The inroads Queer Abortions Festival was held from 30 March to 7 April 2022 over a total of 5 sessions. Sessions were conducted in English and Spanish, ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours.
The festival aimed to celebrate and bust the stigma of the lived experiences, intricacies, questions, and reflections surrounding queer abortions through various collaborative activities such as open learning spaces, zine-making, shared dialogue, and collective reflection.
All sessions were designed and run with a participatory, relationship-building, and mutual learning focus, where facilitators guided participants through activities, conversations, movement, and creative tasks centered around queer abortion stigma-busting and celebration.
The sessions were:
Destigmatizing Language: Considering Inclusivity and Wise Compassion with Saint Ashley and Shantae Porteous of WE-Change Jamaica
Liberation through Creation: A Queer Introduction to Zine-Making with Emma Campbell of Alliance for Choice and Saint Ashley
Causes in Common: Exploring intersecting stigma and liberation in our movements for abortion and LGBTQIA+ rights with Alexandra Teixeira
Abortion and Embodiment with Zachi Brewster of Dopo, UK
Abortos Diversos: a collaborative stigma-busting project in Bolivia and Peru, a dialogue between Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir and Manodiversa
inroads staff worked with all member facilitators to conceptualize, plan, and design their workshop sessions.
Key takeaways from some of the main topics of the workshop:
On the intersection of queer liberation and reproductive justice:
Opposition (i.e. the attempts to regulate abortion and queer bodies) to abortion and queer stigma share common root causes, such as the invention of the gender binary and the policing of gender and sexual “norms” in ways that concentrate power.
Queer liberation and reproductive justice share a common agenda and vision towards the right to bodily autonomy: To decide how we embody our lives through the experiences of being in our bodies, how we physically move through the world and make decisions for ourselves, alongside considering our personal and collective freedoms and expressions.
Trans-exclusionary feminism has no place in our mutual liberation!
On tenderness, embodiment, and wise compassion:
To be queer is to expand our capacity of wholeness in a very fractured world. Abortion, when held with tenderness and in safety, can also support this experience of being ourselves and seeing ourselves and each other, by being closer to ourselves.
The connection between rage and tenderness is important and in itself, can even be tender. It can be part of queer joy to feel and share our collective rage with our chosen family.
On the history of zines in queer liberation and stigma-busting:
Zines have always been a political-cultural tool for communal learning and teaching as a practice, especially among queer and trans folks. Examples of this include how to use misoprostol and mifepristone for a medical abortion at home!
Zines have long been a way of democratizing print-making, political expression, and ideas of art. They offer a way to disseminate information cheaply and discreetly and perform a critique and satire of society.
Zines resist the sanitization of queer identities and all marginalized identities when we are told to behave “less” marginalized, through traditionally centering around community organizing and liberation.
Each session of the workshop focused on building co-created spaces of learning between member facilitators and participants. As such, a participatory approach is embedded within the workshop materials, in order to encourage active learning and a diversity of responses.
We are including workbooks of the workshop materials in English, French, and Spanish to facilitate broader learning opportunities for your organization and/or abortion stigma-busting community.
Download Part 1 of the inroads Queer Abortions Festival workbook here in English, Spanish, and French.
Download Part 2 of the inroads Queer Abortions Festival workbook here in English, Spanish, and French.
Download the “Queer Introduction to Zine-Making” workbook in English and Spanish here.
Reflections from Festival participants:
“As a queer person who has had an abortion, an activist, and a support provider, this felt relevant and wonderful to me in ALL of my roles and experiences in the abortion and reproductive justice world.” Zachi Brewster
“I appreciated the opportunity to connect with folks doing work related to mine, and people who share similar experiences/challenges with me in this work. The shared experiences were validating and soul-restoring.” Dani Behonick
“Folks used language that was inclusive and I personally felt welcomed and valued in the space.” Quinter Obiero