Episode 8 of GLADly Chat is coming soon. Tune in on Friday, June 30 featuring Roberto Cabrera, who is both queer and deafblind, for June’s theme of “Pride & DeafBlind Awareness Month”. Don’t miss it.
—Image desc: yellow, orange, green, and blue gradient background. On top upper area, white text shows “GLADly Chat” with GLAD, CODIE, OC DEAF, TCGLAD, B-GLAD logos underneath. Two circled photo frames. One of Roberto Cabrera, deaf queer and deafblind. Second image of Ricardo Nino, TCGLAD Media. Lower area, white text shows “Episode 8: Pride & DeafBlind Awareness Month” with a picture of the date: Friday, June 30 and white text “Coming soon!”
Image description and transcript: https://youtu.be/WMaWu0Ek5i4
Welcome to our GLADly Chat! Why is it unique? It’s Pride and DeafBlind Awareness Week! What’s your role within the deaf community and your journey in LBGTQ+ community too?
Hello, I’m Roberto! [Name sign Roberto] How am I known in the community? I’m very involved in the communities by supporting and uplifting by believing in systemic change. Pushing for better services is my vision from now on. It has been like this ever since.
Some people have questions regarding VR (Vocational Rehabilition) services or deafblind community by sharing information and resources. I’ve been doing this for a long while. This is how people know me.
What’s your favorite thing about deaf LBGTQ+ community?
Before I can continue, really my identity is deafblind queer which is put together. There is no such thing as separating both groups.
But we do have some integration, which is a good thing. It feels more whole than going in either direction or having to make this choice. It’s rare to be in this position that integrates both identities.
Again, it’s often the deaf sighted group who are LBGTQ+, one or two queer identify as LBGT which leads to the opportunity to interact. My favorite thing is what…hmmm.
It’s that space that values and celebrates by recognizing this community because individual experience is different. This space is really treasured, which is my most favorite thing.
Also, they have a deaf organization called Deaf Queer Resource Center based in San Francisco. I’m very involved and supportive of this organization.
They hosted virtual events to get together often. Also, they host an annual national conference. It’s where they bring people together to attend this national conference. They have that specific time to get together, network and socialize. That is amazing!
What advice would you give to other LGBT people, whether they are out or not?
Each individual journey is interesting. Right now across the nation isn’t going great for LBGTQ+ community.
Back then in 2017 or 2018, at the time Marriage Equality passed which was good news.
Now, the laws are focusing on children. This impacts the children because they have no right to vote. We make decisions for them.
In that we have power to decide and control the children. It doesn’t matter if they are still learning or don’t know their own identity yet. We still decide for them. It’s understandable if it’s for complying religious or other reasons. Again, it’s preferrable to give some flexibility. Some people have expert knowledge about who they are while others don’t know who they are.
Having more flexibility means the children have more time to develop mentally and physically as a whole person until they are confident to continue their progress.
This is where it affects the community and staying strong. Try to include more support for children. Right now, those children need our support.
How would you like to be supported by our deaf communities that are not LGBT?
Listen to their stories, especially adults who want to reflect and share.
This is what we are asking for and we want to become more aware of their choices which can make an impact. Whether it’s negative or positive and recognize both.
If we focus on only positive direction, it means ignoring them. If we focus on negative direction only, it means also ignoring them.
It’s important to be aware and recognize your choices which can make an impact. So, it’s time not to become a bystander, not knowing or being ignorant. It’s time to become more aware and learn how to become more supportive. People have choices to decide. Again, it’s better to know both negative and positive sides.
It’s DeafBlind Awareness Week. Ok, can you share some tips for sighted people to better communicate and interact with DeafBlind people?
Sighted [shows gesture for sighted] …many people don’t know what the word is ‘sighted’. Sighted means people can see normally.
Deaf people believe that deafblind people have closed eyesight and are blind completely.
No, that is not true. There is a spectrum of deafblindness. For example, I can see some but at nighttime, I can’t see at all. Deafblindness is diagnosed when a person’s vision is so impaired that they can’t see at nighttime and can’t drive. If someone’s vision suddenly disappears at night, they may receive a diagnosis of deafblindness. Some people may not be aware of the law that defines deafblindness. It is important to recognize the impact of assumptions based on incorrect facts on our community because it could hurt the community. As sighted individuals, we often rely on information shared by others, but it is crucial to ensure that the information is accurate. To avoid spreading incorrect facts, conducting thorough research is necessary. In our society, we primarily interact with sighted individuals, who often disseminate information. Unfortunately, this can lead to the spread of inaccurate information. To prevent this, sighted individuals should conduct thorough research to ensure the accuracy of the information they share, particularly when it pertains to deafblind adults and children. By seeking insights from deafblind individuals, who have firsthand experience, we can ensure the dissemination of correct information. The correct information that spreads the awareness of deafblind will make connections with the sighted individuals.
What area of services need to be improved or changed in deafblind community? (Look up the script for the phase of a question)
There is a subgroup within the minority community consisting of deafblind individuals who can see. Many of us have achieved higher education such as BA, BS, MA diplomas, or have other academic-related experiences. However, we are facing a lack of career opportunities due to companies being hesitant to provide communication accommodations, potentially due to the associated expenses. It is important for us to not be afraid to ask deafblind adults what they need in order to accommodate their communication methods. Some of us just ask for a few communication accommodations. Some of us will ask for more. Some of us will ask for staff support. Our goal is to establish a team approach. A team approach means a synergistic way of working with each person committed and working towards a shared goal. This approach can effectively reduce tensions and facilitate the integration of deafblind adults into the workforce. Going back to education, some teachers would conduct research on the appropriate way to interact, and teach deafblind children. It is best done through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) when deafblind consultant is added to the IEP. So the school can plan to hire a deafblind consultant and provide resources and accurate information. They will also conduct a sit-down with deafblind students to assess their educational needs. This is crucial for the success of deafblind students.
What are some support system and resources for deafblind people? Do they exist? (look at the script)
The availability of resources for the deafblind community varies depending on the state or local area. Some states have accurate resources in place, while others may lack sufficient accommodations. For instance, in Southern California, particularly in Los Angeles, co-navigator services have recently been introduced. Additionally, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) offers Support Service Providers (SSPs) for the deafblind community. Before sharing information, it is beneficial to seek resources, referrals, and information from the deafblind community, such as upcoming events or camp programs. The wealth of resources, referrals, and information available from the deafblind community is extensive, providing valuable insights into their experiences.
ROBERTO AND RICARDO
I thoroughly enjoyed this interview, GLADly Chat, and I hope those who are watching this interview find it a valuable reminder, particularly, tips on how to interact with deafblind community.
YES, YES, YES!
As a subgroup of a minority group, our daily lives are intertwined with the sighted society. This interview aims to raise awareness and provide valuable tips on how to effectively support the deafblind community.
(mouthing yes!): definitely, definitely, definitely! Thank you again and take care. Goodbye.