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Tag Archive: Raelyn Gallina

  1. R.I.P. Raelyn Gallina

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    Raelyn GallinaEarly last week, on September 6, 2014, the body modification industry lost one of its pioneers. After a long battle with cancer, Raelyn Gallina has passed away.

    In the early days of modern body modification, it was definitely a man’s world. Doug Malloy, Jim Ward, and Fakir are credited as being the “fathers” of the modern piercing movement, but while they were servicing a primarily male clientele, Raelyn was blazing a trail among women, offering piercing, branding, and scarification in the lesbian BDSM community. While Doug, Jim, and Fakir get the lion’s share of the credit for what modern piercing has become since it emerged in the late 70s, Raelyn’s name has unfortunately little more than a footnote—and that’s a shame. (It is called “his-story,” after all.)

    While she made her home in the Bay Area, Raelyn made a tremendous impact on early body modification on the East Coast through her travels. In the early 90s, she would see clients and do workshops in and around the Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas, offering not only piercing, but branding and scarification services as well. She presided over a women’s space, but welcomed everyone from Philadelphia’s queer community. What body modification became in Philadelphia owes a debt to Raelyn’s early visits, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Infinite would probably not exist if it weren’t for her.

    Raelyn battled inflammatory breast cancer over ten years ago. Our last post about Raelyn, published this past May, reported she was dealing with a recurrence that returned to sites in her brain, bones, mediastinum and lungs. She had recently finished a course of 25 radiation sessions, in June of 2013, and spent the fall and winter recovering. Although that radiation did a good job on many sites, Raelyn was still undergoing radiation treatments. Last Saturday, she lost that long, final battle.

    Her partner of many years, Babs, was requesting help with medical bills, and with Raelyn’s passing, funeral costs have added to this expense. To anyone who is able to give even a small amount: any donation is useful and appreciated. You can send funds through the GoFundMe site (although they do take a percentage of all donations), PayPal donations can be made to the email address 2gardenhens@nullgmail.com, or checks or money orders can be sent to:

    Babs McGary
    1271 Washington Ave., #640
    San Leandro, CA 94577

    The world is poorer for her passing.

     

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  2. Raelyn Gallina Needs Help

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    RaelynRaelyn Gallina is a giant of the piercing industry, and the piercing scene in Philadelphia wouldn’t be the same without her. In the early 90s, before there was a piercing studio in Philly (much less multiple studios), Raelyn used to come through town and offer her piercing, branding, and scarification services through women’s BDSM groups like Female Trouble. She helped to create a safe space for women (and men), and set the template for what piercing would become here. Without Raelyn, there would be no Infinite.

    Raelyn battled inflammatory breast cancer over ten years ago, and is now dealing with a recurrence that returned to sites in her brain, bones, mediastinum and lungs. She finished a course of 25 radiation sessions last June and has spent the fall and winter recovering. Although that radiation did a good job on many sites, Raelyn is still undergoing radiation treatments. A GoFundMe page has been set up to get financial help for Raelyn Gallina and her long-term partner, Babs. If you know Raelyn, know of Raelyn, or just know her work, you’re encouraged to help out—even if it’s just a little bit.

    In 2009, after my first year as President of the Association of Professional Piercers, I was lucky enough to be able to honor Raelyn with the APP’s President’s Award. This was my speech, as included in The Point #48:

    “I would like to say this year’s APP President’s Award recipient needs no introduction. I would like to say this—but unfortunately, I can’t. I hope to start to change this, tonight.

    “The accepted history of body piercing in this country is usually spoken of—and written—as one with two fathers (and a paternal grandfather in Doug Malloy): Jim Ward, as the man to take it from the gay male leather underground in San Francisco and inch it toward the mainstream with the founding of both Gauntlet and PFIQ magazine; and Fakir, as the one to champion the role of ritual in piercing and its origins in earlier cultures.

    While our industry would not exist—at least in the form it is in today—without their contributions, there was another figure—working a little later, but following a similar path—who was just as influential in shaping piercing in a different community: among women.

    And this is women with a ‘y’, Womyn who took body modification—not just piercing, but branding and scarification as well—and made it part of their lives. At a time when feminists were leading the movement to politicize the body, she was creating a safe space for lesbians, leatherwomen, butches, femmes, the queer-identified, and the occasional man as well; men like me.

    She was a pioneer in piercing, branding, and scarification, and even one of the early organizers of the APP, and without her influence I would not be here today. It is a great honor to give this year’s President’s Award to Raelyn Gallina.”

     

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