Deaf Turns, Beki Turns, Transformations: Toward New Forms of Deaf Queer Sociality
This article explores deaf queer cultures and advocacy in the Philippines. Through an analysis of a deaf gay beauty pageant and a series of HIV and AIDS awareness video blogs (vlogs) for and about deaf LGBT Filipinos, this article examines the queer/crip nexus as it intersects with discourses of contagion and normalization. We employ Michele Friedner's concept of 'deaf turns' as an analytic to understand these two cases, which we see as vivid examples of deaf orientations and similitude. We focus on embodied deaf turns that occur on a beauty pageant stage and argue that actors carve out deaf-centered spaces in which they emphasize deaf queer worth and value. Then, we examine how deaf subjects, in collaboration with a hearing LGBT organization, plead for hearing-centered institutions to engage in a turn—a deaf turn or quarter turn—to make these spaces more accessible. Finally, we argue that the vlog, through its deployment of beki sign language, in contradistinction to Filipino Sign Language, not only pushes parts of hearing society to make deaf turns and quarter turns, but also exhibits what we describe as a beki turn, a reorientation toward beki culture. Taken together, we argue that as deaf turns and beki turns come in contact, they produce new forms of deaf queer sociality.