A politician gives a speech, the audience applauds. Young people dance in the disco. A birthday girl is serenaded. What they all have in common is that they are deaf - wait a minute, is that even possible? Give a lecture, clap, sing, dance? You bet! There is a special sign for applause in sign language. Music is accessible to the dancers in the disco through the rhythm they feel. They can even sing "Happy Birthday" in sign language. And they feel the vibrations of a guitar when they put their hand on it, even of the singing voice when they put their hand on the singer's chest. When deaf people are among themselves, they lack nothing. Only the hearers sometimes don't seem to believe it. So do the doctors of the Hager family - father, mother and son deaf, the daughter can hear. Newborn Emil has failed the hearing tests and the parents are advised to get a so-called cochlear implant, a surgical procedure on the brain that could perhaps correct this "deficit". But Barbara Hager wants her child to learn to be comfortable with his deaf identity first and foremost. Barbara Hager knows what she's talking about: she wrote her thesis on deaf people's understanding of identity and also lectures at the university. "The medical perspective contributes little," she signs. Deaf politician Helene Jarmer also tries to make that clear at an event in Parliament: "You can't operate away my identity." Because deaf people have no personal deficit. At most an educational deficit: because out of 10,000 deaf people in Austria, only 50 have the Matura. With the provision of sufficiently suitable means, in order to remove this education deficit, clearly higher subsequent costs of subsidies could be lowered. Among other things, Helene Jarmer fights for this in parliament - deaf, but never silently.
Emil Hager, Caroline Hager, Helene Jarmer, Ayse Kocak, Barbara Schuster and many more