"Well it's a little confusing. When I grew up, I didn't know anything about deaf culture and I was a deaf girl in a hearing world--grew up orally so I didn't really know -- am I deaf or hard of hearing? I didn't have a label to identify myself by. But when I came here and went Gallaudet. I finally found identity for myself. I realized, I'm deaf and I’m Asian and identify myself as deaf first. So I'm a deaf user of ASL."
Ying Li was born in 1973 in Dalian, China and now lives and works as a teacher in Worcester. After suffering from a severe illness and a very high fever as a toddler, her hearing deteriorated and she became deaf. In this interview, Ying Li speaks about her family’s experiences coming to terms with her deafness and her own struggle to communicate and learn to identify herself in a hearing world. She discusses her education as a young child, meeting other deaf children and learning sign language for the first time. She also reflects upon her experiences in graduate school at Gallaudet University—the country’s only deaf university, located in Washington D.C. Ying Li also talks a bit about the services and education available to deaf children in China.