Deaf Person of the Month
Author & anthologist
On November 12, 2015, QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology, edited and with an introduction by Raymond Luczak, was published under the Squares & Rebels imprint of his publishing company, Handtype Press. It’s a lively collection of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and comics, by 48 contributors, including culturally-Deaf. As with Luczak’s other anthologies (such as Eyes of Desire 1 and 2), it takes readers into a new dimension of shared experience. There is a lot of pain and anguish, and some absolutely harrowing accounts of abuse, mistreatment, cruelty, and stupidity, but optimism and joy, and the empowerment that accompanies telling one’s story openly. There is love and celebration here, too.
A native of Ironwood, Michigan (in the Upper Peninsula), Luczak has drawn from his experience growing up oral and mainstreamed, struggling to establish a Deaf identity, and joining the Deaf community,. Since graduating from Gallaudet University in 1988, he has pursued a career as writer, playwright, poet, filmmaker, anthologist, and publisher.
His first appearance in DEAF LIFE was in 1991, when we reprinted his essay, “Notes of a Deaf Gay Writer.” His first book of poems, St. Michael’s Fall, was published by Deaf Life Press in 1995. As author and editor, he has published a body of fine work under a variety of imprints—17 books so far; the 18th is to be published this Spring. He now lives and works in Minneapolis.
Luczak’s work often focuses on intersectionality—the conjunction of Deaf and Gay identities. Eyes of Desire: a Deaf Gay & Lesbian Reader (1993), Luczak’s first anthology, was the first book of its kind. Eyes of Desire 2: A Deaf GLBT Reader, published in 2007, has a truly global focus, including contributors from India, Africa, and Europe, encompassing a greater variety of identities, and with far fewer pseudonyms. These anthologies have resonance even for those who don’t share Deaf or Gay identities.
As for QDA: “I simply posted my call for submissions on April 20, 2015 with the deadline of June 31, 2015. I didn’t expect to pull together a massive anthology; I would’ve been fine with a smaller book, but the quality of the material that came in was so strong that I knew I had to expand the book a bit more than planned. I also wanted to finish the book within three months, and on July 20, 2015, I did!” Response, he says, “has been nothing short of ecstatic.”
QDA encompasses a diversity of experiences, situations, and gender nonconformities. It’s not the first QD anthology—Luczak acknowledges his predecessors, and that QDA represents a sampling; he calls it “a snapshot” of the current QD community.
As Jax Jacki Brown says in her QDA essay, “The Politics of Pashing,”
People with disabilities are routinely viewed as not having a sexuality. I want my body to state clearly that I have a sexuality, and that I know what it is and how to use it! This pride-filled proclamation of my sexuality is also an act of resistance against the myth that those of us with non-normative bodies are sexually undesirable, weak, or passive.