Chelle Destefano - My Language, My Right

Arts Access Victoria presents The Museum of Us

Chelle explores the history of Deaf oppression from her school days in the 1980s, through a short poetry performance.

Chelle Destefano, My language, my right performance still. Chelle Destefano caught in motion, wearing a red top, a red pointed hat, with glasses

About the work

Chelle explores the history of Deaf oppression from her school days in the 1980s, through a short poetry performance on having her language and Deaf identity taken away from her when the school made Deaf kids speak.

Oralism is a form of audism put upon Deaf people, as they are forced to speak and not allowed to sign.

The adults would slap the hands of Deaf kids who wanted to sign. It made Chelle feel like a dunce, even though she knew that she and the other Deaf kids were not dunces.

Audism is still rampant in the community today in many ways, such as hearing people who ignore that Deaf people can't hear them speak, and thus continue speaking – or those who don't include Deaf people in events or make videos accessible (with captions, etc)

Audio version with text

Experience more