Sins Invalid & Disabled Fathers

Lee Williams racingby Leroy F. Moore Jr.Looking back on the short history of Sins Invalid in these last days approaching Father’s Day, I realize that Sins Invalid has two fathers who are performers. One, Lee Williams, has a physical disability, and the other, Ron Jones, is an ally of disability communities. We are so blessed to have them!I realize also that I have not yet seen a performance or a play by a disabled man that focuses on fatherhood. As a disabled Black straight man in his forties, that is shocking for me to realize. As we approach Father’s Day, I’m wondering - what can we do to increase the visibility of disabled fathers of color, and of disabled fathers who are gay or trans on the cultural stage?As a feminist, my mind instantly says, “No more men’s stories and no more male dominated system!” But let’s really take a look at whose stories are out there in mainstream culture, and even in cross-cultural work. Nine times out of ten, when Father’s Day comes around, you see the typical media image of a father who might be White or Black, in his late thirties or early forties, able-bodied and very masculine. So we need more stories, art, music, books, etc., by and about diverse fathers who have not been included in the image of Father’s Day put forth by mainstream culture.Yet, there are many fathers who are disabled and have stories to tell. Lee Williams, a Black elder and disabled athlete, visual artist and performer, has traveled the world performing and has also recorded a song with his son. Ron Jones, a White elder and ally, is a playwright and actor who also travels the world, sharing his artistic flavor as a father. Although Sins Invalid is putting in our two cents on the cultural stage and in the arts world locally in the San Francisco Bay Area, we all have a long way to go in making the media, the arts world and our communities more open to highlighting and celebrating all fathers, on Father’s Day and beyond.I’d like to end this blog with an easy recommendation. Because I love music, I urge our readers to look for and purchase the songs listed below, which were written and performed by disabled fathers. If you know of any more songs, books, plays, etc. by or about fathers who are disabled, gay and/or trans please tell us about them.Lee Williams’ CD: Phase Five. Song: Rain or ShineWillie Foster’s CD: Live at Airport Grocery. Song: My Dear Old DadClick on the links below to hear an interview with Lee Williams and a song he did with his son:Interview with Lee Williams by Leroy MooreRain Or Shine