Proposal: Radical Inclusion

Radical Inclusion

(the start of a conversation)

How do we include everyone?

How do we experience the world?

How to listen…
Words…

How do we assess need for interpreter services?

In terms of need of services, the need is profound. If a person is Deaf-deaf, as we say, aside from guessing at the energy in a room of hearing people, the only mode of communication through which information can be conveyed is visually, with an interpreter (of course there’s the dream that we all would know ASL but that can just be my personal spell for now).

Within the blend of Deaf and Hearing Culture there is a spectrum of need as well: while in grade school children who are Hard-of-Hearing can be given FM radio listening devices that sync with their hearing aides or cochlear implants, depending on the range of auditory reception a Hard-of-Hearing student might be provided with an interpreter. Imagine being expected to pass a test having grown up with only one ear to receive spoken language. Imagine two ears at 50% hearing.

If a student is deaf, it is almost easier because that student, depending on class load and teaching style, automatically is provided with one or sometimes even two interpreters.

Interpreting itself is a tremendous physical and mental feat. It is a dance of words, feeling, languages, and meaning. Auditory and expressive parts of the brain are working simultaneously flow through the physical parts of the brain and body. It is a total body workout. If a meeting, speaker, or gathering is going for a long amount of time, it can sometimes be necessary for interpreters to take breaks and switch with their interpreting partner every 10 – 15 minutes.

So that’s how it works in the Muggle world. How can it work in our world of queer spirituality?

What are the ideas that we hold fast to? I constantly think back to the touchstone of subject-SUBJECT consciousness.

Who am I to impose anything on

So we don’t have any money for this or that… what do we have? We have you and we have me and between us, the limitless possibility that exists when two people come together.

Except, often times we have more than two people. So if we expand the limitless possibilities that exist between the Two and those become Three or even Twenty or Fifty, Two Hundred… what are the possibilites then?

What does it all mean and how do we complete the work we have set out to do together? Obviously we don’t complete the Great Work, but we create a Dance together, we create Music together that pours forth from the

How do we gauge contribution?

In terms of contribution, I ask the question: until we provide full access to our meetings and community plannings, how can we gauge someone’s contribution? If by providing access for one in turn provides access for all to another perspective on life/experience/work/etc which feeds the whole community’s spirit and collective wisdom, isn’t that something that can’t be gauged until it happens? And even then, how do we begin to gauge the contribution of one person? (short answer: that is something that isn’t measurable… it is felt)

I think it fits our culture that if an invitation to the circle goes out to everyone, we need to be prepared for everyone.

So, if there is a person who would like to be able to fully participate and has been hovering on the edges of our community (typically where most Deaf people find themselves), and is searching for a Spiritual/Queer Home, how do we include them? A great deal of our Church work is shared by simply being together. And, so much of our Church happens in talking: Heart Circles, Faetopias… how many rituals or meditations begin with “close your eyes and visualize”… how can we express our Spirituality in ways other than the ones we know? How else can Spirit move through us? How else is Spirit ALREADY moving through us, yet we don’t realize it because we are using the sensory inputs we habitually use. Why not open up and queer it out a little.
I don’t mean to get preachy but… I deal with this kind of thing from school districts and administrators at work and I know we can do better. They will do everything to nickel and dime a child’s accessibility to direct instruction in their native language. The work of educating people about Deafness and figuring a way to shine a light on this bizarre need of administrators to weigh the benefits of providing service for a single individual – which is a very line-item perspective, everyone in the school benefits from having someone “other” in their community – is still a huge uphill battle.
I feel that accessibility is inherently queer and radical (still) and if our church can start stepping out into the forefront of this aspect of radical inclusion I say, let’s go for it!

Edited by moroccoExtra on May 26, 2012 11:02 pm