Not Another Deaf Story – REDCAT Theater Performance

Not Another Deaf Story  – REDCAT Theater Performance

We have a story for you. The three of us are Deaf. But this is Not Another Deaf Story. [Polish Music] My name is Modela Kurzet. And I was born a Deaf boy in communist Poland. My parents are Deaf and the three of us use
sign language. I went into the school for the Deaf which
was oral in Poland. and it was not allowed to use sign language. My first day of school I was signing. “Sign language is not allowed!” Ouch! They put me into a corner for a whole hour. Welts were swelling on my hand and I was in
so much pain. Mom, the teachers hit my hand and they hurt. I can’t sign. I really wish they allowed signing in deaf
schools in Poland. We’re going to school. My son’s hands are killing him. Now I realize that this is an oral school,
but at home we do sign. He has to function in both worlds. Do not hit my son’s hands again. Mom, I want to be with you. I just wanted to be so much like my mother. She’s so beautiful. And the way she put her makeup on… Can I have your lipstick? You can have some Vaseline. It doesn’t have any color in it. It makes it so shiny, I feel like such a girl. I’ll need a purse. And a brush? I just felt so good. Just like a girl. My dad. You should be outside playing soccer. I don’t want to play sports with them. You should go outside. But when I do they’re rough and they always
kick me. Mom, that’s not my thing. I want to be with you. When I went to the public bathroom, I tried
to go to the boy’s bathroom. The girl’s bathroom is over there. Why are they putting me into the girl’s bathroom? Sweetie it’s because you do look like a girl. I was very confused of who I was. Which gender am I? A girl or a boy? When my parents moved to Canada, I went to
the School for the Deaf there. And all of the students signed! And I was in awe that none of the teachers
were punishing them! I can use my hands? Of course you can here. I was so thrilled and I felt so free. Because I’ve always identified as being Deaf. I was confused with my gender. Was I a girl or a boy? So my mother took me to see a doctor, and
they did a physical. And then they took me to a counselor. Now we did some tests and your labs show that
you have a high percentage of female hormones. I think there’s three categorizations that
could fit you. The first is intersex, which means you have
a combination of both male and female characteristics; the second is intergender which means you
don’t identify as neither being a boy nor a girl; and the third is transgender, which means
that you don’t identify with the gender that you were assigned at birth. So I think for you, that you fit the category
of intergender. I’m intergender! Well, I’ve always identified being Deaf, but
now I really discovered who I am. As a woman, I’ve married a Deaf man. And I’m very proud to declare my identity
as intergender. You know, I have an international story as
well. [Korean Music] Now I’m curious. When you look at me, what do you see? An Asian girl? I’m obviously Deaf. A cute, little, passive, innocent Girl Scout? Well… Fuck that stereotype! [laughter] My name is Noel King. I was born in Seoul, South Korea. My parents were very young when they accidentally
became pregnant with me. They were very poor and couldn’t afford to
keep me. So, when I was born, they decided to give
me up to an orphanage. In America, in Nebraska, there was a wealthy
Jewish family who were lawyers who had already adopted two Korean children
and really wanted to adopt a third Korean child. So they flew to Seoul and they adopted me
and brought me home. But soon… -Hello? -Hello? Can you hear me? [bang bang bang] They realized I was deaf. They didn’t want to have a deaf child, … so they decided to give me back to the adoption agency. There was another couple in Arkansas,
a Deaf couple who really wanted to adopt a deaf Korean baby. So they went to the adoption agency and they
were on the wait list for over a year. Finally, the agency contacted them and told
them that they found a deaf Korean baby. Back then, they didn’t have texts, just TTY. Hey – we found a deaf Korean girl. Do you want to adopt her? When? Tomorrow. Tomorrow?!? We’re flying to Seoul? No, no, you don’t have to fly to Seoul. Actually, the couple in Nebraska adopted her
previously has the baby. So in the morning, they got on a plane, and
they brought me home. So, we’re all Deaf? We’re all the same? The same! But you, honey, were adopted. Your dad and I are white, but you’re not. So I’m different? Different. I went to school and saw lots of kids of other
cultures. I was the only Asian student. I felt a little bit like a banana. I was yellow on the outside, but inside, I
was white. I grew up, and my dad had a boss with a Chinese
wife from Hong Kong. She was the only other Asian person they knew,
so she became my Godmother. And she wanted to introduce me to my Korean
culture. So she decided to make me some kimchi. You know, the stuff with fermented cabbage
and spices and fish oil. Thank you. I went into college and got an internship
at a place in Toronto. And for the first time I met other Deaf Asians. Have you gone to the Korean barbecue? You ought to, it’s your culture. You definitely should go for sure. So I went to the Korean barbecue and there
were lots of plates. Ugh – fish heads? Disgusting! Live squid? No thank you. The beef looks okay. Oh wait. That’s kimchi. I remember that stuff. That was disgusting. But it’s your culture. Try it. It’s delicious. I devoured the entire thing. And I realized Korean food is in my blood. I finally accepted my Korean identity. I’m grateful for my Deaf parents for giving
me my Deaf identity… but I’m also grateful for my Deaf Korean friends
to introduce me to my Korean identity. So I have accepted myself as a Deaf Korean
American. -Hey wait. Your parents are Deaf? They sure are. And yours too? They are. Are yours? No. My parents are hearing. [Country Music] My name is Vae. And I grew up in South Dakota in a small rural
town. A farm town of only 250 people. I was the only deaf kid there and everyone
felt sorry for me. And for my parents because we didn’t communicate
with one another. They were all strong Christians and they believed
my parents were being punished for something. When I was four years old I saw my mom packing
up my clothes. Mama – why are you packing my things? Why are we getting in the car with daddy? And we drove a really long distance. Past churches… Cornfields… Past more churches… …and more churches. We drove a long way until we got to the School
for the Deaf. And there I saw the kids signing with one
another. I was perplexed and confused. But I stayed the whole week and picked it
up quickly until my parents came to pick me up on Friday to bring me back home. Mama! Daddy! And we got back in the car for the long ride
home. Past the churches… Past the cornfields… More churches… still more churches. Until we finally arrived back at our farm. Mama! I have something to tell you… – I’m sorry, sweetie, I don’t know what you’re
trying to say. Dad! I have something I want to share with you
my friend.. – I don’t know what you’re doing with your
hands. My parents didn’t understand sign language. So I was all alone and lonely again. Those pigs keep looking at me. Maybe the pigs will understand me! I have a good friend at school. Her name is Kristy and she has the most beautiful
pair of red shiny shoes. I want shoes just like hers. So I’m going to ask my parents to get a pair
for me. Hey – maybe I’ll get it for Christmas! We went to my grandparents house for Christmas
and all of my cousins were there. My grandparents gave us each the exact same
gift. It was… a violin? [terrible out of tune violins play] I didn’t get it. But I could feel it. Hmm… maybe I’ll try it with the pigs. [terrible out of tune violin plays while pigs
grunt and laugh] That wasn’t my identity. I found my identity when I was with people
using sign language. I belonged when I went to the School for the
Deaf. And that’s where I found my identity as a
Deaf person. [music plays] So now there are no more barriers. We are unique. We are as diverse as our culture. [applause]

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