Landon Krentz is a Vancouver-based arts and events management professional and deaf-queer individual. He has created a series of social media self-portraits to raise awareness of issue that deaf people face. This is the fourth self-portrait in his series.
What is Deafness without queerness and what is queerness without Deafness?
The Deaf culture and the queer community have a lot in common. In fact, they are parallel with each other.
Some examples of the things they have in common are:
• culture: 90 percent of Deaf children have hearing parents. 90 percent of queer children have heterosexual parents. How are their cultures taught to them if they don't learn them from their parents? Instead of passing on the traditions from linear generations, members in the community are responsible for sharing their knowledge and experiences outside of the traditional family. They are patient teachers.
• identity: Those who identify as Deaf or queer are established and recognized identities within the community.
• events: There are events that celebrate and create safe spaces for Deaf people. There are spaces that are dedicated to queer folks. They both have a need for access and communication.
In the queer community, there is a concept called gender binaries that applies to any individuals who have experienced different kinds of identities, expressions, and sex that challenges the social norm and/or do not fit in any of the traditional binaries. This concept helps to create self-awareness and a better understanding of the relationships we have with ourselves.
Therefore, gender and auditory binaries are important pieces to add into the Deaf-queer culture as we experience intersections quite frequently.
The person in the photo created the idea of the auditory binaries in order to help others understand that there are many degrees of Deafness that includes Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-blind, Deaf-queer, Deaf Person of Colour (DPOC), Deaf-queer Person of Colour (DQPOC), Deaf + oral, Deaf person with multiple disabilities, Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), Parents with Deaf children, late-deafened, and hearing people.
What is Deafness without queerness? What is queerness without Deafness? The answer is simple: intersectional experiences don't meet.
An explanation of the image above:
This is a self-portrait, entitled "Self-Awareness", of Landon Krentz who is on both side of the image.
On the left side of the image, entitled auditory binaries, there is an outline of some of the binaries of his Deaf identity. There are four lines that are divided into different categories. The order of the categories from the top to the bottom states: audiology, identity, expression, and attraction. Each end of the black lines says hearing and deaf. The graph overlaps a photograph of Krentz using sign language for the word spectrum while he is looking to his left, thus, revealing his cochlear implant.
Within the binaries, there is a black dot that indicates the level of Deafness: audiology: 100-percent Deaf; identity: 80-percent Deaf; expression: 20-percent Hearing; attraction: 40-percent Hearing.
The right side of the image, entitled gender binaries, outlines some of the binaries of his gender identity. There are four lines that are divided from the top and bottom, the same as the left side of the portrait, categorizing sex, identity, expression, and attraction. Each end of the black lines says male and female. Krentz is also using sign language to reveal the other end of the vocabulary of spectrum. He is looking towards the right as he is not revealing he is not wearing any hearing-assistance devices.
As before, in the gender binaries, we have: sex: 100-percent male; identity: 80-percent male; expression: 0-percent, attraction: 90-percent male.