Working in a Socially Sign Language Challenged World
I am deaf. I come from a deaf family. My wife is deaf. My daughter may become deaf one day. Essentially, my family is deaf and I’ve been bestowed with at birth a visual language. I grew up mainstreamed in school while going through speech and auditory training. My primary language has always been American Sign Language (ASL) regardless of my English proficiency or the ability to utilize speech, which is not a language itself.
I struggle with my identity on a daily basis.
Should I choose to speak because I was conditioned to do so?
Should I choose not to speak, but instead move my lips while using sign language?
Should I choose not to move my lips and keep them minimal while using sign language?
How will I be portrayed when I talk with other people?
Will deaf people accept me as one of their own even though I appear hearing?
Will hearing people accept that I’m deaf and not to expect me to lip-read?