Being DeafBlind, the preparation. Part 1

Hi there!

I hope you are doing well in your corner of this rock!

Next week Friday, I have a big meeting, actually it is a Human Rights Tribune hearing! I’ll finally get my day in court! Of course, I’ll fill in the gaps later!

I have several topics of ableism on my mind right now. I’m not sure if these thoughts are positive or negative, you be the judge. Make sure you comment! I love getting comments!

The first situation deals with my attendance to a writers form on Zoom.

My friend runs this forum, they invited me to attend. How this came about was by interesting, but not essential. I’ll just say they invited me and we made plans.

Being DeafBlind, I require interpreters to provide ASL, so that I can understand what is happening, partake in discussions and, you know, learn from the writers. Otherwise I’m just a fedora-wear, sunglassed avatar be-stumbled man with a lop-sided grin of some of coolness. Oh yeah, and I got a sexy shirt too!

The other writers attending the forum all had a disability, or two, of some degree, yet they could hear and see fairly well.

What I am getting at is: comparing the steps to include me in the forum, and those who do not require ASL interpreters. I’m going to list them, hope you don’t mind.

  1. Three weeks before the forum, my friend and I agreed that I would try the forum.
  2. Two weeks before the forum, my friend arranged student interpreters, I also set up a place to meet without interruptions. (Watching interpreters on Zoom is, for me, like watching the news broadcasted on to a TV across the room. I can’t see the small person!)
  3. One week before the forum, my friend confirms two students are booked and will meet me. I’m also editing my story for reading.
  4. Two days before the meeting, my friend sends me the articles from the other writers. The friend probably encouraged the writers to send earlier.
  5. Day of forum, I read the stories, arrive at meeting place, join Zoom, interpreters are ready to start…
  6. And we are off to the races…!
  7. Afterwards, I thank the students and head home, overwhelmed.

As you can see, there was a lot prep work involved. Oh, and I forgot, the friend made sure that everyone was laidback (yes, that is a real word!) with their responses, forgoing their usual, back & forth banter for a more orderly, scholastic, turn-taking instead. This ensures the student interpreters are able to keep up, interpret correctly, which means that I am involved!

Hey, can you say “Respect?”

Now, to make a comparison, if another person wants to join this forum they do not require to do all these things above.

Writer R saw the announcement for the writers forum on Facebook. They have attended it before, but not for quite some time. They decide, on a whim, to join and share their recent work. They did not inform my friend, joined the Zoom meeting in progress. They did not send in material for reading, choosing to read spontaneously drivel from their latest work. They listen politely to harsh criticism, partake in lifeless discussion, provide unproductive feedback to other’s work; using adjectives like “your verse is terse…” or “my kid in high school could do a better job…” and then leave with a sense of involvement, participation and pride. A total asshole, right there.

Sorry, that was fun to write! And that person does not represent anyone!

As you can see, I made that person non-disabled, a bungee-writer jumping into a forum for disabled writers. I did this for a purpose, and that is; there are many nuances of the word disability; varieties is a better word than nuances, and degree is better of the two. I think, hope, my analogy is sufficient that I don’t need to go all-in and explain that disability is individual, one size does not fit all!

Which follows that every person is individual, one size does not fit all!

The person above was non-disabled to illustrate what happens when he/she join, just for the hell of it, a writers forum. And, if you read this far, the point is they are able to do that, because they can.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading how much time and effort a person with disabilities, specifically those who are Deaf or Deaf-Blind, need to undertake to participate fully in an event set up for people who can hear.

I do want to thank my friend, and the group of writers, for welcoming me, critiquing my first chapter, and allowing me to critique their works of fiction, prose, awe-inspiring tales of wow!

And I thank YOU for your 37 seconds today! For reading this blog! Please Like, Share, Comment, Donate!

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