Why I Am Happy to be a Deaf Queer

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At 10, I went to see Titanic with my friends. I sat alone with one of them in the back in the theatre and suddenly got this warm, fuzzy energy in my chest. I had this deep longing to hold her hands and kiss her. I didn’t understand why I had this feeling with a girl but didn’t even want to think about it again. 

The next year, a friend asked me, “If you like girls, who would you choose?” Girls? Why would I like girls? But it brought my innermost feelings back. Within a few weeks, I kissed the girl I had first experienced those feelings for, and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had in my entire life. In a lot of ways, she changed me.

I was glad my friend asked me that question. If she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have found that I was Queer until later in my life. Now I look back and see why this day was such a pivotal experience—it really made me realize that being a Deaf queer is a part of my life’s journey and that I’ve been Queer for as long as I can remember.

Before I fell in love, I was mostly asleep throughout my early life. Despite my young age, I had already gone through hard circumstances. I was sexually abused. I lost my dad to cancer. These experiences numbed my feelings, but after falling in love with this girl, I found emotions that I never have felt before. 

For me, love means I am able to find conscious meanings in situations. Being in love means I can be truly conscious with my life. And in order to understand love, it is very clear that I need to be a Deaf Queer. Even though I was still young, I understood that this experience was very necessary. Growing up as a Deaf child, I had feelings of isolation, pain, and disparities. I had to find a girl who reflected gentleness, meekness, and confidence. This girl helped bring me to life. 

Some people will argue that I can find a guy who has those qualities. When I say I’m queer, I do like both genders. But at that point, I would not be able to love a guy in the same way that I loved with this girl. There was something different about the experience that showed me I could love a person despite their being of the same sex. After that experience, I understood that love does not act upon something, but it simply acts on its own. Love just exists; it is just there. And I had to love a girl so I could connect my experiences of confinement.

It was a Deaf person who asked me that question earlier in my life, and I don’t think this question would show up in the hearing community. In the Deaf culture*, people tend to be direct, friendly and warm. Deaf people like to ask hard questions that hearing people would not like to ask. 

In some ways, though, it is easier to be a Deaf Queer in the Deaf community. There are many Deaf gay people, and I think Deaf people understand pain better than most hearing people would do. Deaf people often cannot be accepted because hearing people want them to be “hearing.” Often they are forced to get a cochlear implant and go to speech therapy. So, in some ways, they can relate to what gay people go through and can sympathize with what queer people feel about their identity. 

In the last decade, I’ve been learning how to tie my deafness to my Queer identity, and I’ve been surprised in their similar experiences. A few years ago, I went to a Gay Christian conference. I got up on the stage and had to explain how my deafness is tied to brokenness, just like that guy who was blind in the Gospel of John. But I explained how brokenness is also powerful because with my deafness I was able to show the world how I overcome difficulties. God used my deafness to glorify him, and I really believe that gay people will use their gay identity to show that they are also overcoming their struggles. So I really do believe that God, or another kind of higher power (in any way you choose to define it) uses our brokenness to define the kind of people who we are. 

I really think being a Deaf Queer helps me understand pain, whether what it means to be a Deaf person, or what it means to be a Queer person. Though these experiences can be examined individually, I often think that being a Deaf Queer has more complex meanings. Gay identity and deafness are more connected than most might think.  

I had to love my first girl in order to understand my entire experience as a Deaf person. Being sexually abused is often related to power and control. Being a Deaf person often means no power, and hearing people took advantage of me to gain power and control. Without my Queer identity, I would have no sense of who I am, and I probably would die. In my early life, I had to find something that I could hold onto. 

I’m proud to be a Deaf Queer, and I’m blessed to have all the experiences I have in my life. 

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