Mad Feminist Activism in the Global Feminist Movement

A Mad Feminist Dialogue for a Mad Archive: “Mad Feminist Activism in the Global Feminist Movement: A Dialogue on and of Dissent”

This event was part of the 7th Biennial Seneca Falls Dialogues, in 2020, hosted by the Women’s Institute for Leadership and Learning. The dialogue brought together mad activists and scholars to discuss old and new directions in Mad feminist activism and to consider mad activism’s role in a larger feminist agenda. It will also touched on the rights and positionality of women, Black and Indigenous People of Color, and LGBTQ+ folx living with psychiatric labels or who have had psychiatric experiences, and those fighting for their rights from unique locations within larger social justice efforts. The dialogue considered non-normative activism and elicited discourse on what mad feminist activism has been and is becoming, considering the ways that mad feminist activism has dealt with and deals with identity, erased histories, and contested activist and advocacy tendencies and trajectories. By exchanging ideas and sharing experiences on mad feminist activism, our hope was that our dialogue would serve as a moment of mad grassroots organizing.

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Jessica Lowell Mason and Melissa Bennett Speak at Williamsville Board of Education Meeting on District Gender Policies: October 2021

My sister, MITA Co-founder Melissa Bennett, and I spoke together at a Williamsville School District Board of Education Meeting, in October 2021, in support of two gender-inclusive policies that were being voted on by the district’s BOE at the time. One was Policy 7554: Student Gender Identity, a policy aimed at inaugurating and declaring publicly and in writing the Williamsville School District’s promise to “[foster] a safe and supporting learning environment for all students, free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender non-conformity, and gender expression.” The policy also promises that the District “will assess and address the specific needs of individual students on a case-by-case basis.” The second policy, Policy 5634: Gender Neutral Single-Occupancy Bathrooms promises that the District is “committed to creating and maintaining an including education and work environment” and “will ensure that all single-occupancy bathroom facilities are designated as gender neutral.”

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Betty Aubut

Jody

“Hi, I’m Jody. I’m a lesbian but don’t worry, it’s not like I’m going to attack you in the middle of the night.”

            I spun around to see a stocky woman with close cropped hair standing a bit too close for comfort. Jody appeared to be 20-something, like me, and wore tattered dungarees, left-overs from the 70s, like mine. I had been unpacking and quietly checking out my new digs on the unlocked unit of this prestigious, private, psychiatric hospital south of Boston. I think I did feel a bit attacked as Jody’s booming voice jolted me back to reality. I likely jumped a mile.

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Bonnie Henderson Schell

That’s It

By Bonnie Henderson Schell

Strange things were happening to me, and I was scared. I knew that I had developed tardive dyskinesia and torticollis. The skin around my lips was chapped because my tongue hung out of my mouth, making a circle, licking my lips. I drooled all night on my pillow and down the front of my clothes. It was difficult not to walk to the left because lately my neck and body were painfully twisted in that direction so that the necklines of my sweaters and tunics fell off my left shoulder. I had stopped going to lunch with anyone and turned down phone calls using Facetime. I avoided the mirror over the sink.

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Madwomen in Social Justice Movements, Literatures, and Art

Madwomen in the Attic is excited about the publication of “Madwomen in Social Justice Movements, Literatures, and Art,” forthcoming from Vernon Press (2022). One of its editors is MITA co-founder Jessica Lowell Mason and its other editor is MITA member and featured writer, Nicole Crevar.

There is certainly a need for more books on madness and mental healthcare written by and for people whose bodies and life trajectories have been directly affected by mental healthcare systems and practices, and this is one book that affirms Mad people and people affected by the mental health systems as knowers and producers of historical, theoretical, social, creative, and other knowledges on the subjects of consciousness, the mind, madness, mental health, and psychic and bodily existence.

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December Letters Project ~ 2022 Call For OWLS

It’s that time of year: December Letters Project preparation time!

We invite you and/or your families, clubs, organizations, schools, and communities to be part of MITA’s annual December Letters Project. This year, we are sending out our announcement early so that you will be able to join us in holding a December Letters Project card-drive in your local area or participating in ours!

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Deb Rogers

I Collected Four Pall Bearers Along the Way

1: The Notifying Officer

Estranged is an elegant word for a particular brutality. My family is sick with it. My brother died within the immurement of many estrangements: from me, from our bad father, from our mother, from (presumably) friends and old lovers. Meaning, he died alone. “Unattended” is the word the very gentle sheriff used when he broke the news to me a full country away from that brother, away from his body that was now in need of a next of kin. We don’t discuss how or why my brother was not in possession of a next of kin during the last moments of his life nor in the many days he waited after death for neighbors to summon a clean-up crew.

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MT Vallarta

In Memoriam 

September 30, 2021 

Four months ago, my partner and I broke up. 

We were together for six years. We met during our first year in graduate school. We clung to each other like lost children. We had sex the first time we kissed. Twenty-four hours later, they told me I was the one. I was the one for years. The one who got lost in a department store in New Jersey. The one who was bullied for being Asian. The one with the traumatic memories. The one who almost made their mother faint with their difficultness. 

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Diane Renee Tomasi

And a Cherry on Top

It was a brisk January day, the sun was bright and shining. It was the kind of day when I look out the window and the sun convinces me Spring has come early, I go outside and then have to immediately zip my jacket all the way up, pull my collar high around my neck and shove my ungloved hands into my pockets: ridiculing myself for being naïve. 

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