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What's It Like to Be Deaf and Gay? (VIDEO)

03/28/2015 12:06 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

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I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit archive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. New stories are posted on the site every Wednesday.

What's it like to navigate the gay world when you're deaf? Richard Mesich shares his story, beginning with his coming-out experience. Richard recalls talking to his mom on AOL Instant Messenger:

We were talking, and my mom asked me, "Are you gay? Are you interested in boys?" I was thinking and realized it is time for me to open up, so I told my mom, "Yes, I am gay." She said, "OK, that's good. I am happy to hear that from you. I knew you were gay since you were a little kid."

When Richard turned 21, his gay uncles took him to his first gay club in West Hollywood. While the experience was a little uncomfortable, it introduced him to the dating world:

I dated a few guys on and off. It was good and enjoyable. But I was very nervous dating a guy for the first time. I met this one person, and he was hearing. We went out for dinner, and we could communicate a little, but sometimes it's hard with a hearing person. Mostly I would text on my phone to communicate.

Now, years later, Richard is able to reflect on how comfortable he's become as an out gay, deaf man:

Comparing high school to where I am now, I used to feel lost and isolated. I didn't know who I was. Now I feel confident, happy and know who I am. I'm comfortable with hearing and deaf people; it doesn't matter to me. Now I know who I am, but I am not in a rush to look for love.

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