Many would think of biodiversity merely in the context of environment, ecology, or nature. Species thrive because of diversity, and that includes human beings. However, this article treks an unusual terrain of biodiversity. The damage we made towards nature bespeaks the harm we likewise do against the vulnerable ‘other’in society, in particular the Deaf people. The people who are Deaf discussed in this article are the ones who identify themselves as entho-linguistic cultural minority. In addition, they do not consider deafness to be a deficit; rather, some of them view their condition as different, or to some is diversity. Contextually, this writer presents an alternate way to afford respect with humility by employing a moral Filipino value of pakikipagkapwa (shared inner-self).

In a society that seems to remain numb to the groaning of our kapwa (the Other or fellow-being), this article challenges us to reconsider if we truly care for the non-human and the Deaf, who remains the vulnerable ‘other’ today.

About the Author

Kristine C. Meneses is a Deaf and Disability advocate. She shares the perspective of her Deaf community on seeing Deaf and Disability as human diversity. This stance is evident in my published articles that raise awareness about the Deaf, Disabled and Queer. She earned her degree of Ph.D. in Theology at the St. Vincent School of Theology and presently an Asst. Professor at the University of Santo Tomas (both institutes are in the Philippines). She is currently the Coordinator of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA) and holds a membership in the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines (CBAP). She was an alumna at the Bat Kol Institute, Jerusalem, Israel, Summer 2016 and was a research fellow at the DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA, Summer 2015. Her field of interests are Biblical Theology and Theological Ethics concentrating on Deaf-Disability and Queer (not limited to gender) perspective and orientation, and Post-structuralism. For a decade now, she continually ministers as a volunteer Sign Language interpreter for Deaf people. Her latest publications are: “Creatively Claiming Her Space for the ‘Other’: A Socio-Rhetorical Analysis and Poststructuralist Hermeneutics of Matthew 5.39-41” in The 21st Century Women Still Claiming Her Space: Asian Feminist Theological Perspectives (Delhi: Media House, 2018) and “Silent and Silenced: Deaf Theology and Spirituality,” in God’s Image Vol. 36, No. 1 (June 2017).