An excerpt from "The Zebra" by Edward Theriault

What I've learned about being hard-of-hearing is that I always had to be ready to defend myself against hearing or deaf people pressuring me to label myself one way or the other.

The longing I had to be accepted by both worlds has created tremendous difficulties. I found I couldn't allow myself to socialize with either deaf or hearing people one hundred percent. So I learned how to talk for the hearing world, and I learned how to sign for the deaf world. I've tried to split my socializing in half with both worlds. Actually, I find that I hang out more with hard-of-hearing friends because they understand what it's like to be stuck in this tug-of-war.


Because I am bombarded with hearing--and reading--the word "deaf" in the media, novels, and deaf newsletters. Deaf people have more clout than the hard-of-hearing. At one time, two hard-of-hearing students quit Northern Essex Community College (near Boston) because they were fed up being in a school-sponsored "deaf clubs." Should these two girls be angry? Of course. They earned the right to be livid, having to live under the deaf shadows. There were no hard-of-hearing clubs at all.

From EYES OF DESIRE: A DEAF GAY & LESBIAN READER (Alyson Publications, 1993), edited by Raymond Luczak.

© 1993 - 2008 Copyright by Raymond Luczak. All rights reserved.