Not Queer Enough: Exploring the hypocrisy within the LGBTQI2A+

by Emilie Laferrière

Queer: “ of, relating to, or being a person whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual and/or whose gender identity is not cisgender ”

Not Queer Enough is dedicated to anyone who feels like they do not fit under a single gender or sexual label.

This series sheds light on a very real stigma within the Queer community, that of rigid exclusivity. Although the LGBTQ+* have historically been discriminated against, the
community itself also perpetuates structures of oppression within their own members. Strict definitions based on heteronormative systems have created divisions that exclude more than they include.

Inspired by Catherine Opie, whose work constantly pushes the boundaries of what we think normal is, I look to capture the day-to-day of queer strangers in the safety of their home, where they can perform for the camera a version of themselves they want the world to see.

These portraits showcase sexually fluid individuals who feel their queerness is inadequate. As I take the time to listen to their stories, their demeanour softens, and with no
superficial gaze, I am able to capture the humanity of the individual in front of me. Stories of pain, struggle and intolerance unify these individuals and many more, as their fluidity is
a source of shame and misunderstanding. Each of them exemplifies the heteronormative hypocrisy on which the queer community is built, and the outdated binary ideologies it
continues to perpetuate.

Like Opie, l share the belief that images can help bring about social change. As I continue this life-long series, I hope to encourage the Queer community to remember that more
than a label, we are simply just human.

* Note that the shortened acronym was used for simplicity. The full acronym is LGBTQQIP2SAA.

Emilie Laferrière

Em Laferrière is a photographer whose work explores themes of identity and queerness. Their goal as a photographer is to give others the opportunity to share their story and the version of themselves they want the world to see. They are currently completing their BFA at Concordia University.

Musings of a Pansexual Muslim Stoner

by Fadwa Bahman

Ramadan just ended
Breathe it all in
The first breakfast in a month feels like a new chance at life
like I’ve put on rainbow-colored glasses
Sucked back into a version of reality where
I am sipping iced coffee from a glass jar on my balcony,
browsing a psychotherapy office in Westmount
Capitalism exists again
I want to be a part of society again
I can ingest and inhale again

Music feels like something from a better universe again
And my mind wanders
Gets lost in the meaning of things without meaning
Eager to obsess
Hungry to find and be found

I take a puff and revel in the contentment
If this is hell, why would you make me want it
Why would you make me want her?
Why would she feel like home?
Like everything about her was an epiphany.
She didn’t believe in you and I believed everything that came out of her mouth,
Even on nights when her mouth left me more awake than caffeine pills ever could

Ramadan just ended
Bring me blue eyes to stare into
To feel like I’m in a foreign movie
Picturesque, pale, hazy, muted-colors aesthetic
Immerse me in Vanilla and strawberries
When in their company, the farthest from home I am
Does it kill your fantasy when I open my exotic mouth to call out your ancestors?

Ramadan just ended
And I know that this time next year I’ll be ready for it
About a month before this time next year
I will be longing
for a hole
in the earth or the sky I promise I won’t be picky
where I can please cease to exist, please
the relief of there being no “me”

Ramadan just ended
Farewell my love
It is time to feast and to slowly, painfully
fall in love with death again
Though you should never doubt,
I will be waiting for you every year to rescue me from my own selfish daydreams.
Rescue me like the little good girl they all wish I was.

The Empire of Racism: Dismantling and Resisting the Colonial Violence with/in Academia through an Auto/Ethno/Graphical Narrative

by Shyam Patel 

The corpses of academic trauma live in the bodies of people of colour. They exhaust — almost burning, rupturing — our existence limb by limb. As I trace — painfully extracting and exhuming — my own experiences and stories with/in academia, I am overcome by a sense of hardship and loss. Knowing that others like me, too, have similar travels with/in academia does not provide me with any form of solace. It only reminds me how treacherous and vile the culture of dominance, even with/in so called progressive and radical spaces, happens to be. Despite this, I still hold onto this notion of hope — perhaps even radical love — when I embark on dismantling and resisting colonial violence,  finding ways of bringing my own voice from the margin to the center. 

While reading Dr. Pat Palulis’ work, I reflect on the colonialist underpinnings of academia that often limit alternative ways of doing. She shares, “As professors colonized by the institution, we colonize our students who are eager to perform on their students what has been done to them” (Palulis 2009, 4). Adding to this, the realities of colonialist legacies with/in academia impact people of colour even more severely. Not only do we experience pain and trauma through the centralization of whiteness, we carry the burden of invisible work. The emotional labour of explaining the realities of racism, navigating whiteness, and negotiating our identities can be exhausting. This is even more harrowing when we explore the experiences and stories of women, queer, and trans people of colour. We see being white or whiteness as “normal” (Kendall 2002) and people of colour as oppositional to that supposed normalcy. Considering this, it is almost customary to fantasize about being white in academia, even temporarily (Bahia 2019) to feel a hardship lift itself; to be able to enter and navigate spaces without apologizing and being vigilant when speaking truth to power.

Drawing, then, on the work of Gayatri Spivak, the question of her essay title continues to be critical, and, dare I say, haunting: Can the Subaltern Speak? Spivak (1998) argues that the production of academic thinking is conceived and exported with the exploitative nature of Western tropes as the default. Within this, the term subaltern, as Spivak (1998) suggests, is not to be misconstrued. Spivak (1998) refers to the term as oppressed subjects — those who cannot speak and do not have histories with/in colonialist drippings. In academia, this is seen by the fact that research is oriented (Spivak 1998) and learning/teaching is still produced in the form of a banking model of education (Freire 2005). Furthermore, marginalized and stigmatized people are silenced with/in academia and our work is often only valued when it placates the narrative of whiteness. Thus, our ability to speak about our communities, experiences, and stories is confined by a white saviour complex — one that suffocates our narratives. Calling a resistance to this, Tuck (2009) draws attention to the problematization of “damaged-centered” research: “For many of us, the research on our communities has historically been damage centered, intent on portraying our neighbourhoods and tribes as defeated and broken” (412). There is a “historical exploitation and mistreatment of people and material” (Tuck 2009, 411), which I believe is another facet of the ongoing genocide towards Indigenous peoples. Suspended in this thought, I find myself awakening and rupturing, thinking about my own community/ies. All too often the perception of the third world, for example, is presented in the context of the “Other” and portrayed through a lens of poverty porn. Academia, under the guise of white privilege and white supremacy, continues to displace and disturb many of us. Perhaps the resonance of “unhomely” (Bhabha 1992) is one that will dissect us forever.

there is a light at the end of the tunnel. i run to reach it, but the further i go, the farther it seems to be. some days, i still see the light flickering. mostly, however, it seems to fade away and i wonder if the flicker of light was only a figment of my very own imagination.

Academia, however, is also a site of refuge for the wanderer. It can be a groundwork for healing and for (un)becoming. Palulis (2009) asks, “And how do we dwell with a simultaneous love and loathing for the premises?” (3). For me, dwelling and reflecting on my own experiences serves as a form of healing. Remarkably, Dr. Pat Palulis instilled in me this deep and enriching notion of the lived curriculum/a — one that centres and unfolds healing as a liberatory practice. She remarks, ““’[T]here is a gap that is still alive and this is where the work must be done. Not to close the gap but to work in the gap. To work in the space of the wound” (Palulis 2009, 4). I find myself swimming in the remnants of the wound (other parts of it still waiting to be retrieved) — its waxy residue plunging me into self-healing. In my two years in a Teacher Education program, I did just that. I sifted through the emotions and feelings of being a Brown man, with both privileged and marginalized intersections, and how the everyday experiences of racism impact me as a teacher and as a student. For once, I had somewhere to share; to volumize my body and identity into essays, journals, poems, reflections, and short stories. It did not come easily, but I found a reflective escape, to work on what Thich Nhat Hanh (2010) refers to as the inner, suffering child.

like limericks weaved on an open parchment, i find myself oozing in poetry — in this constant notion that haunts me and that has become a living memory of my life — that justice is a form of violence. in the realm of academia, it leaves traces of thoughts that follow me forever. i think about the time when a professor — in the opening slit of a margin (how ironically) — tells me that my writing is awkward. nonetheless, i come to resist — through small acts of protest — writing that speaks to a white narrative. i make indentations — dents that break into and penetrate a sentence — to allow room for a pause to linger — to let words seep into the reader’s mind. i refuse to let run-on-sentences evade me. sometimes, i enjoy the rambling of a sentence that tries to find a place of closure — not to end, but to find a home — a safekeeping. it is, in a way, similar to pressed pages being open. i feel liberated even when academia continues to be infiltrated by the perils of privileges and supremacies, looming at the corner of every page.

This notion of immersing myself with/in the compounds of my work — my artistry, my scholarship, my writing — ruptures me in a way that is almost exhilarating. Particularly, Aoki’s (1993) notion of the lived curriculum speaks profoundly to me. The lived curriculum/a or the curriculum-as-lived captures the diversities and experiences of our students. Settling in this notion, Aoki’s (1993) work has influenced me as I make sense of my location with/in academia, if such a place exists. For me, it is not simply a lived curriculum/a, it is a living curriculum/a, which requires oneself to perform constructively and continuously. Considering that Western tropes “racialize” the curriculum, lived experiences — the breathing out of suffocation — become ever so significant. As such, the personal narrative of the lived experience can poetically counter that racialization. As hooks (2003) writes, “I rely on the sharing of personal narratives to remind folks that we are all struggling to raise our consciousness and figure out the best action to take” (107).

encountering spaces that allow me to dissect my own livelihood, and, in many ways, resurrect my ancestry, allows me to find a place with/in academia. in the enclosed corners of a page, i am drawn into a vortex defined by a word limit…never ending, however, in its resonance. it is as if someone is listening to me, waiting on a story that slips from the ink of fingertips to (re)write the lines on a body. as if — almost gently — holding me, soothing the weeping soul that resides somewhere deep down with/in me. in that moment, i feel something has left its mark on me and i wonder if it will visit me soon again…

Similarly, there is value in lifting the text — its language and theory/ies — to speak to students. Discourse, in many ways, can be discursive and even harmful, especially if and when it is marred in colonialist thinking. At the same time, however, language and theorization can be “a location for healing” (hooks 1994, 59). As hooks poignantly says, “To heal the splitting of mind and body, we marginalized and oppressed people attempt to recover ourselves and our experiences in language. We seek to make a place for intimacy” (hooks 1994, 175). Borrowing further from feminist theorization, theory/ies can also be used to locate oneself (Lugones & Spelman, 1983); to find a place in all the disarray. Even though much of that language and theorization occurs in the English language, we must remind ourselves of the words of Adrienne Rich, “‘This is the oppressor’s language yet I need it to talk to you’” (hooks 1994, 167). I want to part from this realization, but it continues to consume me because I know the truth that simmers in those words. So, when I found language and theorization that spoke to me, particularly reading the works of critical race theorists and radical feminist thinkers, I was able to find the words to make sense of what I had been feeling — a feeling that had long overcome me. Echoing the words of Lugones & Spelman (1983), “The theory or account can be helpful if it enables one to see how parts of one’s life fit together, for example, to see connections among parts of one’s life one hasn’t seen before” (578).

when i read words that spoke to me, i did not only listen. i found myself in the leaflet with tears nourishing the veins. even when i found other words, sentences, paragraphs…i found myself returning to the ones that exhumed me. yet, sometimes i still feel that something is lost. that something, as i recover, is being taken away from me. i am suspended in this

In juxtaposition with these realities, there are the complexities that come with working against and with/in the lens of whiteness. Almost unknowingly, the disruptions, vis-à-vis a phenomenology of critical consciousness, we still (re)affirm critical race theories, intersectional feminist theories, queer and trans theorizations, and other critical pedagogies as a response — as an underlying cause and effect — to white academia. Furthermore, when we challenge whiteness, we are told that we always “make it about race” (Bahia 2019). As I landscape myself with/in the peripheries of academia, I wonder if such a remark will scar me, as well. It probably will and already has done so, but I will seep into the portrait, even if I have to clutch to the frame and make sure, in that “all about race” way, I dismantle and resist academia. In the words of Lorde (1984), “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood” (40).


Shyam is a former member of the QPIRG-McGill Board of Directors and is currently a graduate student at the University of Ottawa, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts Education (Studies in Teaching and Learning). Prior to that, he was one of the co-organizers and founding members of the Teacher Candidates of Colour (TCC) Collective and he is now the organizer for the Education Graduate Students of Colour (EGSC). In his time, he enjoys reading novels, watching anime, and writing poetry


Aoki, Ted. “Legitimating the lived curriculum: Towards a curricular landscape of multiplicity.” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 8, no. 3 (1993): 255-268.

Bahia, Jasmeet, “A graduate student of colour’s navigation through the ivory tower,” last modified July 2, 2019,

Bhabha, Homi. “The world and the home.” Social Text, no. 31/32 (1992): 141-153. 

Freire, Paulo. The pedagogy of oppressed. 30th anniversary edition. The Continuum New York: International Publishing Group, 2005.

hooks, bell. Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.

hooks, bell. Teaching community: A pedagogy of hope. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Kendall, Frances. Understanding white privilege: Creating pathways to authentic relationships across race. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Lorde, Audre. Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. New York: Crossing Press, 1984.

Lugones, Maria, and Spelman, Elizabeth. “Have we got theory for you! Feminist theory, cultural imperialism and the demand for ‘the woman’s voice’” Women’s Studies Int. Forum 6, no. 6 (1983): 573-581.

Nhat Hanh, Thich. Reconciliation: Healing the inner child. California: Parallax Press, 2010.

Palulis, Patricia. “Geo-literacies in a strange land: Academic vagabonds provoking a pied.” Educational Insights 13 no. 4 (2009): 1-13.

Spivak, Gayatri. “Can the subaltern speak?” In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1998.

Tuck, Eve. “Suspending damage: A letter to communities.” Harvard Educational Review 79, no. 3 (2009): 409-427.

Voluntourism and the Conflation of Compassion with Colonialism

by Gaby Novoa

Voluntourism “at its best” can open opportunities for cross-cultural exchange of skills, knowledge and experience (Devereux 2008); however, the work of Western volunteers and organizations within “developing” countries, while veiled as compassion, also functions as a continuation of colonialism. Every year, more than 1.6 million youth from the “global North” spend over $2 billion to volunteer in countries of the “global South,” with these young volunteer tourists being predominantly white women (Bandyopadhyay and Patil 2017). The imbalance of power dynamics upheld by voluntourism is further perpetuated through its visual dissemination on social media platforms such as Instagram (Sin and He 2018). However, the emergence of accounts that parodize or offer critical commentary on the ways in which voluntourists display their “Third World experiences” online work to confront these practices (2018). No White Saviors is an organization with over 306k followers on Instagram, whose mission is to decolonize mission and development work, while drawing attention to issues such as “poverty porn,” imperial dominance, and white supremacy. Portrayals which construct “developing” countries as in need of external aid, amplified through social media, helps to sustain a narrative that upholds the imperative for a Western grip on global influence and affairs. No White Saviors (NWS) challenges these discourses through direct intervention within the very mediums where such narratives are perpetuated.

While individuals involved with volunteer work in developing countries are perhaps driven by the desire to make a positive difference, their participation nevertheless operates within a structure that sustains colonial histories. The imperialism – and thus, racism – embedded within these practices may be even more damaging as they are not glaringly apparent, or are concealed within the disguise of altruism, making it difficult to blatantly recognize as harmful. The NWS graphic of boats atop water, titled “The sea of white supremacy & How the White Saviour Complex stays afloat,” quite literally paints a picture of the actions that contribute to the manipulation, control, dehumanization and oppression of non-Western countries: voluntourism, exploitative social media posts, tokenization, appropriation and white leadership within spaces predominantly for People of Color (POC) (2018, Oct. 8). This call to attend to systemic white supremacy underlines how the practice of Western aid within developing countries maintains a binary of those with privilege and power, and those who are dependent on the former (Banki and Schonell 2018). These relationships are sustained through the normalization of power imbalances, wherein Western influence is deemed necessary.

To unlearn the ways in which perceived help can in fact cause harm, as is often the case with Western intervention in developing countries, it is necessary to examine the ways in which such narratives are formed. Bandyopadhyay and Patil (2017) apply a post-colonial theoretical framework to analyze voluntourism. In their article, the authors dispute the issues ingrained within the language of dominant discourses by calling into question terms such as “‘underdeveloped,’ ‘developing,’ and ‘the Third World,’” which they argue homogenizes peoples and countries, while positioning them as “other” in relationship to the “developed” world (646). NWS also challenges this narrative, stating how these terms restrain countries to a “state of perpetual ‘development’” (2019, Mar. 26). Maintaining the narrative of certain countries as “destabilized” and “dependent” subjects their communities, their land and their resources to the exploitation of Western powers (2019). Jack Lule (2017) also underlines the significance of words and metaphors within the construction of globalization – this term itself is ambiguous with “-ization,” implying both an ongoing process and a finished outcome. Similarly, applying the term “developing” to non-Western countries both situates them within an incessant social, political, economic flux while also cementing their place within this state. In her examination of peacekeeping and Western military intervention, Sherene H. Razack (2004) pinpoints this global narrative whereby labelling non-Western countries as disorderly “Third worlds” justifies the involvement and interference of the “First world.” Thus, the words we use pave way for the actions that ensue.

The notion that white individuals are the ones capable of solving issues within developing countries – “white saviours” – builds upon the belief that “Third world” countries are in need of saving. This patronizing attitude undermines and disempowers the aptitude and agency of locals within those communities. Moreover, voluntourists are largely made up of underqualified individuals, often lacking formal training, whose engagement occurs through short-term stints (Banki and Schonell 2018). NWS regularly tackles these issues in their work. In their “2019 wishlist,” they declare, “no more short term missionaries coming for 10 days on a glorified vacation they fundraised for” (2018, Dec. 30). In a meme, they parody the idea of one’s “whiteness” convincing them that their “presence in another country is inherently helpful” and then the offense at being questioned whether they have the appropriate qualifications (2018, Dec. 18). These attitudes function within the scope of white supremacy by deeming the ability of Western outsiders as more valuable than the local knowledges and desires of the host community. Additionally, allocating projects to foreign volunteers disrupts local economies by neglecting to hire locals for the work (Banki and Schonell 2018). Moreover, given the lack of skills training, work undertaken by volunteers tends to be “unsatisfactory and incomplete” (Banki and Schonell 2018, 1477). Therefore, voluntourism functions as a flawed structure that neglects the autonomy of those within developing countries and promotes dependency instead of the socio-economic sustainability of a community. Participation within the voluntourism complex is problematic with even the best of intentions – and, at that, evidence of self-serving motivations have also been called into question.

Without losing all sight of the optimistic belief in humanitarianism and compassion, much of voluntourism tends to operate in the realm of ego rather than ethics. Banki and Schonell (2018) underline such ulterior intentions, asserting that voluntourists expect a “fundamentally self-interested return on their investment, whether it be in the form of self-actualization, work experience, Facebook profile picture or college reference” (1478). Where there is a wide range of personal gains for the visiting individual, Peter Devereux (2008) argues that there tends to be fewer long-term benefits for ‘the visited.’ Analyses of the benefits of voluntourism largely overlook the impact on locals with focus instead placed on the benefits to the volunteer and their construction, broadening, and improvement of self (Sin and He 2018). Because of the “great sense of achievement” that is promised by voluntour programs and organizations, Bandyopadhyay and Patil (2017) ask whether the purpose is to do good or to feel good. The conflation between the two, with research and patterns pointing to self-serving motivators, is what probes Banki and Schonell (2018) to contest that “voluntourism paradoxically risks undermining global citizenry” (1478). Intentions aside, this “goodness” is consistently expressed through voluntourists’ photo-taking and selfies, with its subsequent dissemination through social media.

The prevalence of documenting volunteer work for social media is cause for criticism, particularly due to how technology and media plays a role in upholding power and privilege. Jil Dan Yong (2015) theorizes social media platforms as tools by which Western dominance and imperialism can be perpetuated within a global context. Where colonial control of developing countries by Western powers, particularly the United States, has operated through military, ideological, economic and capital functions, Dan Yong argues it is now further spread and sustained through digital technologies. Sardar (1999) believes “the real power of the West” is rooted not in its mass economic and technological controls, but “in its power to define, represent, and theorize” (Bandyopadhyay and Patil 2017). Sardar’s argument coupled with Dan Yong’s thesis underlines Western supremacy at the roots of globalization, which is exorbitantly amplified through digital media, where narratives can be constructed – and filtered – to fit the dominant discourse. Lule (2017) parallels these claims in his argument that media plays a central role to the evolution of globalization and that the two work “in concert and cohort” (10). Therefore, it matters how relationships within voluntourism are represented online, particularly because they tend to normalize the “white saviour” complex, maintaining power imbalances.

Photos of aid work within developing countries, otherwise known as “poverty porn,” on social media perpetuates relationships of the powerful and the powerless. The exploitative practice is explicitly denounced within two of the four items NWS published in their 2019 wishlist: “no more poverty porn” and “no more #selfies of white people surrounded by Black and Brown kids” (2018, Dec. 30). In another post, NWS challenges this visual culture, and asks audiences to consider if they would ever want their child “photographed, posted to social media and portrayed as an object of pity” (2018, Oct. 23). NWS further contextualizes this post in their caption, where they discuss how asking for a child’s consent to be photographed still operates within power dynamics wherein they may not feel comfortable saying no. Moreover, consent does not extend to the written message that may be attached to the photograph; NWS asks audiences to be mindful of the way we tell others’ stories and whether they are ours to tell at all. Sin and He (2018) contend that the practices of photo-taking within voluntourism and the ensuing sharing on social media are “never innocent,” for they operate within the unequal relationships between the one taking the photos and the one being photographed (2). Because technology is already domineered by those with privilege and power, the stories about marginalized communities, being disseminated throughout online platforms, are often told about– and not by – said peoples.

The conditions for perpetuating stereotypes are created when those outside of the communities being represented have control of the narrative. Dignity of one’s story is best harboured through self-autonomy and expression. International media has long been critiqued for its portrayal of marginalized communities as helpless and lacking agency (Banki and Schonell 2018). Thus, with representation, comes responsibility; although, Sin and He (2018) question whether portrayals of the “Third world” by voluntourists can ever be at all responsible. NWS asks audiences (particularly those who partake in voluntour projects) to reflect on whether the photos and stories they share respect the pride of the person being photographed, or feed into stereotypes (2019, March 26). NWS refers to these direct questions and thought exercises as “flipping the script;” by emphasizing how otherwise inappropriate actions are customary within contexts of developing countries, it reveals the inherent “white supremacist power structures” at play (2019, April 5).

NWS, alongside satirical media like Barbie Savior and The Onion, play an important role in resisting hegemonic, colonial structures. Their dissemination through the same forums where supremacist narratives are proclaimed function as visual interventions. Sin and He (2018) assert that the rise of media content that critiques and parodies the performative nature of voluntourists online “creates a separate sphere in which such behaviour becomes governed and sanctioned” (18). Barbie Savior is a satirical Instagram account that crafts posts inspired by voluntourist activity online, which depicts a white Barbie doll in her “missionary” work across Africa. Her presence and popularity (with over 165k followers on Instagram) are effective in questioning the tropes of young, Western women through humour that is based on elements of truth: “It’s not about me…but it kind of is,” Barbie Savior writes in her profile bio. Similarly, The Onion, an online media company, also uses satire to challenge culture; a 2014 headline reads “6-Day Visit To Rural African Village Completely Changes Woman’s Facebook Profile Picture” (Sin and He 2018, 1475). Mockery of the role that social media plays within people’s volunteer experiences helps to denounce these practices while inciting reflection and reconsideration of the “ethics and efficacy of voluntourism” (Banki and Schonell 2018).

Allyship work therefore necessitates questioning motives and outcomes. Voluntourism programs often entail rewarding promises, such as self-growth and even career advancement opportunities whereas emphasis and consideration are not as focused on the local communities hosting these volunteers. While NWS contends that there is “no exact formula” in dismantling the “white saviour” complex, they assert that it is equal parts challenging the narrative as well seeing the POC within the developing countries rise in leadership roles (2018, Dec. 11). One of the many solutions to challenging the “white saviour” complex, NWS suggests, is to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led projects and businesses. Millions of dollars are spent annually in financing voluntourists’ trips to other countries, where they will work often for short-term stints. This money can be of more value and utilized more effectively by locally established organizations whose approaches center on long-term sustainability. Moreover, instead of attempting to tackle the complex issues of another country, NWS urges audiences to first look at their local communities, towns, or cities and begin their advocacy and activism there (2018, Nov. 15). Online media critiques, such as NWS, help bring attention to systems of white supremacy and colonialism, while championing for an ongoing process of unlearning and listening.


Bandyopadhyay, Ranjan, and Vrushali Patil. “‘The White Womans Burden’ – the Racialized, Gendered Politics of Volunteer Tourism.” Tourism Geographies 19, no. 4 (2017): 644–57.

Banki, Susan, and Richard Schonell. “Voluntourism and the Contract Corrective.” Third World Quarterly 39, no. 8 (2017): 1475–90.

Devereux, Peter. “International Volunteering for Development and Sustainability: Outdated Paternalism or a Radical Response to Globalisation?” Development in Practice 18, no. 3 (2008): 357–70.

Lule, Jack. Globalization and Media: Global Village of Babel. 3rd ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

No White Saviors. 2019 Wish List. Instagram. @nowhitesaviors, December 30, 2018.

No White Saviors. 7 Ways to Challenge the White Savior Complex. Instagram. @nowhitesaviors, December 11, 2018.

No White Saviors. Be a Community Activist, Not a White Savior. Instagram. @nowhitesaviors, November 15, 2018.

No White Saviors. Would You Ever Want Your Child Photographed…. Instagram. @nowhitesaviors, October 23, 2018.

No White Saviors. The Sea of White Supremacy & How the White Saviour Industrial Complex Stays Afloat. Instagram. @nowhitesaviors, October 8, 2018.

No White Saviors. Flipping the Script on Stacey Dooley. Instagram . @nowhitesaviors, April 5, 2019.

No White Saviors. Intentional States of Development. Instagram. @nowhitesaviors, March 26, 2019

Razack, Sherene H. Dark Threats and White Knights: the Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2004.

Sin, Harng Luh, and Shirleen He. “Voluntouring on Facebook and Instagram: Photography and Social Media in Constructing the ‘Third World’ Experience.” Tourist Studies 19, no. 2 (2018): 215–37.

“The Global North/South Divide.” Royal Geographical Society. Accessed March 10, 2020.

a sexy crip manifesto

by seeley quest

1 sometimes I want to rip

Sometimes I want to rip out my bands of body pain to hurl—

I fight harsh wind and words all day, muscles set and edge on numb, and even if I’ve slept enough, I resist feeling how my back will again resist relaxing all today.

Yeah, I know I have to try Feldenkrais or yoga or visualization techniques or a salt bath, but again broke, my attention so focused on survival and hustling each day, I simply stumble into and out of my sleeping pad.

2 halfway there

Halfway there, I’m still trying to enact able-ness and tough attitude—fearful of lasting dependence on commercial routes of transportation, even though my ankles, knees, wrists, elbows and back feel the joys and growing weariness of biking me everywhere when I do.

Terrified years of repetitive work, habits have strained arms again, tendons telegraphing weakness, nerves numb: of losing the fight to pass as able-enough.

To present as a player of physicality and stamina, a queer who walks the talk.

As a teenager in a neck-to-pelvis spinal brace, my back muscles were given their orders by others; I didn’t have to negotiate how to carry myself in the world.

I was disabled, it was evident to all—I could relax inside bars and plastic against the shell of a defining framework, and I’ve known nothing else so awfully delicious.

3 part of that revolution

I’ve known other low-budget thrill seekers to instigate summertime “Cruising” nights in a big city park to fill a gap, after a wheelchair femme dropped plans to come to a queer convergence because no one had planned for its sex party to be accessible, and then the party was cancelled due to lacking an accessible space.

A chair user like her could take a playground’s pavement to be ravishing, but that terrain constrains choices, is more exposed to police or queerbashers than the park’s wilds.

I could clamber up hills, seek trysts in the grasses; it’s possible at the moment. But I’ve lived with a wheelchair dyke, who couldn’t dance that way and be part of that ableist revolution.

4 why not get ramped warehouses for playfests?

Lots of us want more public queering, more freedom. We want to be sexual for free, not contained to clubs or our homes, and claim the Great Outdoors for our playing fields. This doesn’t always exclude crips: since the 1970s bloom of disability rights activism, some physically disabled and cognitively disabled people have had moments of enjoying some sexuality publicly along with abled lovers, usually where body positivity and free love are most accepted.

Sometimes radically defying repression defaults to claiming rights to trick in the bushes, if it’s too risky in the street, too costly in the socially designated places. Yet, when acting for uncensored consensual sexual expression, to celebrate all that we can share with each other, why not do the work in spaces like warehouses for giant playfests to be accessible?

5 i’m a randy bugger, and not all the time

I’m a randy bugger, and not all the time, but do lust for play as hard and fast as it can come, to pitch myself in as far as my body will go.

I may want to work the heck out of a hottie and have to weigh whether I’ll risk pushing my back to its edge of wrecked, or hands closer to barely usable the next day.

It can seem worth it, the urge to burn in an abled fever dream. Yet every time I go to dance in a stairs-only club or house where there’s scented soap, I note who’s not there. Who won’t even pretend they can extend themselves like me.

6 who’s pretending?

Sometimes I fear apparent crips think I am: seeking validation for disabled status while still accessing lots of privilege. We all learn to say to each other, “your pain ain’t like my pain.”

Yet any age, we can have chronic body injuries, illness, and impairing pain inside: this culture has generations of walking, halting, and bed-ridden wounded.

Who’s pretending? I’ve pushed on despite my pain thresholds, driven to stay physically dynamic by others conquering the world on those terms. Masses worship youth and vigor, want as much distance from slowness and infirmity as possible.

In our cruising quests, in the states where we sweat, and long to know ourselves as desirable human doings instead of human beings,

I demand room for disability without fear from abled kin.

For crip power to be recognized, for it to really be ok to not strive to fuck in the park, not bluff with bravado about my limits—and still have sex appeal.

seeley quest

seeley quest is a trans disabled performer, facilitator, and environmentalist. Working primarily in literary and body-based composition, and curation, hir playscript “Crooked” is in At the Intersection of Disability and Drama, and work is in Buddies in Bad Times’ Rhubarb Festival 2021.  Not on social media, sie is at