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'The Deaf community isn’t exempt from the other forms of oppression' - a chat with Socially Sound

Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,506 Disability Gamechanger
I recently spoke to Sarah and Kirsty from Socially Sound about what it's like to be a young, Deaf person, and how intersectionality plays a role in the experiences of Deaf people.  

Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourselves?  

S: I’m Sarah, a Black Deaf Woman. I am bilaterally implanted and I have just recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Audiology. Alongside that, I’m a creative across a few of the arts; dance, poetry, and writing. I’m also a sign song artist. But, above all, I am a content creator; working closely with Kirsty to provide accessible content on topics mainly to do with the Deaf community on social media.KI’m Kirsty, a plus size Deaf woman and I wear two hearing aids. I will be graduating this month with a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies and Education. Apart from that, I am a digital content creator and you’ll probably see me with a different hair colour every month, or even week sometimes! I make beauty, hair, lifestyle content, but I also make accessible content that focuses on the Deaf community, people, culture and language. What are the main barriers you've faced as young Deaf people?
S: Communication and academic support. As I am oral, my communication needs are often dismissed or questioned as well as my deafness being challenged. Academic support was often very minimal or infrequent also as a result of being oral and capable. This is all a result of ignorance/lack of awareness or refusal to accommodate; which then bleeds into other barriers.KNot getting the right support in place, having to self-advocate, be resilient at all times and fatigue, whether it's concentration fatigue, or lip-reading fatigue. How important is it to consider intersectionality when reflecting on the experiences of Deaf people?
S: Deafness isn’t always the first thing people see - as it is an invisible disability; but, it also isn’t always disclosed. Your race and gender is seen first so you would then be treated accordingly to those before the deafness then comes into frame. You then see a change in attitude; whether that’s positive or negative, who knows? So, with that, it’s important to realise that for Deaf people, especially those that aren’t white or male, their experiences wouldn’t be purely based on their deafness. They would experience racism and sexism first before audism; or they would experience all three; or they would experience just two. It varies, depending on the individual and where they walk. The best way to understand it is, not as layers as people often say, but an interlocking mesh of different factors of oppression. You cannot focus just on the Deafness aspect of a person’s identity and disregard the possibility of their treatment being due to another part of their identity which is then magnified by their Deaf side. K: It is incredibly important, like Sarah said, we can’t just focus on the Deaf. Because, if we do, we then become complicit in viewing Deaf people’s identity through the lens of Deaf First/Deaf Same. Recently, we talked about Deaf Same in an episode with Ebony Gooden (@blacknotivory on Instagram), and that explores the dangers of not considering Intersectionality and the harm that comes with that. What is Socially Sound?K: We created Socially Sound after a year of working together making content. Originally, we were doing ‘Wisdom Wednesday’s’ series and then we wanted more, and we wanted to share more with our audiences. So Socially Sound was born. S: Socially Sound means being in tune with societal discussions, and we wanted to actively contribute to the bridging of the gap between hearing people and deaf people as well as the gap between deaf people themselves. The Deaf community isn’t exempt from the other forms of oppression there are such as racism, misogynoir, fatphobia, ableism, etc. So, we wanted to create a brand in which we could do different forms of content and activism; not just Wisdom Wednesday - a series in which we offer tidbits on different topics. Why did you set Socially Sound up? K: Initially, we both had opposite views on a topic that I brought up on Twitter, and after having conflict for a few months. We spoke, and resolved that issue by being able to see each other's perspective, which was beautiful. And, I wanted to allow our audiences to experience that, being able to see different perspectives, and I thought Sarah was the perfect partner for this.  I’ve also gained a friendship with Sarah, and I love how we can work and have fun doing what we do at the same time. S: Think ‘enemies to lovers’ but tamer. We started off as opposition, and were able to find middle ground. But, as much as we may have opposing views, we’re also very like minded. So, it wasn’t hard to come to realise that the both of us wanted to create something bigger together. It was an opportunity to create more so that we could share more. Socially Sound is a demonstration of the two of us being in tune with issues and talking them through to understand them before then offering a perspective online.What do you hope to achieve through the creation of Socially Sound?K: For me, it’s about changing people’s perspectives. I want people to watch, read, really think about our content, and think ‘oh, I didn’t think of it like that’ or ‘now I know what’s right, and what’s wrong’. I hope that people will reach out to us for workshops, collaborations, or opportunities that allow us to get our knowledge and expertise out there. S: I hope for more Deaf people to find comfort in their identity, to feel that we are a safe space, and to find their voice through us. I also hope they’re able to find the community through us and realise they aren’t alone either. Above all, it’s a way to encourage education and awareness.Where can people find you?SFor us, @socially__sound on Instagram and Twitter but @sarahandkj on Tiktok. Our Patreon, Socially Sound. But, for me, my Instagrams are @sarahadedeji.x & @sarahscribes and my Twitter is @ambideafkid
KMy handles are the same across all platforms - @thatdeafgirlkj. Instagram and Twitter.

Over to you...Did you enjoy Sarah and Kirsty's interview? 

Did you learn anything new from reading their answers?

Do you have any experiences of intersectionality you'd like to share?
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