While the rest of the world catches up and works to include the hearing impaired in the fabric of society, the deaf have created their own community through organizations, social gatherings, and internet forums. In this way, the deaf community is much like the LGBT community, and a substantial body of research that looks at issues of inclusivity and diversity has included sections on challenges facing both deaf and LGBT individuals, as they are often the same. However, scant research has been done on those individuals who are both LGBT and deaf. This is surprising, considering what my sister, an interpreter for the deaf, has told me: “You’d be surprised how many deaf people are gay.”
How many exactly? No one is quite sure, as there has yet to be a definitive study to measure the population. According to DeafQueer.org, though, there are about 2.8 million deaf LGBT persons in the United States alone. However, their methodology for arriving at this number isn’t quite scientific. Using the questionable Kinsey estimate that ten percent of the population is gay or lesbian and the fact that there are 28 million deaf or hard of hearing people in the US, they conclude that 2.8 million of them – or ten percent – are gay or lesbian. My sister, who has only anecdotal evidence, would maintain that percentage is probably higher.
|Waiting to Be Heard: On Being Deaf and Gay
Hands and fingers move through the air with amazing speed and precision. I sit watching, hoping the weak smile on my face will mask my befuddlement. All I see in these movements is a blur; everyone else at the table sees jokes, anecdotes, and answers …
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