About DRF Foundation
In 2014, after Taniel Stamatovic Wood came out as a Transgender in Austin, Texas, he realized there were a number of Deaf LGBTQ who had gone through what he went though. Before that, he was very active in Deaf ministry in churches that were not open and affirming, so those places could not support him in his personal journey.
He searched for appropriate support online, but the few excellent sources were not fully accessible and culturally appropriate for Deaf LGBTQ.
To him, it was like if Deaf LGBTQ who had Christian background, were all scattered and all alone in different places. He felt it was important to gather those people together, but how?
One of the resources Taniel found on the Internet, that affirmed both identities - gay and Christian, was the Gay Christian Network (GCN), which eventually became the Q Christian Fellowship. It provided much excellent resources and became a role model for Taniel to apply to Deaf people, which led to the Deaf Rainbow of Faith.
He met up with local Deaf LGBTQ who had Christian backgrounds in local cafés. It was an amazing experience to gather together for authentic support in their own language, American Sign Language. They shared stories of being rejected or condemned by churches, families and/or friends, which had caused them to question God and the Bible. However, after a couple of meetings, and sharing interpretations of affirming resources, they were awed by the hope through God and how God had restored our faith!
Taniel moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015. Before that, he and Michele Malcolm got in touch through videophone and exchanged their journeys as Christian members of LGBTQ communities. Michele grew up as a Baptist and came out as a Lesbian in 1987, and as others did, experienced exclusion from church, family, and friends. Her hope and faith in Christ was renewed after the conversations with Taniel. With Taniel in the Bay Area, and the help from Michele, the idea of an organization started again with different Deaf people who were LGBTQ or allies from that area. They gathered on Sundays in cafes or restaurants, studied the Bible, and shared spiritual and personal journeys as Deaf LGBTQ of faith. Once again, Taniel saw how this inspired joy, awakening and love among the people who participated.
The group decided to share this positive experience with others around the country and formalize the gathering into an organization to provide support and resources to other Deaf people about living in faith, being LGBTQ and celebrating our Deaf selves with authenticity.
In February of 2017, Deaf Rainbow of Faith was officially founded as a non-profit organization with a 501(c)(3) status with the goal of being more effective in providing the resources and support that are unique to Deaf people. DRF looks forward to future collaborations with the Q Christian Fellowship and becoming a national organization for Deaf LGBTQ Christians.