Deaf Person of the Month
Journalist, advocate, and entrepreneur
A native of Illinois, Trudy Suggs attended public schools forthe majority of her education, with a year at Illinois School for the Deaf, Gallaudet University ('95), and did graduate work at University of Illinois-Chicago, earning her MA in Public Administration in 1997. She served as Director of Programming for Doorways from 1998 to 1999, and as Editor-in-Chief of Silent News from 2000 to 2002. She then launched her writing-services company, which provides editorial assistance, including design and translation. She is also a popular blogger.
She married Randy Shank, a teacher at MSAD, in 2004, and they're raising four Deaf children. Recently, they relocated to Maryland.
A certain company specializing in networked TTYs (DEAF LIFE is using the pseudonym "Typco") has been aggressively promoting its expensive machines as the perfect "replacement" for live interpreters (and for all other means of telecommunication, such as E-mail, videophones, and Instant Message). Suggs contacted Typco's CEO, who's Deaf, and requested clarification of his position on interpreters, and asked him to affirm his support for a full slate of communication options, but received no response; she did receive a veiled threat, a DMCA threat from Typco's legal associate. Her comments and posts were deleted from Typco's Facebook page, a favorite audist tactic.
However, she did receive an influx of messages from Deaf people who said that they had had problems with hospitals who had purchased Typco's machines or used VRI, and offered them no other choices. It is extremely impractical for some Deaf patient to use a keyboard—women in labor, patients in pain, etc. What Deaf people want are several communication options, especially qualified and skilled live interpreters—in many situations, our best and preferred option. Hospitals who deny interpreters to patients on the grounds that they have networked TTYs are leaving themselves open to ADA lawsuits for refusing to make reasonable accommodations.
So the battle continues.