The seventh biennial Deaf Lesbian Festival is coming to the Midwest for the first time, featuring workshops, entertainment, socializing, sightseeing and more.
The four-day DLF is July 18-21 at the Center on Halsted in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.
"The Deaf Lesbian Festival is a celebration of who we are," said Debby Sampson, DLF 2012 committee chairperson, who lives in suburban Glenview.
The DLF was last held two years ago in New York and four years ago in San Franciscowhich is when Chicago was awarded the rights to host the 2012 event.
DLF will feature entertainment elements, an auction, a keynote speaker and more.
More than 100 are expected to attend, mainly from the United States; however, other countries such as Australia, Germany and Scotland will be represented, among others.
"We're very excited for the event," said Sampson, 50, who is deaf and works as an instructional specialist at Harper Community College and a certified deaf interpreter. "DLF is an event of learning, discovering, celebration and fun for deaf lesbian women of all ages.
"What I have enjoyed most at past [DLF] events was just socializing with other deaf lesbians, people just like me. It's very empowering to know that I'm not alone. We have a lot of similarities, shared experiences; we can really be open. It's a nice feeling that we can share the same experiences.
"The workshops are very empowering."
On the last night of the convention, there will be a Dyke Ball (open to the public) and keynote speaker Dr. Eileen Forestal from New York.
Sampson said the event's non-profit fiscal sponsor is the Windy City Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (WCRAD).