History of NRSD - RAD ​


The Rainbow Alliance began as a vision of Roy Parker, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He wanted gays and lesbians from all over America to gather as new and old friends to become acquainted. He called a group of deaf friends together to establish an organization first known as National Rainbow Society of the Deaf (NRSD) which was later changed to Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD).
Co-founders were:
                   Roy Parker
                   Dick Hill

                   Michael Hagerty

                   Guy Wonder (deceased)
                   Herbert Fradin (deceased)
                   Edward Schwartz (deceased)
                   James Dunne (deceased)
                   Richard Thrash (deceased)


NRSD was born April 30, 1977 as a nonprofit organization in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The first convention was held at Oceanside Holiday Inn (now demolished and replaced by parking lots) and hosted by Coconut City Society of the Deaf (CCSD) (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami). There were 80 people (and one drag queen) in attendance. Herb Fradin became the first President, Mike Hagerty, the first Vice President, and Edward Schwartz, the first Secretary/Treasurer. Coconut City Society of the Deaf presented the bible and pen to used at every oath of our new officers.


At the beginning we had 4 chapters and 4 delegates and 4 alternate delegates. They represented:

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

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

                          (Chicago,  Illinois)


3.  Sir II
        [ Mike Hagerty and Dick Hill ]
                      (Detroit, Michigan)

4. Coconut city Society of the Deaf (CCSD)
           [ Herbert Fradin and Roy Parker ]
             (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami , Florida)


The convention was to be held annually in different places. It was decided that the second convention would be held in New York City with Empire Rainbow Alliance of the deaf as host in April 1978 and to be followed by Cleveland, Ohio in September 1979. The rest is history. In 1982, it was decided to change the name from NRSD to Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD) to include our Canadian brothers and sisters. It was also decided that the 1985 Convention in Washington, DC would be the last annual convention.


In 1987 we began our biennial convention in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on RAD’s Anniversary. In 1991 it was decided that we would change the wording convention to conference so that we would be eligible to receive grants and donations. ​


The purpose of this alliance is to establish and maintain a society of Deaf Gays and Lesbians to encourage and promote the educational, economical, and social welfare; to foster fellowship; to defend our rights; and advocate our interests as Deaf Gay and Lesbian citizens concerning social justice; to build up an organization in which all worthy members may participate in the discussion of practical problems and solutions related to their social welfare. There are several Deaf LGBT organizations in the United States and Canada.



Dick Hill

19?? - 



Guy Wonder

1945 - 2020



Roy Parker

19?? - 



Herbert Fradin

1929 - 2010


James Dunne

1929 - 2016

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