Monday, March 12, 2007

Find Out What It Means To Me

Years ago, many of my friends had either rainbow or HRC stickers on their car bumpers or rear windshields. I noticed one friend did not and one day inquired as to why.

“If anyone wants to know if I’m gay, all they need to do is watch me get out of the car.”

I laughed, because it was funny….and true.

Years later, here we are, talking about what it means to be deaf, Deaf, hearing-impaired, oral, manualist, cuer, Hearing, ASLian, English, Strong Deaf, hearie, militant deaf, African-American, black, Black, white, Caucasian, Latino/a, Hispanic, Muslim, Sikh, Indian, Pakistani, short, tall, average, heterosexual, gay, bisexual, male, female, and human.

To those people pushing the identity issue…

  • If anyone wants to know the status of my ears, all they need to do is hear me speak.
  • If people want to know my gender, all they need to do is look at my external sexual assets.
  • If you wonder if I’m white, black, brown or yellow, all you need to do is look at my skin color.
  • If anyone wants to know my sexuality, ask the people I’ve been with.

Who we are, as humans, does not comprise just one label. We are entities. We are infinitesimal. We are boundary-less. Our ideas, our thoughts, our beliefs change from day to day. Every day we have experiences that teach us. Even our hair changes from day to day. Every day I get more gray hairs – I’ve stopped counting. ;-)

To quote a wise friend’s away message: We are all alike in that we are all unique.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that we drop the use of labels. What I am encouraging is that we remember that we are not only people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. AND that we remember other people are not necessarily of the same mindset as we are and respect them, their experiences, their opinions, and their beliefs.

That’s what this all really boils down to: RESPECT

Find out what it means to me.

And you.