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Motivational Lecture

2025 Conference Registration is now open!


Rainbow Alliance, conceived by Roy Parker in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, aimed to bring together LGBTQ+ individuals nationwide. Initially called the National Rainbow Society of the Deaf (NRSD), it later became the Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD). Co-founders included Roy Parker, Michael Hagerty, Richard Hill, Guy Wonder, Herbert Fradin, Edward Schwartz, James Dunne, and Richard Thrash.

Established as a nonprofit on April 30, 1977, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the first convention took place at the Oceanside Holiday Inn, hosted by the Coconut City Society of the Deaf (CCSD). Herb Fradin became the first President, Mike Hagerty the first Vice President, and Edward Schwartz the first Secretary/Treasurer.

Initially, there were 4 chapters represented by 4 delegates:

  1. Empire Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (ERAD) [Ed Schwartz and Guy Wonder]

  2. Windy City Rainbow Society of the Deaf (WCRSD) [Jim Dunne and Richard Thrash]

  3. Sir II [Mike Hagerty and Dick Hill]

  4. Coconut City Society of the Deaf (CCSD) [Herbert Fradin and Roy Parker]

The convention was planned to rotate annually between different locations. In 1982, NRSD changed its name to Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD) to include Canadian members. The annual convention ended in 1985, transitioning to a biennial format starting in 1987 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

In 1991, the terminology shifted from "convention" to "conference" to facilitate grants and donations. The Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf's purpose is to support the educational, economic, and social welfare of Deaf LGBTQ+ individuals, fostering fellowship, defending rights, and advocating for social justice. Numerous Deaf LGBTQ+ organizations exist in the United States and Canada.

For immediate mental health support, please call 24/7 hotline at DeafLead

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