Q: So much of our company is rooted in the re—inc founders' own quest to reimagine norms and barriers society has placed on us. What do you want to reimagine in the world?
Cath: I have had the immense privilege to be able to defy societal norms and root my life in my own values through my young adult life. As a queer & femme person, I center radical love and acceptance to the best of my ability whenever possible. My work in college has been focused on transformation, abolition, accessibility & skewing how we perceive conflict. I could not have done this without the queer community I surround myself with- whether that be my friends, partner, or collective members. This collective has allowed me to be a small part of changing how we move through our daily lives, and allowed for me to continue growing out of the norms and expectations that continue to follow femme people today.
Deb: In the public imagination, Asian American women are racialized, gendered, and sexualized as passive and subservient; tokenized in diversity initiatives; and more often than not, rendered nonexistent or invisible to begin with. For me, being my fullest self by staying connected and true to who I am, my identities, community, and history from a place of joy, self-love, and pride is an act of defiance. This helps me to build immunity against internalizing different isms, protect my energy from acting from a reactionary place, and move through the world in an impactful way that changes people’s preconceived ideas of who I am.
Bridget: I grew up dreaming of being a filmmaker but struggled finding a role model to look up to. In the mainstream media, there were no lesbian directors I could follow yet alone queer characters on Disney channel to relate to. So, I created my own representation. As a teen, I basically came out to my entire church and family through a silent romance short I made called The Girl at the Library. I discovered community through YouTube and meeting other queer folks at college since growing up I was one of the only out queer people in my high school. Authenticity and vulnerability through my creative expression is how I defy norms. Stay true to yourself and always trust your intuition. I want to be that role model for queer youth that I never had.
T: Like I stated earlier, I approach life, activism, and organzing through a lens of Black Queer Feminsm. This means that I am committed to interrogating and deconstructing normative and oppressive systems of power. The historical subordination and political othering of particular identities has relegated certain communities to the margins of society. By queering my vision of the world, I build from a long lineage of radicalism that envisions a world in which all people can experience freedom. My queerness is not merely a descriptor of my sexual identity. Rather, it is a political orientation in which I reimagine the hegemonic norms of society that have labeled marginal communities as “other”. This reimagination is both theoretical and pragmatic in the sense that we must engage in both meaning-making and tangible world re-building.
Lid: I’ve found that reimagining norms and barriers society has placed on us is SUCH a privilege. Many of us around the world don’t feel the safety, whether it’s legally or personally, to be —(or do)— different(ly). I’m a person that’s fueled by proving close-minded people wrong through real-life examples. At the same time, I’m grateful to feel safe and supported enough to do so. For the longest time, I’ve heard “you can’t be an architect” or “you can’t pick up skateboarding” or “you can’t work in the woodshop or metal shop” and whenever I’d ask why, they’d say things like “…because you’re not a man, and that’s for men. Men have better bodies for it, better smarts. Men are built for that, not you. Do something else.” So I’d agree to disagree and look at where I’m going now. Look at where many incredible skaters like Alexis Sablone, Sky Brown, Jenn Soto, and Beatrice Domond are. Look at where remarkable architects like Carol Ross Barney, Tatiana Bilbao, and Nathalie de Vries are. Nothing stopped them. And nothing will stop us.