CHASING LIGHT x MAINE

To own queerness in one’s identity means to recognize and allow (and sometimes even encourage) for circumstances not to make sense either as parts, or as a perfectly fitting whole, but rather as unique pieces laying beside and on top of each other to form a bigger picture. New directions for Chasing Light extend beyond the language, assumptions, or stereotypical ideologies about what non-normativity, queerness, and disability is “supposed” to look like. It acknowledges, welcomes, and affirms the many intersections, nuances, and multifaceted representations that comprises one’s expression while emboldening a population that often goes erased or unnoticed.

Our newest branch of collaborative work, Chasing Light x Maine invites all Maine residents who find themselves within intersections of identity (LGBTQ+ / non-binary) and disability (including: mental health challenges, chronic illness, physical disability, etc.) to get involved in our work.

Though self-representation and personal visibility are important -- especially in fine art contexts -- we believe it is essential to use our work as a mechanism to elevate voices in Maine, our home state. We understand how integral inclusive connection and community is for people living in the margins, as well as the notable impact accessible, participatory projects can have for identity-specific groups.

We hope to offer more opportunities that allow Maine residents to have an active, participatory role in our creative projects in the future.


Note: Submissions were accepted from September 8, 2019 until November 16, 2019.
The submission process is now closed.

If you'd like to voice your thoughts or concerns about matters that affect LGBTQ+/non-binary/ill/disabled populations, or, you'd like to collaborate and get involved, drop us a line at: contactchasinglight@gmail.com. We'd love to hear from you!

Please subscribe to receive updates and notifications about future opportunities, and follow Chasing Light on Instagram: @chasinglight_project.


Chasing Light X Maine: Participant Responses

Question 1: Why is it important to you to see LGBTQ+/ill/disabled people represented in popular media?

"There's not near enough disabled people in media to begin with, doubly so for LGBT disabled folks. Representation is critical to creating LGBT youth who feel comfortable in their bodies." -Anonymous

"Because our existence is as valid as anyone else's." -Linsay

"Because ALL people should be represented." -Deb

"It's important to me that queer individuals with chronic illness are represented in popular media in order for others, perhaps younger or earlier on in their journey with illness and identity, will see that they are not alone. I can not think of a single example of a queer disabled person as an actor or a character in a tv show or movie that I have watched. The only way I see individuals like myself on a screen is by seeking out community through social media platforms such as Instagram." -Mel

"It’s important to see yourself reflected in popular bodies of artistic work and media; that act of accountability of representing the reality that others face is massively important to making strides for improvement." -Hannie

"It is important for me to see this type of representation in the media so that everyone has the chance to feel included and equal. Everyone deserves to feel represented in the media. A lot of people will look down upon individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ or mentally ill for example because they only see the poor representation that is currently in the media and that's all that they know. It is important to educate people on these topics so that everyone can have a little bit more compassion and understanding for one another." -Lauryn

"There is little to no representation of people who are trans, god forbid people who are trans and disabled. I want to be able to see people like myself in media and pop-culture being our true authentic selves without being pushed to fit the white, cis, straight mold." -Sammy

Question 2: As a person who identifies as LGBTQ+ and disabled/ill, how do you feel supported in Maine?

"I mean, there's not a lot." -Anonymous

"I don't, really. I have a support system within my little community, yes, but in my experience outside of that folks tend to get uncomfortable and not want to talk about it. It's not WHO I am, but it is part of my existence as I am right now, and I should be able to discuss my struggles just like anyone else and not feel like a burden or like I'm being dramatic." -Linsay

"I feel that Maine could make more resources available" -Deb

"Now that I have been in Maine for a few years, I feel more and more emotionally supported by the community that I have worked to find, but it was very isolating at first. It's not easy to meet new, similar people. When I had health insurance, I felt very supported by my PCP. She is a trans rights activist, knowledgable in both Western and holistic medicine and was very knowledgable about top-surgery in Maine and HRT. Unfortunately, now I am without the healthcare I need." -Mel

"I feel somewhat supported, but it’s location focused. [Do I feel supported] in my Catholic hometown? No." -Hannie

"I think that Maine does an okay job at supporting people who identify as LGBTQ+, but it could be better when it comes to disabled/ill support. A lot of places around Maine are not disability friendly. I go to USM and there was just an article published in The Free Press that reported 45% of the Portland campus does not meet accessibility standards. This is not acceptable and something needs to be done about it. One good thing though, is that I think Maine does a great job with accessibility to mental illness treatment statewide, but a lot of people may not realize that help is readily available. I work at a behavioral health hospital as well as a recovery center and not a lot of people take advantage of these great programs." -Lauryn

"I feel supported in that I have a doctor who understands my duality of having a disability and needing specific care, and being a transgender person. My provider knows what I need medically and also what I need to feel safe as her patient." -Sammy

Question 3: Where in Maine is the most inclusive, safe, and friendly place for you?

"I've not felt unsafe in Maine, not for either of these reasons anyway. I would say Queer spaces in general are slowly dying out." -Anonymous

"The internet. My personal support community is spread through Maine and other places, but I do not have a specific place to retreat if I need to recoil and recharge - y'know, unless my actual bed counts." -Linsay

"I’m New to Maine, but this far Health Equity Alliance" -Deb

"I'm helping to open an LGBTQ+ community space in Portland called Candy's and, although we aren't open to the public yet, I have already met so many amazing individuals through working on this project and feel surrounded by love from the other collaborators and hope others will feel that when they're there." -Mel

"Probably my college campus, or with my friends in inclusive spaces" -Hannie

"Portland for me definitely feels the most inclusive when it comes to LGBTQ+ and mental health." -Lauryn

"With my fiancée and our dog in South Portland" -Sammy

Question 4: Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your experiences as an LGBTQ+ person who is disabled/ill and living in Maine? (Optional)

"I think there's a real need to normalize disabled bodies in the same way we've normalized trans/plus size bodies." -Anonymous.."All of my illnesses are invisible, and I just wish that folks wouldn't make assumptions about what having a disability or illness looks like. Invisible illness is valid, too - though it does come with some privilege." -Linsay

"I miss the ability to go to queer friendly events , places." -Deb

"I think it is important to advocate and be an ally for people who identify as LGBTQ+ and disabled/ill because many people go through their day not realizing the struggles that other people can face. I have had to advocate for many people who identify as LGBTQ+ because the state of Maine has a demographic of older people who don't like to see change in any form even if it is positive." -Lauryn

"I suffer from Becker's Muscular Dystrophy, and I have always wanted to find someone else who has the disease and is also queer." -Sammy


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