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Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gay Community

Strong Subcommunity of Deaf Community

By

Updated June 27, 2011

Over the years, deaf and hard of hearing gay people have formed their own organizations, held their own conferences, written their autobiographies, created plays, and appeared in film.

Deaf Gay Organizations

The largest deaf gay organization is the Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD). The RAD has chapters across the United States, and sponsors conferences.

People in the Deaf Gay Community

Raymond Luczak is an openly gay deaf man who has edited and published an anthologybook about being deaf and gay, Eyes of Desire: A Deaf Gay and Lesbian Reader. (This book is out of print. The ISBN is 1-55583-204-0). Luczak is also a filmmaker.

A few deaf gay and lesbian autobiographies have been written. One is Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir, by Terry Galloway. Galloway became deaf in middle childhood in the late 1950s because of an antibiotic that was given to her pregnant mother.

The magazine Disability & Society published the paper "'I Am Bodied.' 'I Am Sexual.' 'I Am Human.' Experiencing Deafness and Gayness: A Story of a Young Man" in its August 2008 issue. This was a paper that examined the experiences of a deaf 24-year-old gay male growing up in the Czech Republic.

In addition, a search of the Gallaudet University Library Guide to Deaf Biographies for "gay" or "lesbian" turned up five records that matched:

  • Innes, Eric
  • - a gay deaf Scottish man who was murdered.
  • Spearing, John Thomas Alysius
  • - founder of Britain's gay and lesbian club.
  • Hughes, Tony
  • - another deaf gay murder victim, killed by a serial killer.
  • Hockney, David
  • - another British-born deaf gay man.
  • D'aoust, Vicky
  • - a deaf lesbian woman.
  • Moyer, Sonya Theresa
  • - a deaf lesbian Canadian.

Another deaf gay victim of murder was Eric F. Plunkett, a student at Gallaudet University who was murdered by another student at Gallaudet in September 2000. Plunkett was killed in a robbery; his sexuality was not a factor in his death.

A major story in the media in the early 2000s was about a deaf lesbian couple that used technology to have a deaf baby. The story was featured in the Washington Post and generated a lot of criticism.

Deaf Gay and Lesbians in Film

Running Without Sound is a short film about a deaf gay teenager who develops a crush on a teammate. In addition, on YouTube there is a short captioned video "Ace Gilliam," an interview with a gay deaf youth, who discusses his experience with being bullied.

Accessible Educational Media on Homosexuality

While not necessarily about gay and lesbian deaf people per se, the Described and Captioned Media Program offers some streamed captioned video on the website dcmp.org for deaf and hard of hearing who want to understand more about homosexuality:

  • Out: Stories of Lesbian and Gay Youth
  • - a film from 1994
  • It's Elementary: Talking about gay issues in school
  • - a 1996 film showing classroom activities to help students understand homosexuality

Deaf Gays in Theatre

New York Deaf Theatre has produced plays featuring gay deaf themes, and has even had a deaf gay executive director. One past production, from the mid-1990s, was "Language of One," a play about a gay, Jewish, and deaf architect.

Deaf Gay Social Networks

DeafQueer.Org, the website of the Deaf Queer Resource Center (DQRC), is still active, but the DQRC has moved into the social networking arena, with the Facebook page Deaf Queers and Allies, and the Twitter handle deafqueer.

Searching Facebook turns up deaf gay groups such as "Deaf Gay Male All Over the World." Another Facebook page is "Deaf Lesbian Festival," for an international deaf lesbian festival sponsored by DeafLesbianFestival.org. Still another Facebook group is "Deaf Gay World."

Deaf Gay Health Care Concerns

Exposure of deaf gays to AIDS/HIV continues to be a concern of the health care community. The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care published an article, "Perceptions of HIV/AIDS by deaf gay men," in its July-August 2004 issue. According to the abstract, a pilot study was done with five people (with and without HIV) who told of their negative perceptions of health care providers towards deaf gay men. The authors concluded that more needed to be done for this community to reduce the risks of HIV. In addition, the DQRC is also host to a site devoted to deaf people who have passed from AIDS (gay and nongay), www.deafaids.info.

Social Service Organizations

The Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency, DCARA, provides counseling services for gay and lesbian issues to people in the greater San Francisco, California area.

International Deaf Gay Community

Outside of the United States, there are deaf gay and lesbian organizations. A few:

  • Australia - Australian Deaf Gay and Lesbian Association
  • France - Association Culturelle des Gays et Lesbiennes
  • South Africa - Deaf Association for Gays of Suothern Africa
  • United Kingdom - Deaf Gay UK

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