18 December 2007

A panel discussion about the Deaf GLBT community!

Discuss. That's exactly what ten Minnesotan writers, both Deaf and hearing, from my new anthology Eyes of Desire 2: A Deaf GLBT Reader will do on the night of January 4th, 2008. (For those who haven't "heard" about the book yet, it is a collection of stories, interviews, and poems about and by members of the Deaf gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender [GLBT] community. It is also the first such book to focus on the Deaf GLBT experience in fourteen years.)

The writers include Karen Conway, Jessica Eggert, Jessalyn Frank, C J Hetle, Elise Knopf, John Kowalczyk, Michael La Rocca, Barry R. Segal, Canae Weiss, and Patricia White.

I will moderate the lively discussion, which will be ASL- and voice-interpreted for all. The event will also have CART captioning for those who are late-deafened and hard-of-hearing. It’s also wheelchair-accessible! (Participants will receive .2 CEUs from RID at the beginning level.)

The event is FREE. Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 4th, 2008 — 7 to 9 p.m.
The Loft Literary Center
1011 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415
612-215-2571 (voice)

17 December 2007

James Thomas Sharer 1964 - 2007

On the morning of December 11th, I got a video relay call from my friend James's boyfriend. He told me that James had passed away the night before. I couldn't quite believe that he could be gone. He was exactly one year and two months older than I was!

The freaky thing was that I'd set up an accounting program per his recommendation a few minutes before, and that the night before my boyfriend and I talked about him. I always felt that he was one of the most reliable and knowledgeable people I'd ever met, and how lucky I was to have him as a close friend. I knew that some people had issues with him, partly because he seemed so inscrutable and hard to read at times, and partly because he could be so stubborn beyond belief. But he was the type of person who, once he'd decided that you were worthy, could be a friend of yours for life.

The very next day I got this forwarded email from James's boyfriend (apparently his family had written it because James told me himself that he never liked being called "Jim"):

"On Monday 12-10-07 at 12:55 James T. Sharer finally was reunited with his brothers and mother. He was born Sept. 24, 1964 in Dallas to the late Polly Jean Pringle Sharer and Jack B. Sharer. He was a lifelong Dallas resident. Jim attended the National Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. He worked for the Sorenson Company as a regional manager.

Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Polly Sharer; and by his three brothers, Tommy, Jack Jr., and Robert Sharer. He is survived by his father, Jack B. Sharer of Dallas; uncle, David Sharer of Texarkana; nephew, Eryk Sharer and wife, Michelle; and two great-nephews.

Burial will be at 1:30 P.M. on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007, in Restland Memorial Park, followed by a Memorial Service at 2:30 P.M. at John Calvin Presbyterian Church, 4151 Royal Lane, Dallas."

When I read that, I felt waves of sadness overtake my being for the rest of the week. He was really, really gone. All week prior to Saturday I couldn't stop thinking about him, and what he'd generously done for so many people over the course of his all-too-brief life; he was also involved with deaf GLBT organizations (Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf, Deaf GLOW, etc.) and the hearing bear community. (He also ran BearyClean Services.) I was a bit disappointed to see that no one seemed to have talked about him via Deafread.com, so I simply wanted to say, "James, may the Big (Bear) Guy Upstairs bless you forevermore!"

The picture of him above was our last night together when he visited with Lou and me last August. I continue to miss him terribly.