Women who Use Drugs and Narcofeminism: Changing the Narrative
Time & Location
About the Event
The full recording of the Session is available:
- On the HIV2020 Online YouTube Channel - the YouTube playlist of the session is available in English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
- On the HIV2020 Online Soundcloud Channel - the SoundCloud playlist of the session is available in English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish
Urban Survivors Union’s Narcofeminism Story Share in the US, the Antiprohibitionist Women’s Network in Brazil, and Metzineres in Spain, across the globe from each other, are all seeking to not just fulfill our material needs as women who use drugs and sell sex, but also our need for self-expression in culture projects.
Narcofeminism Story Share has been undertaken for three years by a diverse group of activist women who sell sex and use drugs. It delineates the difference between the stories we tell to survive - the ones steeped inreductive abstinence model dogma which we tell probation officers, socialworkers, and other gatekeepers - and those we tell to make sense of our messy, complicated lives. Narcofeminism Story Share honors truths we’ve only heard before in the informal oral history of other drug-using and sex-selling women, behind closed doors, but never in mainstream representations of our lives. It is about crafting and telling stories which disrupt the ubiquitous narratives upholding stigma against us, allowing for ourcriminalization and victimization as well as our own self-hatred.
During this presentation, Narcofeminism Story Share leaders Louise Vincent, Dinah Ortiz, and Caty Simon will tell their own stories challenging mainstream narratives about topics like women’s initiation into injection drug use by men and the overdose crisis. They will discuss how writing, editing, and telling these stories helped them challenge their own internalized stigma, built up over years of criminalization and trauma. Finally, they’ll explain how through this project, story sharing has become a vital organizing tool in Urban Survivors Union and North Carolina Survivors Union work with many different populations, from women with Hep C to methadone patients.
Then, Priscilla Gadalha will tackle how women self-organize, creating theNetwork of Anti Prohibitionist Women, which is leading the debate around the impact of the war on drugs in Brazil.
Aura Roig From Metzineres will pick up the thread here. Metzineres was formed in 2017. It sees itself as much more than a women’s safe consumption site or even a site for mutual aid and material help, but rather also as acommunity space where criminalized women can practice the arts and enjoy their leisure. So much is said in harm reduction spaces about our immediate needs as women who use drugs and sell sex and as women who’ve experienced violence, about how we can fight HIV, Hep-C, and overdose in our communities. Yet, so little is said about our need for self-actualization.Thus, Metzineres makes a point of extending a wide range of options for self-healing, the creation of bonds of trust, the exchange of knowledge, self-defense, solidarity, and mutual support, not just health care, shelter, food, clothing, work opportunities, technical training, and safe consumption.
Roig will outline how Metzineres is a community which treats every woman who participates as a protagonist, shaping the program to her curiosities, interests, and desires. It is not simply about need, but about what drug-usingand sex-selling women and gender non-conforming people desire and strive for - this can range from art projects to boxing, and encompass so much more. She will go on to explain how the women at Metzineres form herstories they share with each other out of the bold stuff of each woman’s life, and elaborate on the best practices for such narrative sharing.
Session Programme and Information:
- Welcome by Caty Simon, Urban Survivors
- Sharing of Narcofeminism stories [presentation availablby Jessica Tilley, Executive Director, New England User's Union [story available here]; Louise Vincent, Director, Urban Survivors [story available here]; and Caty Simon, Urban Survivors [story available here]
- Story share - narrative disruption and storytelling as an organising tool [presentation available here]
- Organising by the Antiprohibitionist Women's Network by Prsicilla Galdelha, Rede Nacional de Feministas Antiproibicionista
- Sharing of herstory and narrative at Metzineres by Aura Roig, Director, Metzineres [videos played during presentation available here and here]
To engage and discuss with others, please join us at our Facebook Event Page here!