As a member of the Deaf community, I take part in forums and comment on blogs regularly. Some blogs frequently pique my interest while others, not so much.
When it comes to blogs about how Deaf people should and should not act in public, I most definitely have an opinion and voice it often.
Some people have told me I should point my face to the ground when I speak, after having been threatened with arrest for talking too loudly in a government building, but this denotes some kind of shame. I have nothing to be ashamed of and will not look at anybody’s toes when I speak to them.
I have been told that I was obviously born Deaf and have no clue how to behave as a “normal” hearing person should act. People assume many things about me.
I lost my hearing completely in 2014, at the age of 43, and was thrown into a world full of audism and surdophobia, bullying and teasing, mockery from young and old.
After the empty threat of arrest that day (which I was most definitely happy to make public with the help of the media, should the police drag a Deaf woman away in handcuffs from the social office for begging for the rights of an interpreter), I never use my voice outside of my own home. This has led to me being called spiteful and childish.
One woman said I was so cold and heartless that I “probably refer to blacks as niggers.” Why I would ever refer to my own people in such a disgusting and derogatory term, and how on Earth that came from me defending not speaking to my own feet in public, I will never know.
Might I suggest that people stop assuming such shocking and shameful things about other people, whether they are Deaf or hearing, when they do not know them? I know that the world is not such a nice place to live in these days with all of the terrible things happening around us, but please, stop adding to the hate with bigotry, assumptions and insults.
Who am I to give you advice when I don’t know you? I am many things, and as for my advice, you are free to take it or leave it. If I did not belong in your world, I would not lose sleep over it, but this is not your world. This is our world.
I am a proud Indigenous Australian who is profoundly Deaf and uses American Sign Language to communicate with those around me, including my hearing husband. I suffer from PTSD and am a survivor of domestic violence. I suffer from Agoraphobia with Panic Disorder after being in an elevator which fell ten floors. I have seen the world from a hearing and a Deaf standpoint. I have a voice. I am alive.
That is all. Take it or leave it. But please never judge me or assume you know who I am. I am me.