera from events, and digital documents and events from Fabled Asp. The paper records include files that cover the arrangements for the Special Needs area for the 1986 San Francisco Pride celebration. There is good representation of photos, flyers, and team play diagrams for the Bay Area Meteorites, and the East Bay Pirates, both women's wheelchair basketball teams. Many files concern the planning and production of the 2010 exhibition at the San Francisco Public.
Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

UNPROCESSED COLLECTION. Contact Hormel LGBTQIA Center archivist for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright retained by Fabled Asp (Laura Rifkin) during her lifetime. Photographers retain copyright for their photographs. Poets retain copyright of their poems. Oral histories filmed by GJ Stillson MacDonnell and Helen Walsh may be used under Fair Use for educational purposes; however, permission of the filmmakers must be sought for commercial/profit use. Silvia Kohan's work is being donated to the San Francisco Public Library. Additional copyright and use specifications available from LGBTQIA Archivist.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Fabled Asp Collection (GLC 142), LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Laura Rifkin, January 21, 2015.

Biographical / Historical

FABLeD ASP is an acronym for Fabulous Activist Bay Area Lesbians with Disabilities: A Storytelling Project. Since the founding of Fabled Asp in 2010, they've been recording oral histories that capture these rarely-heard stories. This community collaboration has so far collected over 80 stories about disabled lesbian history and culture, using audio-booth dialogues in collaboration with StoryCorps, video documentaries, art and film pieces, and digital stories.
The project illustrates the richness of disabled lesbian artistic expression, featuring physicality, performance, and visual art. There's the wheelchair basketball teams the Meteorites and East Bay Pirates, the theater groups Wry Crips and Fat Lip Readers Theater, AXIS Dance troupe whose disabled and non-disabled members move together, and an art and mixed media project The Lineage Project. A memorial quilt honors twelve disabled lesbians who were poets, singers, artists, politicians, and activists.
The political history includes the ways disabled lesbians participated in the national fight to implement federal legislation on disability rights and access. In describing that history, Fabled Asp declares, "We stepped and rolled out of the shadows to demand and design changes in attitudes, laws and physical access." In 1977, they were among those who protested for enforcement of Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act by occupying the San Francisco federal building for 28 days. They sent representatives to Washington D.C. to testify at a time when people traveling in wheelchairs had to be loaded on planes via cargo equipment. Beginning in the 1980s, lesbian activists created a groundbreaking special needs model for San Francisco's Gay Pride Parade, including sign language interpreters, access lanes, and audience spaces designed for people with special needs.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Women with disabilities
Lesbians with disabilities
Rifkin, Laura
Lessing, Jill
Stirewalt, Lyn
Kohan, Silvia