by Mark Barroso
The College?s Deaf-Hearing Connection (DHC) provided the campus community with a presentation by deaf author Raymond Luczak.
The event, which washeld on Nov. 9 in the Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall, featured Luczak reciting poems and telling the audience about his experiences growing up gay and deaf.
Luczak gave his presentation in American Sign Language (ASL), as an audio interpretation was given by two women sitting in the front row.
Luczak said he lost his hearing at the age of seven months due to a case of severe pneumonia. He started using hearing aids when he was two years old.
“At age 15, I was obsessed with Harrison Ford. I did not realize I was gay … It was difficult being deaf growing up. I didn?t feel like I could connect with my family,” he said, describing his youth.
Luczak started writing after the death of grandmother when he was 11 years old. His many books include “Eyes of Desire 2: A Deaf GLBT Reader” and “Assembly Required: notes from a deaf gay life.”
“Eyes of Desire 2” is an international anthology of deaf people while “Assembly Required” is a memoir, he said.
Luczak has also produced two full length documentaries. One of them, “Nathie:No Hand-Me-Downs,” is the first documentary to feature a black, deaf and gay man.
The presentation was the only event held so far by DHC this semester, but more events are planned for next semester.
The event was funded by the Student Finance Board and co-sponsored by PRISM and the students that support them, according to the group?s Facebook page.
Members of the DHC shared their reactions after the presentation as Luczak held a book signing in the lobby of the Music Hall.
Megan Reynolds, sophomore psychology major, is a member of DHC and said, “It was nice to sign with someone who is deaf. I was one of the people who hung out with him (Luczak) before he presented.”
Luczak currently works for SIGNews, the national newspaper for deaf and signing communities. He also said he is currently working on a cinematic ghost film with exceptional special effects, to be done in ASL. According to Luczak, the film “is very dramatic.” Kristine Gonzalez, sophomore deaf education major, is the president of DHC.
“The goal of DHC is to create awareness about the culture of the deaf community,” she said. “You don?t need to know sign language … DHC focuses on learning more about deaf culture and all of its surrounding aspects.”
DHC, which was started roughly 10 years ago at the College, travels twice a year to the Katzenbach School for the Deaf to participate in the school?s Field Day and send out care packages.
The next DHC event is scheduled for the spring semester, but there are few details at this time.