Any news about a second season?
Katie Leclerc: I saw the creator today at the Up Front function in New York and I was like pushing her for info. I was like, ‘Lizzy, give me something to work off of.’ The only thing, and she might actually kill me for telling you this. I think she’s going to be really mad at me. I’m so sorry. Now I teased you.
You can’t not tell me.Katie LeClerc plays one of the lead character (who lost her hearing at an early age due to a case of meningitis) as Daphne who was switched at birth managed to pick up signing. A character who is slowly assimilating herself into the signing community. But in real life Katie LeClerc is actually a hard of hearing actress and has Meniere's disease and wears a hearing aid as explained in her first interview in January. Despite the show's success there are few culturally deaf (Deaf) people who don't like the show based on the fact that the one of the lead actress, Katie Leclerc, who plays Daphne, isn't "deaf enough" according to a recent circulating petition created by a "Deaf ASL teacher" for Deaf people who are against the show and some actors, specifically Katie Leclerc:
Katie Leclerc: She’s going to kill me. Gilles Marini comes back in this episode and I think that he’s going to try to make a presence in the next season. That’s as much as I can say, and I’m probably going to be yelled for you.
ABC Family first dropped the ball by hiring an actress who is not Deaf. Katie Leclerc is an actress that only recently started losing some of her hearing due to Meniere's Disease. The only reason she knew any ASL before the show was because she took it in high school and that was because, In her own words, "I was very bad at Spanish." Leclerc has to take voice lessons in order to "sound Deaf" on the show. Leclerc portrays herself as an ambassador of the Deaf community - "I feel comfortable in the deaf world I feel comfortable in the hearing world," Leclerc said. "I'm glad I can cross over." - There is no crossing over. She is a hearing person that is playing the part of a Deaf character. She is not a part of the Deaf world. Thus, some of the things about her character are not things that are normal for a Deaf person who grew up in the Deaf world - such as her ability to lipread flawlessly, her constant sim-com (talking and signing at the same time), and her signing being jerky and awkward at times. There are many talented and beautiful culturally Deaf actresses that ABC Family could have hired.Pretty sad and selfish for them to attack Katie Leclerc and say that she is not "Deaf enough." Even though the petition asserts that she's hearing but in fact a she's a hard of hearing person with Meniere's disease, a progressive condition that affects balance and hearing and includes odd sensation of movement (vertigo), dizziness, loss of hearing in one or both ears and ringing in the ear (known as tinnitus). Yet many Deaf people don't realize that Katie Leclerc has a hearing loss:
Katie Leclerc: Daphne is a typical, high school girl. She plays basketball. She`s got boyfriends. She gets good grades. And she`s deaf. It was really exciting to be able to portray that. I learned sign language when I was 17 in high school. When I was 20, I found out that I had Meniere`s Disease and I am very, very, very fortunate that I will be able to communicate for the rest of my life, because it gets worse over time.
So you have a hearing loss?
Katie Leclerc: I`m hard of hearing. Yes. One of the symptoms of Meniere`s Disease is the hearing fluctuates.
You lip read, too?
Katie Leclerc: Yes.
What made you learn?
Katie Leclerc: Just a very serendipitous thing. I think things happen for a reason.
Did you ever feel you wanted to switch lives and not have that?
Katie Leclerc: You know, for me, the disease progresses and it gets worse as it progresses, but I`ve been able to bear with it. There are definitely symptoms and some times are harder than others, but my sister`s is far more progressed than mine and to see how her struggle goes and see what she does is sort of inspiring. I`m lucky because I get to know what I have to look forward to so I can prepare for it.
What did you learn from her?
Katie Leclerc: To stay strong. There`s really nothing you can do about it, so I just try to keep a positive attitude.
Has anyone not wanted to cast you because of the Meniere`s Disease?
Katie Leclerc: Most people are unaware of my hearing loss.But then you have an few cranky Deaf people who'll complain and set up a petition only because a hard of hearing and signing actress isn't "deaf enough." How surreal can this get in their effort to reject a late deafened teen actress who have begun to learn sign language for her own benefit as well as for the show?
Here's one comment that was made in the petition that attacked Katie Leclerc.
I am a deaf actress and am extremely disappointed in your casting for Daphine. She is not deaf, she has no right to say that she represents Deaf people. She has never lived a deaf life. Not to mention, this show has SO much possibilities to teach people how to bridge a gap between two completely different people, in this case deaf and hearing. And yet, you fall back on sex, drugs and fake drama. Please clean this up, recast Daphine with someone that is actually deaf, who has ability to sign FLUENTLY, and also use speech.Katie Leclerc is a person with a hearing loss. A late deafened person. She is a hard of hearing person. She knows sign language and continues to get better. She can talk. She can hear some. She wears hearing aids. She is a person that is welcomed in the signing community and not a person to be shunned just because she's not "Deaf enough." That's rather selfish and cruel. Even though the rest of the cast and extras you see throughout the show's episodes are culturally deaf people, specifically Marlee Matlin, Sean Berdy, and Ryan Lane. That alone ought to be more than enough to go around.
The selfishness by a few Deaf people is utterly surreal.
Now, about the title of my blog, there seems to be a confirmation swirling around on what we could expect for season two of the show "Switched at Birth." I got word that a writer of the show is thinking about casting another deaf actor who wears a cochlear implant to play a deaf character with a cochlear implant. No word on whether this character will sign or not. But if this is true then I'm sure the show will be even more enjoyable to watch with a variety of deaf and hard of hearing characters with various signing skills that wear hearing aids, cochlear implants or none at all from all kinds of background to come together along with hearing signers as one big happy (but drama filled) signing community in the "Switched at Birth" show. This will allow the viewers to learn more about deaf and hard of hearing people that come in all shape and sizes and help increase the positive exposure and fascination of sign language.
What more could you ask? Makes sense to me.
Here's to season two!