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[coming out stories]

Linda Pratt
Mother, Therapist, Director, Newark, CA
October 11, 1997


I find the biggest challenge is to be a Deaf lesbian mother in a small Deaf community. I do not let that stop me. I have decided that I am a lesbian and will always be a lesbian.

I have lost friends because they could not handle who I was and still am. I know there is lots of talk behind my back but there isn't much I can do. It's also hard being Deaf of Deaf (four generations) because I notice that no one asks me directly. People do ask my parents about me and my parents accept me as who I am and insist that I am still a great person. But no one asks me directly about my relationship. They may ask how I am or how my children are. The community is so silent about it. I guess there is some sense of ignorance about lesbianism and not knowing how to talk about it. Sometimes I do wonder how the community views me. Does the community view me as a lesbian or as Linda? There are days when I am going about my business and everything is all okay. There are other days when I stop in my tracks and wonder.

I find as the director of Deaf Gay Lesbian Center, I receive a lot of support and confidence. Working here has helped me realize that I am not alone. I also work with many who struggle with coming out.

I have learned that everyone comes out differently. Some are able to just come out and not experience any problems while others struggle with many issues and conflicts. I try to advise them and encourage them to figure out their reasons for coming out. I try to help them decide if they are ready to come out and deal with the consequences. I also talk with them about their identities because it seems to be a trend to come out as gay or lesbian nowadays. Some are not quite sure of their identities and I work with them to help figure it out. It is always their own decision, but DGLC always give its full support.

I also look at the young children today. I see that even though it is the nineties, many of the young children still do not have the support or information to make decisions about their identities. There are children who are struggling with their true identities and they may experience much anger and repression as result later on in their lives. Sometimes I find it difficult to understand why our society has such a difficult time to accept gay people. There are gay people on every corner of the Earth.



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