About Corbett O'Toole
© Erin Anthony
Corbett Joan OToole, a disability community elder, influences generations of disabled artists, scholars, and activists through her writing, artwork, mentoring and public speaking. Corbett was named a 2022 Disability Futures Fellow. (See a New York Times article about the Fellows)
She lives full-time in her adapted van, Rolling Joy, traveling as an uninvited settler on the lands cared for by generations of Native peoples.
She loves fiercely, laughs loudly, and works tirelessly for the survival of disabled people.
For speaking or consultation requests:
- Full-time traveling nomad, Rolling Joy
- Co-founder and Publisher, Reclamation Press
- Author, Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History
- One of five must-read books, Women’s March 2017
- Finalist, 2016 Lambda Literary Awards
- Intersectionality Award, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), Inaugural Award. September 2015
- Organizer, Queer Disability Conference, San Francisco State College, 2002
- Corbett O’Toole: Advocate for Disabled Women and Health Care. Disability Rights Independent Living Collection, Bancroft Oral History Library, University of California, Berkeley. 1998
(Click on the photo to enlarge or for more information)
One Sentence Bio
Corbett Joan OToole is a white queer disability community elder, artist and author of the groundbreaking Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History, a Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Bio, Community Scholar
Her scholarship includes academic writing and presentations, creating art pieces to honor disability histories, and sharing her extensive lived knowledge of U.S. disability histories.
She co-organized the first international Queer Disability Conference.
Her fiber art focuses on disability histories and received a one-woman show at the San Francisco Art Institute.
The Oscar-nominated film Crip Camp features her as a disability history expert.
Active in developing and supporting disabled dancers, her first joyful impromptu dance with her young disabled daughter was recorded in the film The Story of Mothers and Daughters. She and disabled poet Cheryl Marie Wade midwifed the Axis Dance Company.
Corbett and her daughter Meecha at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the first International Symposium on Issues of Women with Disabilities in Beijing in 1995. (© Suzanne Levine)
She had the privilege to be part of Berkeley, California disability communities for pivotal moments in disability history including: 1977 occupation of the San Francisco Federal Building also known as the 504 Sit-In; the early days of Berkeley Center for Independent Living and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc.
She’s organized historic gatherings on disabled women, disabled queers, disabled parents, and disability studies.
She co-created Free to Pee, a hackathon project, as well as designing and consulting on many design projects.
She travels across the U.S. in her self-designed accessible camper van Rolling Joy and organized an online dance for her 70th birthday.
Corbett O'Toole Papers
My archives of decades of disability history are housed at the San Francisco History Center/Special Collections. The Bancroft library at University of California, Berkeley contains an extensive oral history.