The Man Behind The Blog

TrueBiz is an abbreviated form of ‘True Business,’ a phrase borrowed from American Sign Language (ASL) that roughly translates to “for real.” This was a personal blog chronicling my life experience. For the time being, my intent is to focus on the issues surrounding the marginalization of minorities within the National Association of the Deaf and will be showing posts only related to the issues raised by Governor Daugaard’s invitation to the NAD to give a plenary presentation.

I graduated from Gallaudet with an undergrad degree in history and a graduate degree in Deaf Studies. I am now a PhD candidate working on a dissertation on the history of the American Deaf Community.


Comments on: "The Man Behind The Blog" (9)

  1. OMG, I just discovered your blog. BOOKMARKING. Love it. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I love your blog. Can you add google plus so I can share it to my circles in google plus? Thank you!

  3. Staci Miller (from awesome Austin) said:

    Hoping to meet you someday. I too am a graduate of Gallaudet C. and Lamar U. Taught at MSD-Columbia and TSD-Austin. I taught US History, US Government, Geography. Glad to know you are a history minor.
    I admire your “activism” and hope your petition will have a lot of influence in NOT purchasing this book. I still think a boycott is the best way to go. Try to start a boycott MOVEMENT of having Deaf people stand at the bookstore that is selling her dirty book and tell the hearing and deaf people who are buying the book that it isn’t ASL. We really can’t stop it from being written, being published, being sold but we can stand near the book and “persuade” the public not to buy. I would be very happy on my day off to do this at any bookstore that sells her book. And I wouldn’t even think of being “violent”- a jab to those who think Deafies are “barbaric” as had been heard by me in the past. We’ve come a LONG way since then.

    • Always great to meet those who are interested in history and teach the subject. I share your hopes and agree that a boycott must be part of our long term strategy. The book is slated for publication in Fall of 2013. Thank you for giving your time to this cause. I hope our paths cross some day. Austin is an awesome city I’d like to visit again so that might happen!

  4. RE: Intracommunity Division and “Deaf Nazis” post:

    I’m the father of the little Deaf girl in question.
    There is an adage: Don’t see things how you think they are, rather see things how they really are. That is certainly true here. You unfortunately don’t have enough background to know how things really are.

    The video was shot last year at Deaf Awareness Day in San Diego. Let me provide you the background context of the misunderstood quip in question. It was actually in reference to growing up, as just before the video was shot, they were joking about growing up, or maybe taking a Peter Pan approach & becoming a pirate (did you notice the balloon sword in her belt? Too bad the resulting laughter in the soundtrack from those persons who were “in” on the joke wasn’t captioned in.)

    It helps to know context.

    In more serious moments, her career goals are not related to being a pirate, and include being veterinarian, or a teacher.

    Let me answer your conjectures/questions, one by one.

    “I wonder. Does this little girl question her ability to be a successful adult because she is deaf and she has somehow internalized the idea that deaf adults are generally not successful? “

    Answer: No. She is a very confident kid, who is constantly exposed to highly successful Deaf professionals.

    “Is she, as a deaf pupil, told she will struggle because of literacy and linguistic acquisition?”

    Answer: Nah. Her first language is ASL. When she started her school career, she arrived at school kindergarten ready. Currently, her reading level is two grade levels above her age appropriate standard. In fact, in all the California Standard Tests in all subject areas she has taken though out her school career, she has scored advanced.

    “Or is she, like the Dove commercial on television, one of the majority of girls who drop out of what they enjoy doing because they are insecure about themselves as girls growing into women?”

    Answer: Nope. She is very confident and determined to succeed in what she does, whether it is academic or in one of her extra-circular activities. She has Deaf role models in most things she does, and for those things that she doesn’t have a Deaf role model, she proudly claims she’ll become the first Deaf person to do it – and she’ll become the Deaf adult role model to others.

    “Is she, as a female pupil, told that she cannot succeed in the sciences and math because boys are simply better at those subjects?”

    Answer: Another Nope. She knows females can succeed in math & science. As a matter of fact, all of her adult role models in this area (with the exception of one) are female. Her teachers are very supportive of her as a student without regard to gender.

    “Or is it all rolled into one as a deaf female? We cannot separate out precisely the moment, those experiences, those messages she received as a girl, as a deaf child, and as a deaf girl, that she had to question whether or not she would succeed. What disempowers this child? Her femalehood or her deafhood? How do those disempowerments nurture each other?”

    Answer; Nah, She knows & has internalized that she is empowered. She’s confident she’ll succeed. When she was real little and folks would ask what school she was going to (meaning which elementary school), she would answer Gallaudet. They would be surprised she was thinking so long term, she would be surprised they weren’t.

    But, with all of this said, we need to remember that she is still just a kid, a kid who when being silly with her friends about not growing up (ala Peter Pan) & being a pirate … is simply just having fun and enjoying the moment. Her mom & I are certainly in no hurry for her to grow up, and we’re enjoying the journey with her.

    I wasn’t aware that this video was posted. Too bad the resulting laughter from those who were “in” on the joke wasn’t captioned in as it would help put things into perspective and significance of the balloon sword wouldn’t have been easily so passed over.

    Since you’re in San Diego, we can arrange for you to meet my family at DCS or the sandwich shop next door, and you can judge for yourself. Knowledge is better than conjecture.


    • Tony, Thank you for leaving this comment. Clearly, you have invested time and energy in writing out such a thoughtful comment- one that requires an equally thoughtful response from me. I am on my way to Phoenix tonight and am unable to respond until I return to San Diego on Monday. Please do know I have no intention of ignoring the important and heartfelt points you have made. Best, Tavian

  5. Staci Miller (from awesome Austin) said:
    (Here’s hope for you!!) Teen magazine has pledged to stop photoshopping their model photos. A young girl led the petition. 84,000 signed the petition.

  6. Lilit Marcus said:

    Hi Tavian,

    My name is Lilit Marcus. I am a CODA and a journalist. I’m working on an article about Kristin Henson’s “Smutty Sign Language” book and really appreciated what you had to say. I’d like to quote you in my piece. Can you please contact me at


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