How best to describe this situation? Why I suppose to make it real for myself - as I was born neither deaf nor to deaf parents I must equate it to my life. But here is a twist on the DEAF BILINGUAL COALITION (DBC) approach. By the way - in case it doesn't hit you over the head in my dripping sarcasm below... I am a HUGE supporter of DBC from this day forward!
Fictitious scenario that makes it REAL for me:
October of the year I was born, in a growing Southern college town. A Baby is delivered to my parents.
The happy couple are holding their second child in loving succession, passing this puffy and squirming bundle of potential back and forth - dreaming of the life it may begin leading this very day. My birth - my parents - my future. Awesomeness.
Months later the mother brings her child to the pediatrician for his first checkup. And after a few routine tests, with a bit of a scowl on his face, the doctor braces the mother for a difficult announcement.
"Nancy, I am not sure how progressed it is without further testing - but your son is showing signs of advanced hetero-loss."
The mother is shocked, partially from not having noticed it herself, but mostly because she has never met anyone or spoken to friends that have children who are hard of hetero... or worse... completely homo.
The doctor comforts her by explaining that if, in fact, the child proves to be suffering from some loss of normal ability - there are some new studies that show how the child can be mainstreamed and given all the tools necessary to pass himself as a hetero, or as near to one as modern science can create thanks to the brilliance of Alexander Gay Bell.
"We will teach him to recognize the beauty of the opposite gender, place electronic enhancements on his willy that pick up on the subtle attraction that must SURELY exist to girls - and then we will amplify those signals until he is a fully endowed pseudo-hetero capable of mating any female with convincing accuracy!!"
I could continue this ludicrous approach to pairing the experience that gay and deaf child might or might not have in common. But I will get to my point...
Studies have proven that using sign language as an early form of communication is beneficial to both hearing and deaf infants. It stimulates intellect, vocabulary, communication and overall self esteem. Therefore the simple introduction of ASL or Baby signs into an infants life could be extremely useful, even if later the child and family decide that there are benefits to be had from other assisted aural techniques.
In the same way I cannot imagine how different my life would have unfolded if EARLY in my experience, an informed professional adult might have indicated to my parents that it is perfectly normal for a blossoming gay child to engage in certain behaviors... there might have been so many more years of formative bonding than having to "present" a certain story to the world (both as a closeted child and what I imagine are closeted parents when they observe feminine qualities in a boy child.)
Whatever the answer is - I do not have it. But as I read with wonder and awe the experience of young adults or older adults that were mainstreamed with AGBell methods and philosphies - the simple rapture they express when finally achieving dynamic acceptance and abilities and self esteem by embracing their "native and innate" language through ASL. Well, it is like reading a tender coming out story. A being overcoming adversity to rise above expectations... and be who they were born to be.
And it is for them, those for whom the bell does not toll, that I am grateful tonight. Both as a Bodhisattva in training and a fledgling ASL student.
We are, all of us, blessed to be. And being what we are... should become more possible EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Sign early, sign proudly, teach me to sign with you - and I will do my best to hear you in your glory with my eyes, my heart and my mind!