Australia mourns the passing today of Stan Batson, a volunteer and community leader who gave more than 60 years of conspicuous service to the Deaf community and the hard of hearing sector at large.
Mr Batson was born profoundly deaf. He recalled that in his formative years, Deaf culture and history were not talked about.
“Sign languages were not widely recognised as proper languages with their own grammar and syntax. We weren’t supposed to sign at school. Sometimes, we were slapped when we signed”, Mr Batson had recalled.
“Later, I thought Where are my rights to use my language? I want to instill pride in Deaf culture.”
Kyle Miers, chief executive of Deaf Australia said “It’s very sad to hear of Stan’s passing. His advocacy for Auslan and the history of the Deaf community should be celebrated.”
Mr Batson held leadership roles in various organisations serving the deafness community, both in his home state of Victoria and in a national setting.
He was the first Deaf and Auslan-user chair of Deafness Forum of Australia.
The current chair of Deafness Forum David Brady said he was a symbol for the volunteer spirit.
“Stan was a great supporter and always encouraged me and others to make a difference”, David Brady said.
Alex Jones, a past chair of Deafness Forum remembers him as “an incredible and funny guy. He has been a great ally to the Forum and the community. It saddens us to lose such a good value person. Vale Stan Batson.”
Stan Batson’s motto was “To your own self you must be true. Be who you are and be proud of it.”
Deafness Forum of Australia and Deaf Australia are members of Disability Australia, a consortium of national organisations which represents 200,000 people with disability across the country.