Tag Archives: Lani Ka’ahumanu

Photo of the Week: Lani Ka’ahumanu

Lani Ka’ahumanu is a bisexual and feminist writer and activist. She has done important work for many years. Lani was one of the women I photographed for Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes. She wrote My Body is A Map of My Life for Women En Large and it accompanies her portrait in the book.
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My Body Is A Map Of My Life

I perform a ritual when I remove my clothes with someone, whether it’s to sunbathe, sauna, massage, or to make love.

I tell the stories of my scars.

Besides the pearly stretch marks that texture my arms, legs, breasts, and belly, that I acquired during my two pregnancies, there are scars: a long think pink one that follows my right rib line for 6 or 7 inches (from gall bladder surgery between the births of my son and daughter); a seam line from hip to hip and one around my belly button from surgery that removed three pounds of hanging skin; an appendicitis scar; and one-inch wide stretch marks—after I lost the 120 pounds seven years after I gained them.

MY BODY IS A MAP OF MY LIFE, A PATCHWORK QUILT THAT IS WARM AND SOFT AND STRONG.

I didn’t always appreciate my body. I used to be ashamed and embarrassed. I had a difficult time baring myself with or even without other people around. I would avoid looking at myself, really looking beyond the self-hate, beyond the media image that I should be, that I could be if only … there was no real sense other than I wasn’t good enough. I was constantly comparing myself … It was one of my closet characters, and the more I denied it, the more control it had over me. It was a drag. I wanted to be free of it, so I practiced. I practiced being nude alone, dancing, walking, sitting, laying, playing, looking in the mirror at every angle of myself.

It wasn’t easy, but as the months and years passed, I became more comfortable and accepting … you could even say I developed a nonchalant attitude when in the nude. I began to feel at home in my body and in this growing sense of well-being. SCAR WOMAN emerged from the closet.

All imperfections imposed, I claim the unique, distinctive markings,

making them perfect in the showing.

my body is a map of my life

It is a patchwork quilt

that is warm, and soft, and strong

Bi Any Other Name: 25th Glorious Anniversary!

Debbie says:

bi_any_other_name.
Lani Ka’ahumanu and Loraine Hutchins published Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out in 1990. Since then, this landmark book …

has helped spark at least ten other books (many by its own contributors), was named one of Lambda Book Review’s Top 100 GLBT Books of the 20th century, … been reprinted 3 times since 1991, was translated and published in Taiwan in June 2007 and has over 40,000 copies in circulation.

The 2015 edition, e-book and print, has a new introduction and the same glorious list of contributors. In this period, when so much is written and said about lack of diversity in feminist and LGBTQ circles, the table of contents reads like a banquet of variety; if you’re young enough, this is your mother’s book of bisexuality, but your mother invited everyone to the table and made sure they all had time to speak.

Jonathan Alexander, co-author of Finding Out: An Introduction to LGBT Studies says;

To say that Bi Any Other Name is a “classic” in the field of sexuality studies is, in many ways, to miss its true importance.  It was — and in many ways still is – a “classic,” but also “the only one of its kind.”  While academic studies of bisexuality have slowly been making their appearances in print, Bi Any Other Name remains one of the only texts that situates bisexuals *speaking for themselves*within a rich intellectual context.  It models an approach to bisexuality in particular, and sexuality in general, that has few antecedents and fewer rivals.  It is, quite simply, an indispensable text.

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Lani Ka’ahumanu is not only co-editor of this book, she also appears in three of the photographs in Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes. Here’s one of Laurie’s photos of Lani:

lani

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Carol Queen, who has an essay in Bi Any Other Name was in Washington D.C. in September, along with other bi activists, in honor of Bisexual Awareness Week. This year was the 16th anniversary of Bisexual Awareness Week. Think we’d have it at all if Lani Ka’ahumanu and Loraine Hutchins hadn’t been around nine years earlier laying the groundwork? I don’t think so.

Buy your copy now. If you have an old copy, replace it, and give that one to a friend, or a library.