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Queer & Disabled: Healing Through Art

In 2020, a group of queer-disabled individuals came together over Zoom to create a collective space for healing and care. As an act of resistance, we used collage, photography, meditative doodling, and drawing to push back against the collective marginalization experienced by existing in our queer-disabled bodies. -- This artwork is part of a larger, IRB-reviewed undergraduate research project in Medical Anthropology at the University of Washington examining Healing Through Art in the Queer-Disabled Community. All participants consented to audio recording and the use of their individual works of art for a collective piece meant for public exhibition. -- For more information about the research project, email, and to see other artworks by the artist, visit -- Research Abstract: Individuals identifying as both ‘queer’ and ‘disabled’ are presented with unique challenges when interacting with support systems of family, community, institutions, and biomedicine. For queer-disabled people, the act of seeking care within these systems does not necessarily result in healing and can often lead to increased trauma, often necessitating alternative healing options. Queer-disabled people use art as one such holistic healing modality in various ways, including through art therapy, individual art practice, and as a tool for community building and social justice. The artistic expression channeled by the queer-disabled community is an effective site of resistance that promotes visibility and has the power to affect change. My research explores how interaction within support systems drives queer-disabled individuals to utilize art as a form of healing and resistance. I examined the impact of community-based art projects in comparison to art therapy and art practice, conducted ethnographic interviews and participant observation where I created a community-based art project with a cohort of my queer-disabled peers. My research shows how the experience of using art as a healing modality empowers the queer-disabled community on an individual and group level. My research results provide a strong foundation for my further study of the queer-disabled community and the challenges faced when seeking care in the biomedical system while taking a deeper look into the complexities of engagement with the arts for healing.

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