Fleeing the island by bike.

Passengers of the 7pm Wednesday sailing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen were treated to a spectacle. People rose from their seats and flocked to the front of the boat. I happened to be seated at the front, so I took the cue and got up for a better look. It was a beautiful sight, the sun was shining, and the boat was squeezing in-between the Southern Gulf Islands. A lone crew member was on the deck, resting his arms on the railing, but I was fairly sure he wasn’t meant to be the spectacle.

Some of the passengers migrated to the starboard windows while others returned to their seats. Curious about what had just happened, I tapped a message on my phone and showed it to the woman seated across from me, “I am deaf, I have noooooo idea what just happened.”

Continue reading “Fleeing the island by bike.”

Experiencing street harassment as a deaf woman.

Since entering my 30s, I’ve learned how to receive compliments. I have also learned that compliments are often used by men as bait to get women talking to them. For some, paying a compliment entitles them to a woman’s attention.

A plus of being deaf (as deaf as I am, anyway) is being blissfully ignorant of any catcalls that are sounded my way. For these volunteering their opinions about me out loud, not getting any reaction out of me must be maddening. It’s glorious.

On occasion, some bozo tries to override my inability to hear by following me.

I’ve been in Victoria for five months, and it’s already happened three times. Most recently, I was sitting on a bench scrolling through social media, getting annoyed with people on the internet, when I noticed a shadow cast over me.

Continue reading “Experiencing street harassment as a deaf woman.”

So that’s what that was all about.

A tattooed woman with platinum braids pulled to one side greets the camera with one hand up. She is wearing angular orange cat eye frames, a black necklace and tank top.
 I have some bullshit to share.

Yesterday I posted a series of signed Stories on Instagram. I did this for two reasons: to give hearing people a taste of what it’s like to be singled out.

Mostly, I did it because, given the context, it was more appropriate to explain in sign language.

Since moving back to BC, I had been putting off getting on the waitlist for a family doctor knowing the outcome was likely to be upsetting.

Continue reading “So that’s what that was all about.”

Shh, the adults are talking.

Imagine the year is 2019: You’re at a real estate office with a friend to inquire about purchasing farmland with the intention of growing pre-pickled vegetables. (This would be done by irrigating crop with vinegar instead of water.)

You ask the realtor some questions. Rather than answer you, the realtor pulls your friend aside and whispers in their ear. The realtor works in a polite smile but gives you nothing more than that.

Once the meeting has ended, your friend relays all the realtor’s answers to you (“No, you can’t pay the mortgage in pickled vegetables.”) Your friend also tells you about the mortgage plan they’ve agreed upon without your input. Although you trust your friend to make the right decision, you can’t help but be wary of the realtor and remark to your friend that you found it unsettling how the realtor ignored you.

THEN! Your friend defends the realtor’s behaviour. Your friend asserts to you that the realtor was professional and rationalizes you being left out of a conversation about something that affects you. In other words, “Shh, the adults are talking.”

Continue reading “Shh, the adults are talking.”

A Scorpio below the Tropic of Capricorn.

Tomorrow I start my 24-hour 3-flight journey to Trelew, Argentina. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It’s a great relief that this time my travelling pal, Mélissa, will be on the same flights as me. I am counting on her to be entertaining enough to compensate for the absence of captioned movies on these flights. I’ve had to endure many entertainment-deprived flights including the 15 and a half-hour haul from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia. Don’t be surprised if, by the time we land in Trelew, Mélissa will have a head full of micro-braids because I’ll need something to do while she watches Super Troopers 2 back to back to back to back…. to back.

White girls on vacay!

Continue reading “A Scorpio below the Tropic of Capricorn.”

Nothing about us without us.

If you follow me on Instagram and follow me closely enough to stay updated on my Stories, you would’ve caught my overview of the shitstorm caused by a popular YouTuber on Sunday.

I’m not going to repeat as much of the details here as I don’t want to direct further attention to this person’s channel.

The story begins with a hearing person with no ties to the deaf community who gained notoriety for her “ASL” videos of songs. The spoken portions of her uploads are often not accompanied by captions thus making them inaccessible to deaf people who rely on them.

That’s not all; she decided to start selling ASL-themed merchandise. At this point, Chrissy Marshall of The Essential Sign and 50+ other members of the Deaf community convened to write an open letter delineating the issues with what this person was doing. The letter was very polite and informative, yet it resulted in posts on Instagram, Twitter and even a new non-captioned video by this person accusing the Deaf community of attacking her.

Continue reading “Nothing about us without us.”