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[deafqueer chat history]

A Brief History of Chat Services at DQRC

The national Deaf Queer Resource Center (DQRC) has been providing chat services to the Deaf Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer and Questioning communities since 1995. Back in 1995 our very first chatroom was called Channel #deafqueer and resided on IRC Efnet.

In 1997, Channel #deafqueer moved to TalkCity where it was moderated on Monday nights by a group of faithful DQRC volunteers. By 1998, the chatroom had grown in popularity and was drawing between 30 and 70 Deaf Queer people from all over the world on a nightly basis. It was not uncommon to occassionally find over 100 people chatting in Channel #deafqueer. Many new friendships were formed and the chat Channel served as a safe place for Deaf people still in the closet to obtain peer support anonymously.

One ongoing issue with Channel #deafqueer was that it required IRC software. This prohibited the less tech-savvy from participating. In order to allow for more participation from the community, DQRC volunteers spent many hours providing tech support and teaching people how to use IRC software and IRC commands. This became very time consuming and in late 1999, DQRC made a decision to cease offering tech support for the chatroom and focus its time instead on responding to the growing amount of email it was receiving for peer support, information and referrals. As a result, without ongoing technical support, Channel #deafqueer eventually ceased to exist.

After repeated requests from the community, DQRC began exploring the possibility of adding a non-IRC chatroom to its site at www.deafqueer.org to fill the void left by Channel #deafqueer. One important criteria for the chatroom was that the chatroom not require any special software downloads. This in turn would mean less need from the community for technical assistance. The chatroom could run on its own. DQRC also wanted to offer a chatroom that was easy to use (no need to memorize specific commands) and more graphical in nature (as opposed to entirely text-based as was the case with IRC).

After much research, in early 2002, DQRC discovered some software that fit the bill. The chatroom software was Java-based and worked on all platforms. Unfortunately, it would be a year later before DQRC could actually afford to purchase the very expensive software.

On July 20th, 2003 at 11 AM Pacific Standard Time, DQRC re-launched its popular chatroom as DeafQueer Chat at http://chat.deafqueer.org. The chatroom continues to grow in popularity and gives Deaf LGBTIQQ people from around the world a place to network, meet new friends, get peer support and feel empowered.







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