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Gigi Giscome

Gigi Giscome.

Disability rights activist Gigi Giscome was recently the subject of an incredible photo series in a gorgeous homage to Donyale Luna, the first Black woman on the cover of Vogue. The series was helmed by Bay Area-based creative director Hazel Streete (Her Resilience) and photographers Nicholas Lea Bruno and Nathan M. Benzschawel.

This is in homage to Donyale Luna. Donyale Luna was a fierce woman who became the first Black model to appear on the cover of Vogue. She was rebellious, defiant and distinctly beautiful. We share the same almond shaped eyes and long, spidery fingers. We are daring. She inspired this photo-project and I feel an immense amount of connection to this beauty who unapologetically created her dreams. Donyale Luna, thank you for being from ‘the moon.'”

Iconic images of model Donyale Luna.

Iconic images of model Donyale Luna.

As part of the #ShareHerStory project, Giscome speaks about her experience as a woman with a disability who loves her body — not in spite of its differences, but because of them.

This is for the people who send my body messages of prayer And think I openly receive it — I do not. Believe in God and He will heal you! they say. As if I wasn’t created with Grace for a purpose. They believe I would not choose this body, if given another chance.

“Oh, but how wrong they are: I worship my body and accept my disability — Neither are a burden to me. Glory to the twisted, the unbroken, the not mangled. Glory to those of us who know what it’s like to live with a disability and be thankful.”

Gigi Giscome Legs

Gigi Giscome.

Giscome lives life at the intersections of Black, Latina, disabled, activist, artist and woman. Her work reflects these cultural crossroads.

“In my lifetime, I am going to break barriers. To change the stereotypes people think of when they see me — stereotypes of what a ‘perfect,’ ‘beautiful’ or ‘powerful’ woman looks like. I want other people with disabilities to see me and know that it is okay, to feel that it is okay, to believe that it is okay. To have a disability and just live.

“‘I love myself’ is the Quietest. Simplest. Most powerful. Revolution. Ever.”

Gigi Giscome eye.

Gigi Giscome.

Related: 4 Disabled Writers/Bloggers You Need to Read

Read Giscome’s full #ShareHerStory manifesto and see more images at Blavity

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Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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