Sample Literature Review Paper on CLI Deaf on Los Angeles


Los Angeles has a long history of maintaining collective space for Chicanxs and Latinxs to come together and preserve cultural identity through sharing narratives on various platforms. There are non profit organizations that support Chicanas, Latinas, or Indigenias (CLI) in reclaiming their cultural identity; however, their events are not accessible to Chicanas, Latinas, or Indigenas who are Deaf, preventing this group from benefiting from these resources. The inaccessible dominant space poses a threat to CLI Deaf, who face difficulties coping with the struggles of being different, and experiencing racism, sexism, heterosexism, and audism. For example, in the spring of 2017, an organization based in East Los Angeles, California, hosted an exhibit at Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The goal of the exhibit was to reflect 25 years of community work specifically for womxn of color by sharing their mind, body, spirit, and cultural work. However, their space presented communication barriers—not all videos were closed captioned and sign language interpreters were not provided at some of their events. This lack of accessibility can be a frustrating experience for CLI Deaf. This barrier was not unique to this organization; other organizations also fail to provide communication access. As a result, opportunities to network for potential collaboration efforts, strengthen an exchange of cultural resources and enhance sisterhood for personal reflection are not possible for CLI Deaf.

These barriers should be well understood because they create an identity crisis for CLI Deaf. With existing spaces that are inaccessible, a movement should be created to build a community for CLI who are Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened. The goal is for these communities to reclaim their cultural identity without the audist practices of a phonocentric society, including the Chicanx community. Blackwell (2011) stated that a movement provides history and an explanation for oppression, which creates a space to build a self-liberated future. Establishing space for CLI Deaf is a movement in response to a history of audist oppression by a phonocentric society. This is not the only oppression this group faces; they also face patriarchal practices, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and so forth. Responding to these various oppressions requires access to space for support to process and navigate these harmful experiences, so that CLI Deaf can heal and reclaim their cultural identity. Included in this space is the preservation of their stories because they have the power to heal, inspire and transform. Trujillo (1998) contends that Chicanas need their own space within Chicano culture where they work together to support their stories, call on their ancestors, follow their dreams and practice rituals to maintain their power.

Given communication barriers for CLI Deaf posed by inaccessible organizations, it is necessary to describe and analyze the need for accessible space for CLI Deaf to develop their self-liberation from various oppressions they face. Oppressions include communication, as Garcia-Fernandez (2014) identified, “When signing with my parents at home, they often remind me to use my voice in English based on the school’s recommendation. In public places, I was told not to sign leaving me very confused, thinking that signing is a stigma in the eyes of non-Deaf people (Garcia-Fernandez, 2014, p. 17). When Garcia-Fernandez enrolled at “the Deaf Mecca of Gallaudet University” (Garcia-Fernandez, 2014, p. 18) she gained a space where she was allowed to sign, although she still experienced other intersectional oppressions. This highlights the need to share space together; allowing members to feel empowered to resist all forms of oppression, then act towards self-liberation, and continue to pursue meaningful social change by giving back to the circle of CLI Deaf.

The goal of this thesis is to elaborate on how a collective accessible space supports CLI Deaf to reclaim their cultural identity. This study is important because it will contribute feminist disability perspectives to the field of Chicanx Studies, as those experiences are currently lacking in the literature and should be documented. My personal experience as a Chicana Lesbian Deaf will be used to explore the benefits of healing spaces. This study embraces the perspective that “we are responsible for what is happening down the street, south of the border or across the sea,” (Moraga & Anzaldúa, 1981, p. xxvii), with the understanding that whoever has more to offer must give or exchange it for humanity to survive. According to Garland-Thomson (2002), feminist disability theory believes activism is important for social change moving marginalized communities towards dismantling the dominant community that constantly excludes them. This research will also validate our existence, document our narratives, and strengthen Chicanx community inclusion. It is an effort to document the extreme difficulty of finding access in spaces not designed for CLI Deaf and understanding the impact from both within and outside the Chicanx community. Accordingly, this thesis will conduct a review of the literature on audism and other forms of oppression and healing within the Chicanx community, and specifically the CLI Deaf community. It will highlight their existence and experiences and demonstrate how community inclusion is strengthened through accessible space.


An establishment of accessible space will create a visible community to promote CLI Deaf narratives, encouraging others within the Chicanx community, to recognize and be in solidarity with us to end racialized, gendered, and classed oppressions (Solorzano & Yosso, 2001). CLI Deaf do not have access to language and communication in ways that hearing people do. Bauman (2004) states that when the world’s functions depend on language, which is in general defined by the ways that you are able to hear and speak, that leads to metaphysical audism and phonocentrism. This perspective is deeply rooted in modern society, where using language is what sets humans apart from animals. Since the hearing world perceives language as being defined by speech, it puts Deaf people in a category that can be defined as lower than humans (Bauman, 2004). Audism was coined by Deaf scholar Humphries to describe the assumption and attitude of audiocentric bias and prejudice that hearing people have against deaf people (Eckert & Rowley, 2013).

There are differing perspectives on being deaf: the pathological perspective and the cultural perspective. People who view people who are deaf from a pathological perspective see being deaf as a disability to be “normalized” and corrected through medical treatment such as speech therapy, cochlear implants, and hearing aids (Berke, 2017). According to Berke (2017), the cultural perspective embraces Deafhood as something that does not need to be fixed, instead taking pride in the utilization of visual communication, sign language.

The pathological perspective of being deaf, along with audism, has manifested as oppression of Deaf communities. For example, Ladd (2008) focused on linguistic and cultural erosions of the Deaf community during the 19th and 20th centuries. However, his focus was on the experiences of the white Deaf community, and he did not incorporate the experiences of Deaf people who experience other intersectional oppressions at the same time. During this era, the phonocentric system affirmed spoken and written languages as being superior to sign languages, favoring oralism over sign language (Eckert & Rowley, 2013; Ladd, 2008). The result was that all Deaf, including CLI Deaf, had to learn, and be assessed, through speech and writing. Requiring Deaf people to meet measures established for the phonocentric system meant that the Deaf population was at a disadvantage.

A phonocentric system is not the only disadvantage that CLI Deaf experience, however; they also experience intersectional oppression as a result of their racial and ethnic identities. They could not liberate themselves in their own culture and language the same way as other hearing white people and white Deaf people.  Generally, white people have privileges and benefits from white supremacy operations that oppress multiple communities. Regardless of when or how they came to the U.S. they have privileges such as economic security, not being questioned about their citizenship in the way people of color are, land ownership, career advancement and physical health (Jung, Vargas, & Bonilla-Silva, 2011). Thus, they do not need liberation from racial oppression in the way that others do. It may be true that White Deaf and CLI Deaf both experience audist oppression, but White Deaf do not experience racist oppression that has put CLI Deaf at a greater disadvantage. As a result, CLI Deaf need to navigate their liberation within their own culture and language.

When the Deaf community experiences discrimination through audist practices and other forms of discrimination, it results in a lack of identity and self-pride, and they can feel invisible (Stuart & Gilchrist, 1990). Stuart and Gilchrist (1990) outlined the underrepresentation of Deaf Blacks, Asians, and Latinxs in different sectors like governance, education, and workplace. Many Deaf people from marginalized communities are treated differently, especially when it comes to education (Stapleton, 2015). They are discriminated against, yet all they want is to gain some formal schooling that is accessible and supports their cultural needs (Torres, 2019).

Regardless of Deaf marginalized communities’ numerous attempts to address injustices, they still face the same problems. These issues are not understood clearly because the current academic literature is limited to the experiences of white Deaf people. Furthermore, the researchers themselves are often non-disabled individuals who cannot discuss lived experiences of DeafDisabled people (Moges, 2017). Often studies that examined white Deaf individuals generalized these findings to the entire Deaf population. Moges (2017) also argued that the majority of the literature about Deaf Queer lived experiences was authored by white Deaf Queer and non-disabled people, an indicator that more work is required from Deaf Queer people of color with various intersections, including disabilities, to analyze their personal experiences growing up with their queerness, and the development of their sexual awareness. The generalization of the White Deaf population’s experiences also goes to show the power of dominant structures in society. A dominant group will assume that addressing their problems solves the issues of all other people in the same situations (Bauman, 2004).

Apart from the fact that a white Deaf person is not comparable to a black Deaf person in terms of life experiences, people experience being deaf in different ways. Bauman (2004) outlined the various ways people identify themselves as Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened individuals. Consequently, using the word Deaf to generalize all hearing conditions means excluding the other groups of Deaf people (Bauman, 2004). The dominant Deaf group ends up having control over the representation of the Deaf community (Bauman, 2004). Even if such studies as mentioned by Moges (2017) addressed some of the problems that Deaf people encounter, they still only serve a section of the Deaf community and leave out the rest. In this case, the dominant or representative group for the Deaf has become White Deaf people. The effect of such generalizations is continued ignorance, discrimination, and lack of appreciation for the diversity of Deaf communities (Stuart & Gilchrist, 1990). Such change of attitude expands the scope of inclusion and helps in the healing process that would enable CLI Deaf people to claim their social space among the public.

oppression of audism from hearing communities and racism within white Deaf communities is the reason CLI Deaf people need to have a collective accessible space to reclaim their cultural identity and to explore the benefits of healing spaces. CLI Deaf people   in their own space or dealing with white fragility that might add to their emotional labor to navigate racism. Being in that collective accessible healing space, CLI Deaf are able to process their  Deaf with Latinx narratives. This culturally-appropriate space can contribute to supporting their humanity and their multiple identities with pride, so that they no longer feel invisible.

Other Forms of Oppression

CLI Deaf people experience various forms of social injustices based on race, gender, class, disability, and/or national origin that put them at risk of constantly experiencing dehumanizing practices. Crenshaw (1989) coined the term intersectionality to describe how race, class, gender and other individual characteristics overlap and intersect with each other opposing essentialism of identities and oppression. According to Collins and Bilge (2016),

Intersectionality is a way of understanding and analyzing the complexity in the

world, in people, and in human experiences. When it comes to social inequality,

people’s lives and the organization of power in a given society are better

understood as being shaped not by a single axis of social division, be it race or

gender or class, but by many axes that work together and influence each other.

(Collins & Bilge, 2016, p. 2)

It is necessary to address lived experiences from intersectional perspectives and discuss multiple oppressions other than being Deaf. For example, Deaf scholars Eckert and Rowley (2013), and Holcomb (2010) did not incorporate intersectional theory into their studies. Their studies were limited to the lived experiences of white Deaf English and ASL users’ experiences with oppression to justify the need for humanization within the Deaf community and education settings. As a result, when Holcomb stated the need for a “big push for improved access to English, barrier-free communication environments, and effective pedagogical practices for use with deaf children” (Holcomb, 2010, p. 472), there was no mention of addressing the multiple communication needs of deaf children from non-English-speaking families, or children with other disabilities. However, Foster and Kinuthia (2003), Stapleton (2015) and Torres (2019) used an intersectional framework in their studies to contribute anti-essentialist perspectives of Deaf People of Color’s lived experiences, and their needs for humanization not only within phonocentric society, but also within the Deaf community. Foster and Kinuthia said, “Black deaf persons are more like ‘a minority within a minority’” (Foster & Kinuthia, 2003, p. 272). These authors emphasized the necessity of expanding intersectional studies to contribute to the Deaf epistemology field, which has a long history of documenting essentialist narratives.

Injustices are documented by a number of scholars, and include being female, disabled, LGBTQ, and members of marginalized racial and ethnic groups, such as Blacks, Latinxs, and Asians. Moraga (2011) emphasized the importance of asking questions regarding what marginalized people know about oppressions and how they trace that knowledge back to where it came from. That action is a commitment to remember history in order to save humans from extinction. She also worried that Black and Brown people’s experiences with oppression would not eventually fade away with time; they will continue to struggle because the United States has been on an intentional path of making their bodies disappear (Moraga, 2011).

Implementing and maintaining collective space for CLI Deaf is important to resisting the erasure of their bodies. This collective space provides  opportunities to participate in discussions and develop initiatives to resist policies, ignorance, and various forms of violence. This is especially true in relation to the white Deaf community, which continues to practice essentialist approaches without incorporating intersectional oppressions as part of humanization efforts.

Theoretical Framework

          For the purpose of this thesis, the Coyolxuaqhui process is the theoretical framework used to explore healing. The Coyolxauqhui process is defined as “the process of falling apart (the Coyolxauhqui process), of being wounded, is a sort of shamanic initiatory dismemberment that gives suffering a spiritual and soulful value” (Anzaldúa, 2015, p. 14). By connecting with our wounds, we begin a journey to transform darkness to liberation. Anzaldúa (2015) explained:

The Coyolxauhqui [process] is to heal and achieve integration. When fragmentations occur, you fall apart and feel as though you’ve been expelled from paradise. Coyolxauhqui is my symbol for the necessary process of dismemberment and fragmentation, of seeing that self or the situations you’re embroiled in differently. Coyolxauhqui is also my symbol for reconstruction and reframing, one that allows for putting the pieces together in a new way. The Coyolxauhqui is an ongoing process of making and unmaking. There is never any resolution, just the process of healing (Anzaldúa, 2015, p. 20).

Anzaldúa (2015) also explained that when experiencing loss, one should be willing to dig deeper into their fear and confusion. For instance, people can experience healing when they change their attitude towards a certain subject, which is something that has to happen from inside of a person. Anzaldúa (2015) believed the Coyolxauhqui epistemology was needed to achieve the objective of healing. She explained that wounds experienced can be physical, ritual, and spiritual (Anzaldúa, 2015). Anzaldúa advocated that CLI can make a difference in the way society sees and treats them by engaging in healing spaces that are accessible and support humanity. Humanization transforms pain and struggle towards self-liberation, to help individuals view themselves positively and create healthier emotions for the next generation.

Putting Coyolxauhqui processes together after an individual dedicates themselves to release toxicity that does not support their humanization is where conocimiento, knowledge to awaken consciousness, comes in. Anzaldúa’s (2015) seven stages of conocimiento is a critical process for healing. The first stage occurs when a person shatters and an emotional bottom falls, forcing her to confront her fear that others may breach the emotional walls she has built to protect who she really is (Anzaldúa, 2015). The second stage is nepantla, where one is exposed and open to different perspectives, experiencing reality as fluid. The third stage involves a breakdown from being overwhelmed by the chaos, characterized by hopelessness, self-loathing, and being dysfunctional (Anzaldúa, 2015), they are recognizing the need to end relationships that keep them from changing. The fourth stage describes the process of creating life to become a fully functioning human being with a sense of purpose and come to an understanding that something in them must die before something else can be born (Anzaldúa, 2015). In the fifth stage, a person desires to have some form of order, which leads to examining the ongoing situations in her life to find the symbolism of her experiences in a way she can connect to her reality such as creating a new story. The sixth stage focuses on healing rituals for saying goodbye to old ways, including thanking life for making her face loss, anger, guilt, fear, and separation (Anzaldúa, 2015). The seventh, and final, stage involves a compassionate strategy such as daily practice of spiritual activism.

For the purpose of this study, I use the Coyolxauhqui process with the seven stages of conocimiento to argue that CLI Deaf need their own healing space that is free from audism and other forms of oppression practices, and that focuses on the significance of humanization. The Coyolxauhqui process will be explored through personal narratives that document my experiences within my family, organizations, education, and communities that I am part of. These narratives explain my need to heal—rather than fall apart—from patriarchy, sexual abuse, shame about my mutiple identities, and barriers to being who I am and want to be. I, along with other CLI Deaf, DeafBlind, and DeafDisabled people, am in need of collective space  for support and compassion, and increase the connection to spiritual activism.


My path towards self-healing has been a tough and, at times, unbearable one given the numerous hurdles I have had to face being a Chicana Lesbian Deaf. I personally struggled with issues of sexism, racism, heterosexism, and ableism. A healing space provides safety, comfort, protection, and stability, to support a person struggling with these forms of oppression. It should not be a space of disappointment, betrayal, and/or violence when the intention is to transform   Some practices that have traditionally been used to facilitate healing among the CLI communities. However, these practices are mostly audist and thus do not support healing that relied on hearing and speaking among the CLI Deaf. Some of the traditional approaches to healing are reviewed in the chapter, with specific emphasis on their shortcomings for the CLI Deaf. Therefore, when developing healing solutions for the CLI Deaf one should consider the limitations of existing audist approaches before establishing new methods.

The intent to heal is to balance wounds and liberation in life. When the wounds experienced in life become overwhelming there is the need to find liberation, which is what healing is all about. With Chicanx healing tools individuals can build coping skills to support the emotions experienced as a result of oppressions. These tools have been passed on for generations following a long history of colonization to protect physical well-being.

This section on CLI Deaf healing explores various components and approaches to healing, which can be incorporated within the collective healing space. The purpose of the section is to offer CLI Deaf women access to traditional cultural healing methods that they have been denied access to because they are Deaf. I will first discuss Chicanx healing, to lay the foundation for the development of alternative healing methods due to the limitations of the traditional approaches to healing. Second, I will discuss the role of spirituality in the healing process as it contributes to the discovery of self-healing and to the development of the resilience and optimism required for healing. I also discuss meditation due to its potential to eliminate symptoms of emotional blockage such as depression and anxiety. Fourth, I explore the practice of temazkal for the realization of individual cultural identities and their potential role in healing. The fifth discussion is on limpias, which sets the pace for a futuristic outlook and promotes openness for a new beginning. As a final discussion under this subject, I present leadership. The decision to include leadership is based on the role of leadership in steering community progress towards collective healing and the identification of best approaches to healing.

Chicanx Healing

Understanding the limitations of traditional Chicanx healing processes characterized by the development of an environment that supports healing as part of transformation towards intended well-being is necessary to develop effective healing methods for CLI Deaf. This section describes some of the conventional approaches to healing and their shortcomings with reference to CLI Deaf.

A healing space for the CLI Deaf should be developed to support their emotional and psychological challenges in accessing transformational materials. According to Medina (2014), a healing space should be a transformational space that supports healing through relationship with self, others, nature, the universe, ancestors, and sacred sources such as life and death. It is associated with well-being nourished through community, creativity, compassion, and commitment that affects how we act in the world (Facio & Lara, 2014). The CLI Deaf suffer from multiple challenges in terms of discrimination, resulting in emotional and psychological fragmentation through racism, sexism, and other forms of oppressions including audism. Providing them with a healing space thus promotes effectiveness in the healing process, allowing them to reclaim their power and giving them an opportunity to survive within the discriminative environments on their own terms.

Various Chicana feminist viewpoints on healing (Anzaldu  Transformation relates to the processes of healing, which in turn promotes the self-sufficiency and self-fulfillment of individuals facing unique barriers, including the CLI Deaf, who require additional support to cope with the same challenges affecting them Chicana feminsit scholars provide insights into the erasure of Chicana history and connect Chicana struggles to those of Indigenous women. They analyze cultural tyranny to discuss gender expectations in which the church played a large role (Anzaldu , 1987), share stories in a space where on can meditate then invent to build a movement (Cisneros, 2002), promote collective healing space through solidarity of resistance (Comas-Diaz, 2008), work actively for radical reforms from the oppressive structures including heteronormativity (Isasi-Diaz, 1992; MOraga, 2011), and reclaim self-identification (Revilla, 2004, Trujillo, 1991). While these approaches support healing among the CLI Deaf in general, the CLI Deaf continue to face massive challenges from their childhood to their current experiences in adult life. These hurdles are attributed to the inaccessibility of the healing space due to the audio -centric focus of such spaces. Therefore, they need an accessible space to discover the important role that leadership, spirituality, meditation, temazkal, and limpias can play in healing and go through the stages of the Coyolxauqhui process to reform their lives.

Healing can be challenging because not all healing practices and spaces for sharing experiences are accessible to CLI Deaf given that they are audio-centric. Buenaflor (2018), who practiced as a curandera for over 20 years and came from a long line of grandmother curanderas, shared examples of audio-centric mesoamerican healing practices including the use of platicas that eject unwanted energies from the body through vocalizing of prayers and chants with herbs, mujeres circles with songs and sweeping, and the Ceremony of Return to call the soul back from imbalances offering renewal, cleansing and rebirth through specific physical ritual motions with prayers. There are also chants to the four sacred directions, full moon Coyolxauhqui circle with chants, and talking circles.  CLI Deaf are not able to access these chants and prayers, which exacerbates imbalance due to the interactions of audism and other forms of oppressions they are dealing with such as racism and sexism.



The deviation of the Coyolxauqhui process from traditional audio-centric approaches makes it a potentially effective process for addressing the needs of the CLI Deaf. The decision to focus on this process for the literature review is therefore founded on its potential benefits to the target population. Self-empowerment driven by involvement in the Coyolxauqhui process enables the CLI Deaf not only to identify their needs but also to develop the capacity to build their own space to meet their needs.


People often dismiss the role of spirituality in healing spiritually because they either fail to understand it or lack knowledge of how spirituality works. Facio and Lara (2014) provided CLI with a route to discover self-healing, suggesting the use of spirituality. Medina (2014) defined spirituality as “the multiple ways in which persons maintain balanced relationships within themselves, others, the world, their creator, and creation” (Medina, 2014, p. 12). Being in touch with their spirituality may foster self-love and trust among those who choose the spirituality route. Being in tune with spirituality will support their realization of what they need to do to free themselves from harms they experienced. Exploring spirituality in a healing space ma help CLI Deaf to develop their perspectives on healing that are different from those developed within an inaccessible (hearing and/or male dominated) space that leads to self-doubt feelings of anxiety and misery, and increasing imbalance. As a Chicana, nurturing the spiritual in context of this work can bring forth a sense of understanding of gender, sexuality, and meaning (Elenes, 2014). Therefore, comprehending female spirituality should be a primary focus of the journey towards healing among the CLI Deaf.

Elenes (2014) stressed the importance of understanding religion, and the way it influences societal practices. Some members of the Chicana and Latina communities subscribe to the Catholic religion. The Catholic church is patriarchal and has not consistently supported progressive roles for women in and outside of the church, given their roles are limited to nun or a wife and mother (Medina, 2014). These patriarchal expectations of women’s roles may prevent some CLI Deaf from discovering who they truly are and what they represent (Elenes, 2014). That is, these traditional perceptions of womanhood may make it difficult for some women to see themselves outside of these roles due to their religious socialization. In addition to the limitation of their roles by the Catholic Church, CLI Deaf people are also likely to experience audism oppression. The Church’s interpretation of the Bible creates negative stigma around being Deaf, which is framed as an infliction that needs to be cured (Stone & Young, 1948).  These implications of specific religions indicate that while religion is often seen as an indicator of spirituality, not all faiths may result in the healing outcomes that are associated with spirituality. In their pursuit of healing therefore, the CLI Deaf should focus on spirituality rather than religion.

Spirituality based on transformative struggle would later give shape to muxerista theology, a unique blending of feminist concerns. Latina cultures and liberaiton theology and confronting the legacy of cultural ignorance and discrimination in the Church (Medina, 2014). Notably, spirituality is vital when it comes to healing and resistance. Spirituality is important to centering the CLI Deaf and enabling them to learn to rely on self-love. Spirituality helps them to honor wounds by understanding how deeply rooted oppression creates imbalance. Having a space that is free from audism practices will allow CLI Deaf to meet their spiritual needs in their native language where the environment supports and nourishes their spirituality through accessible healing practices. This nurtures their spiritual resistance to oppression experienced as daily pains, frustrations, grief, isolation and messages that are inhumane because of who they are.


As part of the healing process, meditation, in combination with various healing practices conducted on a regular basis, can reduce or eliminate symptoms of emotional blockage, including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem (Buenaflor, 2018). Through meditation, CLI Deaf in need of healing can learn on their own terms how spirituality is connected within themselves in order to heal: “…meditation is like free medicine that awakens our consciousness and sustains our well-being. Medicine that leads us to our ‘inner refuge’ and to the ‘treasury of our natural mind’ and teaches us how to simply be,” (Medina, 2019, p. 225). Elenes (2014) considers meditation throughout her work, defining it as “making connections between who we are, how we interpret the world and how we can act in the world in ways that are fulfilling” (Elenes,  2014, p. 34). Meditation can help CLI Deaf appreciate their self-beliefs and understand shared struggles through direct communication through sign language.

This direct access, according to Lopez (2019) and Facio and Lara (2019), allows CLI to share their stories and gifts, including serving as a confidant, and provide comfort, healing, security, that make the community stronger. Facio and Lara (2014) proposed daily meditations along with engaging in healing rituals, connecting with the elements, and conversations and creating a routine that is self-actualizing. The concept, therefore, is to be with oneself, to understand how to connect within.  Khalifa (2020) who is Deaf, shared his experience with meditation using inaccessible tools and spaces. He felt he wasted time as he continued feeling imbalance when the intent of meditation was to relax. For example, practices like closing eyes, other sound-based cues, or even the inclusion of interpreters who are not practitioners add to the inequities to CLI Deaf encounters in trying to join a hearing group for meditation. CLI Deaf need access to meditation in ways that do not require them to work harder or feel isolated when they do not understand what was said. Meditation in a healing space that is accessible in their language, that uses touch and vibration cues, will allow them to relax and focus on the purpose of that session, to re-center themselves. If direct communication is not possible, it is important that interpreters are mindful of their role in facilitating the communication without taking the space, especially if they are white or hearing interpreters.

El Temazkal

Studies have suggested that reclaiming past practices, such as temazkal, can help CLI understand their identity (Gonzales, 2019; Medina, 2019; Medina & Gonzales, 2019). Temazkal has been used for centuries by indigenous communities. It is a sacred ritual conducted in a round wood structure similar to a sauna to aid the cleansing process and build healthier physical, emotional and mental health (Medina, 2019). “Temazkal is an ancestral bath, providing the sensation of being held, loved, advised, connected [that] allows the body to enter a state of ecstasy. This aids the person to release that which gets in the way of seeing clearly,” (Medina, 2019, p. 189).  While this sacred ceremony is not audio-centric, CLI Deaf can hold the space to “…cleanse the skin, to detox and relax the whole body, to open the respiratory pathways, and to strengthen the bones and muscles” (Medina, 2019, p. 190). Then together, they can process through an accessible language mode to reflect on the need to release, and support one and another to appreciate their existence. Participating in protection ceremonies to “honor our bodies and sexual orientations, to conduct rituals” (Medina & Gonzalez, 2019, p. 78) are some of the traditions that have sacred practices that are “fundamental to nourishing their holistic sense of self and to remind them who they are” (Medina & Gonzalez, 2019, p. 23). It is critical for a space that allows CLI Deaf to partake in such temazkal without the scrutiny or stereotype of the outside world. In this way, CLI Deaf are free to express themselves and share with each other for more knowledge. Over time, sharing stories and traumas have been used as a way of healing during temazkal ceremony, and can be observed in Indigenious ritual sessions to promote the emotional steps of self-liberation (Gonzales, 2012). For instance, Facio explains,“healing rituals and ceremonies are believed to have the power to address conflicts and seek justice” (Facio, 2014, p. 32). Examples of these healing rituals include heartfelt conversations, creating and viewing art, a commitment to justice, and connection with elements, among others.


CLI Deaf can benefit from using limpias to support themselves in centering their universe towards humanization. Limpias are a form of healing practice that aims for positive transformation and marks new beginnings, a ceremony to release imbalanced emotions and treat the individual with sacred tools (Buenaflor, 2018). This particular practice is used to help an individual release energies that no longer serve them or prevent them from being fully present. Limpias are also used to eliminate negativity such as generational curses, imbalances, confusions, phobias and so forth. There are various ways to do limpias, they may be done with bath, smudging, incense, candles, eggs, crystals, plants, trees, and fire. The purpose is to eliminate the blockages to an individual’s happiness and liberation. Limpia rites are tools to maintain the connection with positive transformation and renewal to revitalize the mind, body, spirit and spaces and avoid depression, insomnia and anxiety (Buenaflor, 2018). This is an indigenous tradition for well-being, serving to end identity crises and support wholeness. This type of healing “does not mean that someone is dirty, but rather that someone needs her energy balanced, harmonized, and rejuvenated” (Gonzales, 2012, p. 102). According to Medina (2019), this type of healing requires regular commitment to focus, practice, and learn where toxic energy moves as part of self-care.

CLI Deaf people often encounter communication barriers when seeking this type of healing, and are unable to communicate with healers to discover the various harmful emotions they experienced and need to release. To have access in any limpia ceremony they will likely need modification so that it is not conducted in an audio-centric way. It may be necessary to have a pre-session with the healer to understand the purpose of the ceremony and what rituals will be used. It may also be necessary to bring in an interpreter to facilitate the communication, which might be a financial hardship, or can create imbalance because that person’s presence is resented, or if that person’s energy is blocking the purpose of ceremony, or other possible burdens. Thus more research is needed about how to modify this particular healing practice. The healer will likely request that the CLI Deaf person visits on a regular basis to continue releasing emotions, which may require more of the healer’s time than they are accustomed to for their work.


With limited access to resources, CLI Deaf might not realize that they need to develop their own space if available space does not meet their needs. The task of developing space requires them to take on leadership roles; however, they likely do not see themselves represented in leadership positions, where Deaf women of color are notably absent. Anzaldúa (2001) asserted that culture shapes societal perceptions, and therefore shapes individual perceptions. When individuals with disabilities want to be in leadership roles, cultures and society seem to have an opinion on how they should live or be treated (Garland-Thomson, 2002). These assumptions and individual perceptions can create difficulties for CLI Deaf who want to be in leadership roles. For example, society considers most disabled people to be weak and in need of aid, which can interfere with their healing process. Mostly, societies instill the belief that people who are Deaf and people with disabilities are weak. Garland-Thomson (2002) suggested that it is necessary for society to seek to understand different individuals and their standpoints to address oppressions and ongoing exclusion by using various transformative justice frameworks. Empowering CLI greatly influences their transformation to leadership roles, and the same can be achieved for the CLI Deaf in the community (Suggs, 2016).

CLI Deaf should have leaders within their own community that understand their challenges in order to support them. Unfortunately, the dominion of white feminism has made it difficult for the CLI Deaf to make any forward progress. For example, white feminist community does not experience the struggles of navigating audism and other intersectional oppressions such as race. They also likely have no experience in communicating through sign language; many CLI rely on American Sign Language or lengua de señas mexicana to communicate. This is why it is important to have a space where CLI Deaf can converge and address their difficulties and support each other in reclaiming their cultural identity. Within this space, CLI Deaf can engage with each other to discuss their own culture and history of their ancestors that they missed out on growing up due to communication barriers. This space provides opportunities to process various perspectives and identities from a Deaf lens, and share common struggles.


          This literature review examined the challenges to attaining healing among the CLI Deaf as well as the opportunities available for promoting healing through different approaches. Additionally, the range of oppressions experienced as a result of benign Deaf along with multiple identities are explained.  The literature reviewed discussed the benefits of various cultural approaches to healing, including spirituality, meditation, el temazkal, limpias. However, these approaches have historically not been accessible to CLI Deaf. I have personal experience with the barriers and oppressions discussed in this section and the need to heal from trauma with healing approaches documented in the literature. From these personal experiences I identified how lack of accessibility made it more difficult to heal, and sought to make what I learned more accessible to other people like myself.

The purpose of this thesis is to answer the following research questions: How can I, as a Xicana Lesbian Deaf with multiple standpoints, evolve through the pain and trauma I experience? Using my experience of processing the pain, how can I use the space as a way to heal? The auto-historia created in this process will reflect on the impact of audism and other forms of oppression perpetuated by dominant colonial narrative. This thesis documents a perspective from the experiences of CLI Deaf within Chicanx communities with ongoing dehumanization practices and their need for their own space to liberate themselves.





So, how does this relate to your thesis? Need to link each section back to your rationale/argument.




I don’t see how this paragraph responds to the comment above



cuz hearing people people would likely to think Deaf is like animals, so they want to be in a healing space without feeling that way from hearing people. so they can communicate in sign language without likely to feel audism oppression.



This isn’t clear to me. What is the point you want to make here?



Pathological and cultural what?



Just added Deaf.



Add another paragraph where you explain/describe the intent of this section and how it relates to your thesis topic and the existing literature. It is an introduction to this new subtopic.


Also highlight that while these are practices that are traditionally used is healing, they can be problematic when you consider that some of the practices are audist. While you will review the practices, it is important for the reader to keep in mind their limitations.



I’m not certain this responds to her feedback. You seem to be talking about the purpose of healing. My interpretation of her feedback is that she wants you to address why you are including this section on healing in your literature review. How does it inform your thesis work?



How does that relate to the literature you review in this section?



The added text does not follow this example. What she provided is an outline for what is to come.


Right now you have these sections that follow:


Chicanx Healing (why is this separate from healing?)






Leadership doesn’t fit under the heading of healing, so I think this might need some restructuring.

Following the example she gave, here is a possible framework: (This is NOT complete. You will need to flesh it out.)


This section on healing explores five components to be incorporated in collective healing space. The purpose is to offer CLI Deaf women access to traditional cultural healing methods that they have been denied access to because they are Deaf. I will first discuss Chicanx healing, to lay the foundation for … Second, I will discuss the role of spirituality in …. Third, I will discuss meditation …  Fourth, I will explore the practice of temazkal for …. Finally, I will examine the benefits of limpias in this process, and …




This chapter is divided into three parts to examine how the co-modification of G.I. Joe animated cartoons, film, and merchandise assist in creating and normalizing the ultimate “warrior hero.” First, I will discuss the notion of race, particularly how it forms children’s understanding of racial ideology. Second, I will consider the construction of heterosexuality in the T.V. animated cartoon series, movie, and G.I. Joe action figure. Third, I will elaborate on what male and female characteristics lead to the social construction that men are the primary key players in war and in G.I. Joe. In so doing, I will discuss the assumed “superiority” men have over women in war.



Do you see how this paragraph is set up? You need to do something similar here. It helps guide the reader.



Unclear. Rewrite.



Unclear. Rewrite.



This section needs to be restructured and rewritten. What is the intent of this section? How does this information inform the reader about the significance of your work?



This section is focused on spirituality and yet half of the content is focused on a critique of the Catholic church. This section needs to be rewritten with literature and a focus on spirituality and healing.



So, what purpose does this section serve? You have one long paragraph here. It is not clear to me why this is important or relevant. How about making this section a few paragraphs and with several main points that are developed and support your rationale for the importance of your study.