#381, from October, 2015. 29×32. Acrylic on Canvas. I called this: “Self Portrait.” It seems to be moving from hearing, to a visual deaf space, with hands raised and ready to begin to sign… I began to learn ASL in 2016.
In the ten years or so since I began to notice the change in my hearing, I’ve found that whatever inconveniences I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned about Deaf history– beginning ASL, it’s place in the Deaf community–that whatever inconveniences I’ve experienced have been far outweighed by what I’ve gained.
Following the several deaf/Deaf hoh pages on FB, I see this fabricated wall created between sign, and Hearing language. The social and political and medical effects of which have been so damaging, historically, and hardly less now. The discussions and fights on the advantages of techno-props to bring people into the Hearing world, versus learning sign (especially those around surgical procedures to infants to give them cochlear implants), go on as though these were mutually exclusive options.
The assumptions of the advantages of Hearing, as one might expect from a privileged class, become masks to stigma and stereotyping. Language has always been more than vocalization. “Gestures” are as grammatical as speech. Sign languages are not subsidiaries, or alternative of speech, but a natural unfolding out of the larger set that constitutes language.