Written by: Mike C. - Personal Opinion
Dating overall can be fun, but at the same time, it can suck. It’s even worse when you have a disability. While a freshman in high school, I had my first crush and realized that I wasn’t just deaf buy gay, and it made me come to understand that being a double minority compounded my sense of alienation.
Most within the LGBT community have heterosexual parents, at the same time only 5 to 10% of deaf people have deaf parents. Don’t misunderstand me my parents are incredibly supportive. I’ve always accepted that there would be two fundamental differences between us, one being gay and secondly being deaf.
When I finally finished high school I had learned more or less how to navigate the world as a deaf gay man, and it wasn’t easy. The dating pool is much smaller and faced a lot of discrimination.
I’m always asked if it’s harder to be a gay man in the deaf community or deaf in the gay community. It’s not an easy question to answer, but I tend to feel more comfortable being deaf in the deaf community. You see deaf people are more accepting of my sexual orientation as opposed to being deaf in the queer community which has created a sense of isolation and low self-esteem. I’ve learned over time that most gay men are extremely unaccepting of those who don’t “it into” a certain mold. If you’re not handsome, fit, and white you tend to get shunned.
It has also been difficult in terms of communication and cultural understanding since most gay men can’t sign and know little to nothing about the deaf community. I’ve come to understand that using your hands to communicate is looked down upon by gay men and associated with femininity. This could be due to internalized homophobia, they are less comfortable with guys who are expressive in this way. So it is harder for me to be my true self with other guys.
Don’t get me wrong being deaf has made me a better person, a more thoughtful and caring person. I don’t want to see my two parts as a negative, so I view them as qualities that make me unique and I’m truly blessed to be a part of a tight-knit, vibrant community. As for Mr. Right, will I’m willing to wait, there’s no rush. When the right person comes along I’ll know and he’ll accept all the parts of me.
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