Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E47: Babes with Hearing Aids (Katie Norton)

April 5th 2021
Marybeth and Marcia have a chat with Katie, a deaf powerlifting college student at UMASS. Katie schools us on accessibility tips for deaf / hard of hearing folks, what it’s like living with hearing ai... More
this is disabled girls who lift, We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours. One podcast at a time, it's mary beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that. A bliss comfort zone. Mhm Welcome folks to another episode of disabled girls who lift, Happy to have you on the podcast hanging out with us. This is Marsha in so called florida, Seminole Tribe Land, I'm sorry, so called. I heard somebody say that once and I was like, I'm going to use that. Alright, I just stuck my rhythm, don't hey all, it's mary beth from the California now, uh sitting on a lonely land um here in northern California. Uh we are super delighted to be inviting Katie Norton who is our guest today.

She's over in massachusetts, massachusetts. Uh 21 year old college student majoring in business powerlifter, super passionate about her advocacy for people with disabilities and yeah, we're just so happy to have you Katie because there aren't very many power lifters out there, so trying to find them. You guys start me on today, I really appreciate it. Um and yeah, I am a power lifter. I am hard of hearing, I'm an advocate and I'm so excited to talk to you guys today all about it. Yeah, lovely. We're glad to have you on. So this is a first for us. So uh you know, I want to thank you for having the patience to kind of work with us because you are like you said hard of hearing and this is a video audio speaking format and I have no idea how that feels, it works, so thank you for trying to figure it out with us and making it work um but the power lifting thing, I'm a little curious where did you find out about powerlifting and how long have you been doing it?

Yeah, so I guess I'll talk a little bit about my lifting background and how I got into power lifting. So I grew up playing soccer um all throughout my middle school and high school, I grew up playing soccer player and I was a goalie and I loved it, however, I found that it was very anxiety inducing for me in the position of goalie because of just how much pressure for lack is like on me the whole time, so, and but I still loved being active, I loved moving my body, but I wanted something where I felt more in control of what would happen because I would feel like if we lost a game that would be my fault. So then I found lifting senior year of high school, I would just go to the gym a couple times a week and I was slowly finding myself in the gym, I started to become more confident, more happy with the way I loved my body image changed completely and then in college I joined the power lifting team at my school UMass Amherst and I haven't looked back since, so I've been power lifting since my freshman year of college and I'm not a junior sweet?

So there was actually a power lifting team at your college and you just showed up like, hey. Yeah, yeah, it was the kind of marketed it as like you don't need any experience or if you have a bunch of experience and there's a place for you, so there's really just a place for everyone on the team and it was very nervous nerve wracking for me at first to join a sport really that I didn't know anything about, but the team was so welcoming, A bunch of people took me under their wing and I hope that when we go back to school in the fall I'll be able to take some of the younger team members under my wing so I can kind of help them the way other people help me dang. That's awesome. I wish I had a power listing team so that wasn't, that wasn't cool yet. When I was in college it was like a fleeting thought like, oh we have a dead lift platform I guess we could have a team but nothing ever happened. Yeah, it's beautiful to see how much it's grown. And do you think to the segue from, because I mean marcie and I both also came from soccer, the segue from I guess having the power and the lower body or just strength in general minus the speed in Maryland.

You kind of take a little bit of the speed out um did you find that fairly easy for you? Yeah, I say, I definitely was very lucky that I came in already with lower body strength and muscle in my legs. So that definitely helped me with the squat and the dead lift. But I was based from upper body wise, I was starting from the ground up, I had pretty much no upper body strength because with soccer, they focused a lot more on conditioning and being in shape, rather muscular. So, and I think it also could be really helpful for high school sports teams to start getting in the gym and weight lifting too because there's so many women out there who are just so terrified of getting into the weight section because it's such a male dominated activity and I feel like it could be so great if athletic trainers helped women in the gym, especially at an age where they're still finding themselves, you know, definitely, I will always be salty that in high school if you played on the men's basketball or football team, you automatically got an elective weightlifting class, you got to have a class period to going to the gym, but on women's basketball, volleyball, soccer, whatever, It's just like, oh yeah, run laps during practice, Oh, why does your knee hurt?

I don't know, do crunches, do jumping Jack? Like, hey, I would have been a monster if I lifted weights back then. Can you imagine me defending a ball with some massive quads just fucking explode the soccer balls. Are you kidding me? I'm thinking back and now I'm realizing there actually was a weight class. Like there were multiple gym class options and I don't think there was a single girl who did the weight class know about it. Even if we were in sports, even if we were athletic, we weren't like even considered, No, I'm telling you it was automatic. Oh, football, All right. You could take weight lifting. All the football players are in period three. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. At the end of my soccer journey in high school, they started letting us in to use the lower body weight machines only. Yeah, you are about and wow.

Well just like you wouldn't touch a barbell until college and it's such a shame because especially at that age, you're growing rapidly, you're putting a massive demand on your body and you've got no strength behind it. Like there's so many injuries that could be avoided with just a little, a little muscle. Yeah. A little control. Yeah. And like in high school and college too, like so many women are insecure about their body. A lot of, and for me, personally lifting changed the way that I think about my body, my relationship with food the way I take care of myself and I don't know how many lives it could really change for women if they were able to get in the gym and kind of help them solve those problems. That could be avoided. You know that is so true. That is amazingly true. So the first time that you actually decided to lift a weight because your power lifting now and you found the team and that's cool.

But I'm curious speaking about body image. The first time you were like, I'm going to lift weights. Did you think to yourself, oh, I need to tone up and lose weight or where you like power lifting? Yeah. From the start, Yeah, It was, I'm going to spend 40 minutes on the treadmill and then I'm gonna do, I'm circuit, I'm gonna get biggest whatever and I'm gonna be so troubled with the flat stomach. That was I literally my first workout, I went on Pinterest and I looked up Pinterest ab workout and I there was like this pdf printable thing with like little images of like some girl doing some ab circuit and then like one tricep exercise and like looking back, Well obviously I didn't know anything. So I look to the internet and that's what I found. But also maybe that shouldn't be the first thing that pops up in search history when you're looking at how to work because you're wasted. I've wasted probably a year of lifting just doing those exercises doing right, absolute bullshit.

Absolutely. And the funniest part is you see these lovely quote unquote tunb thin or nowadays fit thick, slim, thick. But at the end of the day, they're not doing these jumpy workouts to look that way they're doing squats. Mm Why don't they just post the squats? I also see like on social media too, there's these fit tricks who have like millions of followers and they write in their captions, showing you the hard work today. Like this isn't always I'm perfect when I'm doing my squats, it's like, no, that's the real work. I want to see that I don't want to see your random circuits. Like I want to see you putting in the work sweating, breathing heavy, like that's where they are, you know, So I feel like this and that's exactly with why with my social media, I'm showing my power lifting sets and I'm showing me literally out of breath because that's how you build muscle and that's how you get strong. That's beautiful.

And when you join that power lifting team, how many women were in it? Um I think it's there's about 70 people on the team. I would check dang 10, 15 girls if that it's very, very male dominated. However, a lot of the men on the team are very, you know, welcoming. They want more women on the team too. They love having the girls because it shows like the rest of you mass and everyone else girls can lift two and girls can just be as strong as boys. They put in the work to and we work hard, so yeah, it's very, very male dominated I would say. Yeah, That's for damn straight. That's awesome, 70 people, that's a lot. That's a whole ass meat. That's the meat on its own with those people. Do you compete against other schools? How does the teamwork? Is it more of a club or is it like a sports competition? Yeah, so it's definitely more of a club.

However, we kind of just call ourselves the team because it is a very team atmosphere, like we hype each other up in the gym. However, powerlifting is such an individual sport. Everyone is on their own programs with their own coaching and everyone has different needs. So it wouldn't make sense for it to be just like a one size fits all type of thing. But we do do um, meet together, like we'll all sign up for the same meat and the rest of the team will go out and support each other. They also have um, people who will handle you, which basically just means that they will take care of you and they'll make sure that you're on the right track during the meat and stuff, but it's such a community and I'm so happy I joined because it just really made me feel secure as a woman in sports to know that I have this whole community around me when I walk into the gym and it's just such a welcoming community. That's great and I know there's like collegiate competitions too, I mean up here in the bay, like we competed against san Jose sometimes.

Do you have any nearby you in massachusetts? Yeah, there's the massachusetts host more local meats because we are a smaller state, but I think there's nationals this year and like baton rouge and I'm in florida too, so like the bigger states will hold the nationals competitions where you have to qualify for those. Um, I'm still working my way up there, maybe senior year, I'll get there. But yeah, nationals is definitely something that United State power lifting community a lot more to. Yeah, but it seems like most of the, or at least the college teams that I know of left us a pl yeah, personally is a bummer because they're kind of trash, but besides that, the teams down here are not really like their club based, right? Like they sign up as a club at their college, they're not a sponsored sport or whatever. Um, but the teams that I know of have tryouts and so if you want to compete, like let's say you masses going to nationals, like you had to get the slot of your weight class to compete.

That's how it is around me in florida. Yeah, I mean you definitely have to have like a certain qualifying total to be able to make it to nationals and stuff, but because there's like some tools where the power lifting teams, like 300 people, and they at some point have to cap that because they need to be able to provide everything they can for their team members, so they don't want to just welcome a ton of people. But for us we're still relatively small club of 70 people, so we don't have the need. But it would be amazing to see mass powerlifting grow and obviously making cut, just not a good thing, but it would be nice to be able to get to the level of, you know, having that. Yeah, just a more competitive level. Yeah, exactly. Stay on top. That's great. I mean, people, you'll get there. No problem. There's levels to that for sure. If you got hundreds and hundreds of people, you can't pay and help everyone, you know, buy a plane ticket, but I don't think there's hundreds and hundreds of people down here. I think period end it's like a competition to get on the team.

That's wild. Like what you said sounds nice and lovely and you know, community elitist, but I don't Yeah, that's that's the vibe. I mean, like if you want to be on the team, you have to make it and these are college teams. No, that's the thing, it's still, it's still a club because it's not the college isn't sponsoring it as a sport, You're signing up as a club calling yourself a powerlifting team and then how you run it from there is up to you, but that's how they run it, you have to like not audition, but you have to get, you have to try out there, you know, there's try out. Yeah, but something also important to note, I think would be that if you get to the level of having to have try out, that if I was at a school where I had to try out, I know for a fact, I wouldn't have made it based on like skill wise where I was and I never would have found power lifting too. So I think there is the beauty in having a small team where anyone can join because it opens up the sport to just about anyone. Yeah, that's that elitism like mary Beth said, you don't really want that to be a barrier.

Yeah, unless it grows, I mean because you think of club soccer and intramural soccer, right? I didn't get, I didn't get into the club team at college, but I still joined or I created and I am team together with my friends and just had a blast. So if power lifting gets that big where you do have to try out for club power lifting, you gotta create intramural okay. I was just saying, yeah, like community, but right now it's just, I don't know the way that Marcia's said they're doing it in florida, that's like still too elitist for me. Yeah, so they're operating like, like an elite, you know, like you said like the club soccer team or like the travel teams, you have to be really good to get on, but popularity wise number was like, you're not really there yet to shut people out. Yeah, can you know, you mentioned something that like, I think is really a huge telling point as to how a lot of women get into para lifting to the fact that it's such an individual sport, right?

In soccer? It is not, you felt a lot of the pressures, anxiety is a goalie or just any player on a team versus now or your, your goal is your goal, you're pushing yourself, you have your own personal records to be um, like how much of a change was that for you from a sport? Like soccer, two para lifting. Um, I would say it's a good change and a bag change, I'll start, I think there's a lot more discipline required in an individual sport because it's up to you to train that day. It's up to you to keep your nutrition and check, keep your sleep in check because you need to succeed. Whereas with soccer, you can, or other team sports, you kind of could have slacked off a little bit in that department because your teammates are gonna be there to hold you accountable, they're going to make sure you get to practice, um, all of that, but the positive with power, the thing is that I never felt like I was under any stress to perform from for anyone.

Like I lift for me, I don't lift to impress anyone, I don't lift too. I don't know, I just, I lift for me and it makes me happy and for the first time exercising became my therapy and not just something I had to do, like I exercise because I want to, so I definitely think that there is positive and that positive and negatives and it really just depends on the person and what they're looking for. Are they looking for the team atmosphere or they're looking for the true self development, You know, very true. But I love that you're still in some sort of a team environment. So you've got your high people, your hype man, your hype girls when you are about to hit a pr when you're out there on the stage, that's still, I think kind of a similar feeling, the similar like thread of community, but without the added pressure. Yeah, but in terms of navigating either of those spaces, team sports and the individual sport of powerlifting is the fact that you're hard of hearing.

Make either one of those easier or harder for you. Um I'll talk about soccer and then I'll talk about powerlifting because they both had just when it comes to hearing loss. So for soccer, this is actually a very funny story. So I grew up playing soccer. I was a boy and I was pretty good at it. I played club soccer. Um and I really love soccer and I really wanted to be good in high school. I was on the JV team freshman year and I was good enough to make varsity sophomore year and the summer between freshman and sophomore year, I talked to diversity coach about me making diversity team and he said, yeah, you're good but I don't want to put you on the team because of your hearing loss. And I was like, excuse me and his reasoning what you thought. I wasn't gonna be able to hear him when he was yelling commands at me from the sideline to Be whatever he wanted me to you during the game that has never, ever, ever played a part in my 40s as a player, my abilities as a person, anything.

And he, I think he was just worried about accommodating someone with a disability that he just use that as an excuse. But I worked really hard over the summer. I passed the fitness test with flying colors and he ended up supporting the spot between me and one other girl on the team and at the end of the season I had better statistics than the girl who didn't have hearing loss and at the end he did apologize and said Katie and Millie, sorry I shouldn't have judged you based on your hearing loss. So it definitely made me work harder. But it's also you don't say that to a person ever based disability that doesn't like show what they're capable of, you know, that was that. And then with power lifting, my first power lifting mate, I was really, really worried about being able to hear commands because you are given commands to unwrap the bar, rack the bar, press it all of that. Yeah, So for squat and dead lift, it was fine because I was looking at the head judge so I could see the commands because they have to like move their hand to give you directions as well.

But on the bench, I was lying flat on the bench looking up at the ceiling, the judges six ft behind me, so I can't see him at all on pressing. So I advocated for myself. I went to the meet director at the beginning of the meat and I said, hey, well, we might have to make some accommodations for me because I I don't want to be judged on my ability to hear, I want to be judged on my ability to actually lift the weight. So it was we had the head judge, he moved closer to me during my lifts and we decided that if I had ever missed a lift based on racking command, I would still be given the white lights for it. Um just because it's not my fault if I missed it. So it worked out really well and for every single power lifting meet going forward, I will definitely do that. And you know, if there's any listeners who were also hard of hearing and power lifters, I strongly urge you to talk to someone about it because people want to help you, You just need to give them the tools to do.

So that's incredible. And so much easier than like the strife that you had to go through just for the coach. Like you're having a, like a normal conversation with your coach and he's flat out telling you that you might have hearing problems on the field yet you're having a conversation with. How does that make any sense? Like when you're playing soccer, you have no time to talk to anyone. It's two second command and in the position of goalie, goalie is the one who's making the decisions on the field. The goalie is the one who's directing the players because they can see everything on the field. I didn't need to hear in that situation. I needed to see and communicate. Which as a hard of hearing person, I am better because I am more aware of my surroundings. So if anything he had the benefit of having years ago because I was more aware of everything going on. I really Yeah, yeah, that's pretty funny.

So you haven't had any blowback in terms of power lifting. Um, your accommodation is not something physical that you need to bring in or change the setup, It's just asking the judge to move closer. Yeah, I think because this was a local meat, it wasn't too big a vigil to ask them to move. But I know if I ever make it to nationals or for a higher level meet, if you look at videos, you can see that the judge is like the lifters are up on a stage and the judges are like either offstage or they're a lot further back. So I think that might be a little bit more difficult. But I don't think it's anything that I wouldn't be able to handle, you know, Right. I think it's a little different in terms of understanding what what accommodations are when it's something like I just need you to move closer to me. Versus mary Beth it's like I want to introduce something new and use something that nobody else uses, then they're like, wait, wait, wait, no, no, no, you can't do that.

It's a liability. That's something else. No. So but at the same time you have the same experience though. Right mary beth like local, it was fine. Well, with one Federation, it was fine. Local and locally. And I'm sure nationally, I mean it's on the rule book. That's that's it. The great thing about accommodations though, Katie just having people meet directors, Judges who are open minded to hearing out what those accommodations are. Be a blind para lifter who just needs somebody to guide them to the bench or guide them to the bar, um which is not necessarily loud for able bodied lifters, um but if you don't have someone who's open minded and it's like no, well, if you bring a second person that's cheating, we have to weigh them into just like the logic behind some of these federation organizers just blows my mind. Like it does not make any sense. Well, I think that's a really good point there of so what if you have to add something to it?

It's like an accommodation. It's an accommodation at the end of the day, it puts us on a level playing field with everyone else, regardless of what it is, it's not treating, it's not trying to get a leg up, it's trying to be equal. And that's why I think people don't understand at all. That's that's beautiful. That your first, it was your first meet to write your first little me and first competition um was a good experience that way, because you can also use that as an example for any national meets international meets. Like, hey, the accommodation has been made in the past, this is how we do it. Like you said, I'm providing you the tools, how can you possibly say no to that? Right? Exactly. And I think it also making it, having it be such a positive experience really helped me in the sport too, because even though I'm not someone to back away from a challenge, I think that if it was a negative experience and if they had to know, maybe I wouldn't have wanted to do a second meat and then because Covid happened, I haven't been able to do um like a second meet in person, I've done a couple of mock meats in my basement, but like I definitely think that it was a bad experience.

I would continue doing mock me to my basement even after all this was over. But was that trial and error for you? Like did you practice commands in the gym with your team before an actual meat? Did you practice it literally in the practice room of the competition or did you not find out until after your first attempt? Yeah. In the bench was Yeah, yeah. They prepared us really well. Um hearing, hearing and um part of hearing lifters, they, I'm the only hard of hearing nothing. But they said they said there are commands and those are really, really important. So they had everyone practiced command and I also, a couple of days before my meet my boyfriend and I we went to the gym um and I just did commands with the bar too, especially bench just to make sure that I was gonna be able to hear them and everything. So that was really helpful to reassure myself that I had the extra practice, right? But like you mentioned earlier, you don't back away from a challenge. Like that part that was the challenge, right? The trial and error.

Like, okay, how can I make this work for me? What do I need? Well how what do I need to do to make this work cool, but if you get there and they shut you down, like, I don't think that counts as a challenge anymore. Like that's just a barrier, you know, like that's just hitting like a ceiling because you did you get what I mean? Like you did all of the effort and the work are ready to figure out how to how to get through it if somebody shut you down after it. Like that's such a fucking buzzkill, you're going to be like, never mind. Yeah, never mind. And like I definitely agree with that and sometimes in that situation you have to weigh, I mentioned this literally in an instagram post the other day is like the benefit of okay, is it worth it to me to not go through with this even though I put in all this effort and all this time preparing for one day or can I really say no, this is what I need and I need you to do this for me because you're breaking a lot and it's not right if you don't accommodate for me. So it's definitely weighing the benefits and everything.

Yeah, and Marcy really just put me in the fields there because oh my God, it's just such like, like you even said, right even for your soccer coach, you had to put in a lot more effort than literally everybody on the team to show that you were fucking equal to your teammates and that there would essentially be no accommodations for him to have to make for you because um you know, you can see see fairly clearly his, you know, whatever the case may be um and you had to prove a point and same with the judges, it was fairly easy for them. Um and all of that training was like, it didn't necessarily go to waste and it just made me think back to like um you know when I started power lifting, I didn't know I could lift a dead lift a certain way or a bench or squat a certain way and that takes years and years of trial and error without a left hand.

And um when I finally found that product, I felt like I was finally um on the level on a level playing field with people in my weight class, like I didn't have to pull dead lifts with just one arm and be like hulk smash Superwoman, which was great at the moment, but there is a b there is like a roof, you know, there's a limit any one person can hit. Um like, I mean I was able to dead lift with one hand as much as like a 3 £400 man can dead lift with one hand, but there's a barrier and so when I was able to add this tool um like a lifting hook to my left hand, essentially a prosthetic, but for power lifting um And I added you know 50 60 70 even £100 to my dead lifts, I was like fuck yes, I can compete and feel like I'm you know like I can have a similar total to others.

I show it to coaches, I show it to my state um what are they called? State directors, meet directors nationally, um um Presidents, all those great things and boom. Usa pl shuts it down, take it to U. S. P. A. USP accepts. It takes it back to us. A pl shuts it down again, liability. Legal like legal issues. They bring in their lawyers. I bring in mind and it's a fun, it's a headache. It's a frustrating for six years of fighting back and forth where they just tell you, oh yeah you found an accommodation. It's it's not gonna work for us because we don't believe that it's say for equal for everybody else. That it that's the fact that they used a safety or illegal excuse. It's like you already accomplished so much without the accommodation. It's not cheating or anything.

It's literally putting you on a level playing field. It's like but it's not what they it's not what they want to see. It's not what their viewers love, the viewers love like watching a struggle struggle either in hand. Yeah, yeah. Like okay, I can get you the views, but that's not going to be good for my body long term. It's not going to get me to where I want to be in the sport. No, that's very it's it's very disheartening because you found you found the challenge. The challenge like, All right, I want to dial it with two hands. This is gonna be tough. Don't have two hands. That's my challenge. You conquered the challenge. Challenge conquered. You go to the meat. No. Fuck, what do you mean? No, I went through all this trouble. You just tell me no. Like wow. And obviously just, you know, you work your ass off still just as much as all the other power lifters go through the nutrition, uh, water cuts, meat cuts, even pay for flights to nationals and hotels and get turned out.

Like remember question them for all the fees and stuff. Tell me now you pay for everything that I had to pay for to get here. Like Yeah, no, that's definitely some bs there. I forgot about all those fees. Yeah, but I mean, but what's great though? I'm not, I'm not trying to rain on your parade either. It's just like, it's great to see advocacy every day. Like it's necessary for every disability for every accommodation for trans lifters. For everybody who just wants to compete. Um, we need to keep speaking up for ourselves because we're so freaking unique. Everybody has a different accommodation. Um and only then will they realize, okay, we need to listen to everybody and not make the rules from its so trash. And it sucks too because it's like, yeah, it's just the organizational structure of a lot of these um, federation's right.

Some people don't have all federations by them. Like you might be stuck, you wanna lift at a meet on a stage and all you have is U. S. P. A. Or all you have is usa pl or all you have is Rps. You know, they're not everywhere in all states, but the people running them locally in your area. For the most part it's a small community. You know them, you know, if their dicks are not like, you know, if they're trash or not, you're you're cool with them or you're not and you might be able to get everything you need on the local level. But once you get higher up it's like who are these people? Why is the vibe different? What changed? Yeah, I don't get that. That's what I don't understand. How do you have an organization that doesn't allow things to be scaled like But also I think something else important to note is that you should be able to compete in whatever federation you want to, you shouldn't have to be forced to move to another federation, even if it's so easy for me to move and stuff. It's different to us. Yeah. So, it's like you might be looking at a dead lift bar and now you have to switch to a power of art.

Like it's more than just switch confederations. It's a new rule book. It's traveling further distances. It's money. All of that because you're being denied an accommodation that you need. It's like everyone deserves equal access to it regardless of anything. Yeah. Such a great point. Just don't live with them like, um Okay, but that shouldn't even be a sentence that should like, you shouldn't even be able to say that. Exactly. And that's that's the only reason why I continue to fight and tried so hard. Still on the legal aspect of it. Like of course I had to take a year or two long break from the heartache, but the year that it started, you know, I was Katie's age, I was in a college team started Berkeley Barbell club and we had planned to travel to nationals together in Georgia. Atlanta. Meet my sponsor for the first time. And I had to sit it out like sit on the bench because I have a disability. Fuck damn.

But shoot, I forgot what I was going to ask you Katie about power lifting. You forgot mm All right. Well, we're gonna burn some pretend Sage for all of these bad feelings. Get rid of all that negative energy. We're gonna take a quick pause and then come back quick pause. All right, we're burning sage right now and we're gonna pop a commercial Amber some stage. We're gonna come back refreshed. Alright. Alright. Alright. Alright. We're back. We're back. Good vibes, Good vibes only. It's not toxic positivity. We're still mad. But also there's more good vibes. So anyways, don't you remember me? Good vibes all the way? Um That made me think of And I know Katie, you're still kind of new competition, but um you don't have to tell us which federation are competing in. However, in um the U. S. A. P. L. They created a new division for adaptive athletes. Oh, if you only had the option to compete and adaptive and didn't have like the ability to compete and open because the rule book says so, um what would you do, What would you do if you went to the national and they were like, okay, Katie.

Well, if you want that, then you have to do adaptive division. You can't compete in the open. I think while an objective division is a great idea, my accommodation is having you move closer to me to say command. Like my accommodation is really not that big of a deal. It's you taking four steps closer to me and then it's good. So I definitely think it's great, but that it's also signaling people singling people out because of a disability and some people don't want attention brought to it and it's other people deciding that attention is going to be brought to it. And I think it would be very interesting and I do compete in U. S. A. P. L. But I think it would be really interesting to see who made the idea to have this new section. Was it disabled people or was it able body? You know, it's definitely not disabled folks. Yeah they didn't ask discrimination and like no. Yeah at the at the top end the folks up there don't know what they're doing and they don't want to know what they're doing because it's not like people aren't here saying, hey look I'm disabled, this is how we could do things or that's mary beth how long or people that are trans that are like hey what's up?

Um I don't identify with any gender. So here's how we can do things like these people exist but they don't really care. And then all like out of meat, let's say you are competing in this new division, are you competing against yourself because there's no one else registered in it or are you competing with one other person? It also just decreases the competitive atmosphere of no. And then also do they get the opportunity to win best lifter? Was their separate best lifter category? It's just I get I understand why they think the idea could be a good good idea but like run it by the people that it's affecting one 100% bottom line. you know, just running by them. You would think that makes sense. But that's not the way things go for some strange reason. Yeah. Even just one pass through like one survey, one questionnaire, you could go to one community like, well, probably have the right answer for you all, but they didn't even try. Yeah, No, I like the idea of providing the option.

Obviously not requiring that all people identify with a disability, chronic illness. Um, anything has to, you know, compete in that division just because you're like, you're asking the right questions. Katie is, is their best lifter. Do they have their own separate categories? They're not going to be separate weight classes for one. It's just no weight class. You are in a downtown. That's it. Uh, there aren't any, what was it? There aren't any love. There's no national. Yeah, I can be nationally. Um, and then you can't, there are no records. They're not going to Are you serious? No. Records. Is that like outright in the rule book, it's almost laughing at us. Like we just get a participation. That's a monogram. But saying here come from people because we have this thing for you, but we're not going to give you any opportunity to advance 16 when anything it makes no sense nonsense.

I don't get it. I don't get it at all. And it's, I don't know, is it a culture thing, is that the type of people that do power lifting? Because I mean it's coming up in other things like crossfit. Um I don't know if you want anything about crossfit but there's pretty much an organization that was like suck this will figure it out. And they're called wheel wad. And they did their own they do their own entirely separate programming. But it's picked up so much steam that now crossfit is like all right well what what do you want us to do? Yeah. And it starts that it has to reach a level before people start. You shouldn't care at the beginning not because something is gaining traction and all of that. Yeah. The biggest more they're like more of you exist. Oh wow. No kidding. Yeah. So you guys could pay for this. Alright let's all right, come in, come on down. The price is right. Oh my gosh it makes no sense. It's just bullshit. It's it's performative.

It's it's like performative activism allie ship whatever because they're putting a label on it like oh yeah we're inviting our ex lifters. We're inviting adaptive lifters. You are not being discriminated against except you have to play by our rules. Um I do understand to maybe somebody who is new to power lifting. Um Only heard about it yesterday it was like oh wait there's an adaptive division that's perfect. You know that's great or if they'd never heard of para lifting even though um para lifting is uh para powerlifting, sorry is completely different. Um, I think it's the entirely the way that it's run, its not for necessarily people with all disabilities and uh yeah, I don't know. It's gaining a lot more traction, at least in the adaptive uh sports just over the narrative of like, we have to do something separately on our own and prove to people that were cool and then they'll let us in like, yeah, let's get old.

But that's the general theme for everything, right? Like we're just at the point where finally it's disabilities turn, but we already did that for like girls in sports, right? Like we already did that for people of color in sports. We already did that for like segregation and it's 20, and we're just touching disability. Like, like we still need to get through the women in sports yet, right? Like, yeah. When is this ever gonna end of just putting people down because you think they're not capable? It's like anyone should be equal regardless of literally anything. Why do we have to continuously fight like any type of group? You know, like equal? You know, it's, it's simple done. Moving on. Like no further questions. Yeah. Well, I mean it's just so, I mean obviously it comes from so much misinformation right there. Like, oh, this is gonna be too complicated. Oh, it's going to be cause it's gonna cost too much.

I am going to be, you know, disadvantaged or um, I have to put an extra work to accommodate somebody else. No, can't be done. It's not even always true. Like you guys saw the basketball thing that happened fairly recently, right? Like the college, he was college basketball and then the men's weight room was like an entire fucking squat rex platforms and the women's quote unquote weight room was just a dumbbell rack. Oh, that happened at you mess. No, no, that was, it was march madness like ships and it wasn't even, so somebody posted a video and then they came out and they're like, oh, well there wasn't enough space for the women's weight room. And that's the only reason. And then, so someone will booted a response video showing you all the empty space they had on the women's side. And then they uploaded more videos. Like it wasn't even just the weight room. The food was different. Oh yeah. Like what the look, it's the same sport.

Yeah. It's like, why does it, why is it until it's brought to light through the media that things change. It's like, again, like, like I've been saying it should be equal from day one. It should not be a single about the men are bigger and stronger and they bring in more money. So that's why they give them more stuff like, and also now because of like the internet, women's basketball has more searches and the men's does, I think because of Tiktok and the power of the internet too. Yeah. I bet you they'd pay W. N. B. A. Players more if they played in bikinis. That's because that's what, right. That's what fucking american capitalism is. Just objectifying the women and not taking them seriously as athletes. Some bullsh it man. It's like, how do you write like worse not even even a hotel gym was better than the dumbbell rack that gave them. So that's ridiculous. Did y'all ever have a powder puff in like high school where you got to play football? Yeah, we did.

It was and then of course it was like the girls played within the guy's coached us. It's like, like we could coach ourselves like why you gotta join and I don't know. I think it's a nice idea. But it's powderpuff was it was, I mean it was a joke. Oh, here you guys can play this male sport for one day and whenever, you know, Yeah, I played flag football, that was ours. So you pull flags, you don't tackle. Yeah, but that's what I'm trying to say. It's like we're just, we're just put out there uh for the gaze of the male body or whatever. You know, I wanted to play football seriously powder or flag and that's not what it was out there for. It's not what it was intended for. Yeah, there's pro women football leagues out there nowadays and not the bikini one because there is a bikini one. But there are, I found somebody now I forgot her name and rugby, some of the rugby's badass women I know are in rugby, Rubby looks scary for somebody with spaghetti joints like me, rugby not would not be a good look.

Um uh do you have any interest in other strength sports at all? Katie, a like olympic lifting? Strongman throwing sports? Uh well I have really bad risk, so I can't even front squat the bar without pain, so I don't think olympic lifting would be for me, I think you know the clean and I don't even know that much about it, but I think all movement and all and I have so much respect for people who do that because that awesome. But no, I think for the most part I'm gonna stick with power lifting, maybe I'll go back into body building a little bit more just to build up the muscle that I have, but I would never do like figure competing or anything like that. Um I just, I enjoy the strength aspect of it and I enjoy seeing my numbers improve and like constantly working towards that goal. Well, both of us have tried, well mary beth dabbles way more holy than I have because she's actually competed, but I've done Strongman also, Strongman is fun, You should come to the dark side, throw some stones, flip some fires, throw some logs over your head, It's a great time.

Yeah, I've seen Stone one where they like put it on their knee and then they like throw it over the thing. That's awesome. I I think that could be fun to do maybe like a couple of days or something. But I don't think I could see myself actually get at this point, but like maybe a couple like just try it one time for the grand never touch it again. Uh That one would be some figuring out also because there is a lot of commands really. I didn't know that. Mm hmm There's a lot of people telling you when you could drop things, stop counting, telling you when you're getting a no rep. But they're really close to like they follow you from one area to another, right? Oh yeah. The distance is not there like on top of there, like there's no stage, there's no like separation. So that's that's true. Yeah. And then we can also probably make an accommodation where like instead of standing like to decide that the person like for hard of hearing stand in front of us instead so that we can read lips too. So I think there's definitely like any adaptation that you can make to any sport without it being a big deal, you know?

So this might be a dumb question. But does that make you like a pro at multitasking? How can you read lips and lift a weight at the same time. You know how well I mean, I think multitasking my whole life, which I definitely think kind of has led to my success in the sense of like I'm very, very, very aware of my surroundings all the time and I'm able to do multiple things at once. Like this is like if I'm cooking or something and someone is talking to me, I can do both things at once and be fine. So I definitely think it's just a very good sense of awareness and really making sure I know everything that's going on. Mm So does that mean when you're going into a new environment, whether we're talking about a new gym or a new classroom, is that something that you have to spend extra time like scoping out and like getting used to like you can just jump into something new or do you need time to adjust. Um I would say in social situations, particularly if I'm in a group or something, it definitely takes me a little bit of time to warm up if it's my friends, they understand that, you know, they need to be looking at me when they speak, don't mumble, don't cover your hands with your face, but if it's a completely new environment with people I've literally never met before, they don't know, I'm part of hearing, it takes a little bit of like actual physical addressing like okay I need to move a little bit to the left so that way I can read this person's left and then I just shift my body back so that I can see them and also, you know, lighting plays a big part in it too.

So I definitely think there's adaptations in every single environment, but it's definitely a lot easier when the people in the environment know who you are. Yeah, well and for for this podcast to thank you for telling us to ensure that our video had good lighting. Um you know, live transcripts are on for the first time here on the zoom call. So that's that's also really nice. And then for what can we do better um when it comes to the pandemic and wearing masks to I've got cousins who Are in speech therapy and where the clear masks um do you have you liked when people take their mask off and just stand like 12ft away from you when they're speaking it. The pandemic has been really hard mentally for the whole deaf and hard of hearing community because like we rely on liberating, that's how we communicate i without liberating, I can only understand 37% of what he said and then everything else is filled in by contact seclusion.

Look breeding. So to just have that taken away from you, it's really difficult, but I do like it when people take their mask off and step away. However I have because of Covid and stuff, I have really bad anxiety now so it's the risk of do I want to communicate or do I want to potentially expose myself to Covid you know? So it definitely yeah like it's and also it puts the deaf and hard of hearing community more at risk because we the mask thing is hard for us and that's the thing that protects us against Covid. But in order to communicate we have to you know make the decision of mask or hearing. So that's how all the clear masks are nice. However not everyone wears them. Um not everyone you know, thinks about the importance of them. And then also I don't know if there's been any studies done about the effectiveness of clear masks versus regular masks too. Yeah that's what I'd love to know because I don't even wear fabric masks I wear like straight up at 95 mask and I don't think there's clear.

Oh yeah because I went to those. No no I went to the E. N. T. And I had to and I had like a sinus problem so I had to take my mask off. She wore clear masks for with the initial consultation of the appointment but then she had to put the N-95 on while my mask was obviously for her safety. Like I would rather her feel more comfortable than have a clear mask. And so I couldn't understand anything that should be saying during the actual appointment. So then after it was dead and she then had to go back and change, put a clear mask on. So it's just a lot of adaptations that come along with it. Right. And is there any time that go ahead mary beth well just you know there's there's speech to text. We've got this freaking technology at the palm of our hands where everywhere we go. I just remember traveling internationally and even when I couldn't communicate in like thai or mandarin um there are apps that you can speak into. It will translate it for you or just writing it down you know and communicating for customer service.

We would um if if we didn't have ras el employee um you know a sole interpreter employee there writing it down is also somewhat helpful especially with the masks on. Yeah I definitely like dividing it down. I do that a lot at doctor's appointments. I also got like a little pin that says I'm hard of hearing. I can't read lips and I wear that if I go anywhere so that they notice it. But then that's also the whole conversation of do I want to disclose my disability right? Right to be in the mood today. Like it's like do I want to have the talk of I'm hard of hearing, I can't lip read, can you please pull down your mask for me? So that's difficult. And then also like with the speech to tax people are gonna be like why why are you recording me? You know, like then you have to disclose it to no, I need this communicate. So it's like, again, you got to pick and choose. It's just worth it to me to hear. And I'm just going to now hear this conversation and move on, you know?

And I would think I would think that's even more anxiety because how many people, what's the first thing they're going to do when they're talking to you and they don't hear you, They're going to touch you. Yeah, lucky that I've been, I'm very outgoing. I don't have a problem with speaking up for myself, but even me, it gets exhausting and it gets tiring to literally have to do it every single time. I leave my house all the time forever is a lot. Yeah. Yeah, it's a lot. And how has it been with your college business? Yeah, it's been disability services has been and he said um in the spring when we first transition to online, it took me five weeks to get my lectures captioned, which is absolutely ridiculous. And they said they were working on it and nothing I've done. Eventually, my mom had to literally contact the date and be like, my daughter is literally failing this class right now because she doesn't have what she needs to get your ship together and get my daughter what she needs because I like to advocate for myself. But it's getting to the point where I was like, okay, I need to put my mom in to scare these people because clearly it's not working for me.

And then, so what I do is for any asynchronous, like just recorded lectures, um those get closed captioned and then um anything live, I use the two captains are looking at right now or I use um captioning which is just a person who types out the words that people are saying, which is nice. Um and then in the fall it was a little bit better um with more speed to get the stuff but it's still a fight and it sucks. That will hi I had to send like six emails a day in the beginning in semester just to get what I need. Like you shouldn't have to put disabled people through the stress just to be able to get it like it should be hey, where disability services, what do you need? And let's get it to you. It's let us provide you the service. You don't have me off even more about that is the fact that like okay zoom is new for everyone.

Right fine. These buttons suppressed. Like what do we do? I don't know like you know you wanted to use google me, I didn't know how to use google me and should happen like you know fine. But the second that you're like, hey I need some transcription help. There's live transcription things that you can use like I took, I've taken tons of classes where they use like otter and all you have to do is open zoom on one and then you put water on the side. Boom live trends like these things exist. You have to create anything out of nowhere. Like they just had to add something extra. I don't understand five point and it's not new. I mean you're not the first time. I mean, I hope you weren't the first deaf or hard of hearing student at you. It's a really big school. Yeah, that's a major yeah. And I definitely understand the learning curve was just the first time we've all had to shove everything online with barely any notice. But then it's like, okay, you get a pass for the spring semester. But what about the fall and the following spring? Why is it still such a struggle? It's like, okay, you've had a year to figure this out.

The hard Yeah, It's like we're only world is adapting and changing you adapt and change along with it to make it easier and do your damn job. You know? Well not to mention all the accommodations that the world has been getting because emmick that people with disabilities were asking for long ago, right? Oh, all of a sudden we can work from home all of a sudden we can uh tune in via zoom. We could do interviews virtually. You don't have to help on a plane for this job, wow mm and would soon to like it took them so long to figure out close captioning. Like why why is it a pandemic that makes you do it? You've been I don't know how long jim has been around but probably long enough where there should have been figured out like years ago. You know like why is it now? Yeah it makes no sense. There's third party apps that have been doing it this whole time. They've just never they've just been like who cares? Yeah.

And then also you like only paid accounts could access it for a while now. Like that's what about people who don't have to be able to afford it. Like they deserve access to. It makes no sense to me, the things that they decide to charge for, it just makes no sense to me whatsoever. Because those third party apps aren't free either. You know they've been around and they've been doing the live transcription and close caption. They'll transcribe your videos blah blah blah but that's it ain't free either. Yeah like it's expensive, being disabled. Damn. Yeah I'm and to the and and other um I don't know other adaptive tools that are out there, the ones that help you open jars or cans easier. Um They're typically a lot a lot more expensive. Like you are still not an accessible company if you're going to have to charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for your accommodation. No problem. But speaking of like stuff you have to buy, how do, how do hearing aids work because I don't know anything about, all I know is like physical stuff I know about wheelchairs, I know about braces and that's a mess is getting hearing aids.

M. S. Yeah, it's very weird with insurance. Um I am very fortunate that I have wonderful insurance through my mom's work because she worked for, she worked at numerous law so she had insurance through the state which was wonderful. And I got nuclear engaged every five years. It was always covered and then something changed with insurance and at one point I was able to get them Every three years. But now it's back to five, Five years is about how long hearing AIDS work and hearing AIDS are expensive. Like I think this pair that I'm wearing right now, it was like upwards of $9,000 maybe more. And then also there is a last five years. So it's like It's an investment and then there's batteries that cost like $20 for a pack of like six cases, batteries last every they got every like 3-4 days there's audiology visits. There's and then if you need speech therapy and all that, the costs add up and in turn just very picky when it comes to oh well it's just necessary to help the person's quality of life or something that could enhance it.

You know? And it's like stop forcing like stop, stop deciding for people what they need and what they don't need. It's like if a person needs here needs, they need hearing it and it's going to help their quality of life to pay for it, you know? It's a technology is out there, why not just share it with people who need it? They don't want to pay for ship. If you have some braces, they want to give you the clunky old school braces. If some new company comes out and they're like look at these, they'll be like no you don't need them. Just get the cheaper ones. The most the most basic ones where yeah, well not necessarily improve your quality of life. Does that happen for the hearing aids also? Are there like better ones? But they want you to get the cheaper basic ones. Well I've seen because I'm I'm in like a couple of facebook groups for people with hearing loss and there's so many posts of people being like I need hearing aids but I can't afford it to like I'm going to get ones from Costco or I'm going to see if I can get secondhand ones which are obviously cheaper but hearing aids are not one size fits all and they're very customized to the individual and because there's also different degrees of hearing loss, there's different degrees of hearing aids and loudness and amplification.

So it's like based on your economic status you might have and also the last powerful hearing age obviously cost less. So it's like you might need something stronger but you can't afford it to, you have to get something weaker and you're still spending a lot of money but it's not gonna work perfectly for you. So some people said well oh it's not going to give me like better hearing, I'm just not going to bother, you know Man. And did you say that was nine grand before or after insurance? Um before? So like insurance always covers it for me. I've never had to pay for hearing aids at all. Sometimes we've had to pay for like a remote and batteries, which it's like 100 bucks but it's, it's really not like that much but they're expensive and then also yeah and like they break down and you need to get repairs sometimes that costs money. So it's just people are being put at a disadvantage because they don't know where this and how does it work with sweat.

Um and imagine living in florida and being human sweating all over my hearing aids and then they're like up three more years like what the yes, I had waterproof pyongyang into a little bit but they would die after like 30 minutes because once water gets in the battery compartment, they die anyways to, was it not waterproof at all? Yeah, I have the little holes that you need to hear. Like asterix I have water resistant to like if I'm sweating, it'll be fine. Um, but like if I was playing outdoors in the rain or something, they would die to my whole life. It's kind of been like avoid water as much as you can. You don't break them or anything like that. Right? But we know that deaf and hard of hearing swimmers exist. Water polo athletes, swimmers just like, um, so you just got to take them off and move on without them.

But there are queues and whistles as well too when you're in the water. Yeah, I mean, it definitely hadn't done like the person's degree of hearing loss to extend. People have some message walking so they can hear a little bit, so they can probably hear that whistle or something with me. I can't. So I've never had any interest with water sports or anything like that because it's just like I want to be able to participate like everyone else and you can make accommodations, but there's only so many accommodations that can be met beyond like the actual limit of disability, you know? Damn kind of why I chose soccer. Like I got my hand. Yeah. And well, I mean, no, that's a big deal, right? Because there's, there's tons of uh, jobs out there are a ton of jobs out there too that we have to consider like I always wanted to be a surgeon can't be a surgeon. I played baseball a lot growing up, but I didn't feel as though I could be as competitive.

Obviously that's wrong. That's false. Um, but you don't know you it's, it's like you go into life with so much fear and anxiety that you will fail at some of these things. And it's all it takes is just a little more accommodation industries. It just sucks because everyday, everyday, regular stuff. You're already exhausted. So it's like, alright, do I want to do this thing and be more exhausted? Maybe have some fun or maybe I'll just skip it because I'm tired. It's like something actually always have to think about. Yeah. Or be the first one right? Like being the first one is tiring but itself to then you get to be like spokesperson for the disabled. Like that's annoying to the disabled, disabled. Oh man, you were sharing everything. I've Katie, We learned a lot. I didn't, I don't know anything about hearing aids. So all of that was totally new for me. Um, is there anything else that you wanted to share with listeners whether they are deaf or hearing or anything?

Women are not? I don't know. Um, just like how to accommodate for the deaf and hard of hearing and kind of talk a little bit about the importance of close captioning. Um, because closed captioning has for so long been seen as optional and you can do it if you want to, but it's, it's a necessity and you need to start incorporating close captioning into your content. It helps the deaf and hard of hearing. But also if you're watching a video, it helps people who, I can't watch it with town because they might be in public. It can help, I don't know moms with babies who don't want to wake the babies up. Um, it can help your search under an optimization because they're going to pull those keywords from your close captioning um, helped so many more people and people without who's like the language that you're speaking and isn't their first language like it helps so many more people beyond what you might think. And so it's so, so, so important to start close caption in your content.

And I know that instagram is starting to allow a closed captioning feature for its stories. I think Tiktok is also doing that. I know you can type your own captions on Youtube. There's a lot of options to be able to do it and it's so, so important. Yeah. And definitely somebody that is not deaf or hard of hearing. Like I need, I need captions and subtitles, like I can't just watch you talk to me like it doesn't know. Yeah. Like I'm going to read everything you say before you finish saying it and that's the way my brain works. So I definitely appreciate that point like yeah, yeah. It's just, it's so important to do what and and also as a person without hearing loss to recognize separate words that you have of being able to access things captioning and that you need to do your part, that everyone can access. It definitely agree. Thank you again, Katie for hopping on and bearing with us as we try to figure out how we can talk to you.

Of course snoop for us. And it was not that hard. Do it again. Not hard at all. You just held their hands all we need. That's all we needed. I said hand mary Beth did you catch that? You did say hand. I got you this time. Alright, disabled girls out.

E47: Babes with Hearing Aids (Katie Norton)
E47: Babes with Hearing Aids (Katie Norton)
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