How Did The Deaf Community React To Abigail Heringer?

Abigail Heringer/YouTube

Abigail Heringer will go down in the history of The Bachelor franchise. She was the first D/deaf contestant to compete on the ABC dating show. While she didn’t find love with Matt James, millions of TV viewers fell in love with her. So much so that she is among the top choices for Season 17 of The Bachelorette.

But leaning into her disability wasn’t easy for the Oregon native. She wasn’t sure how the Deaf community would respond. In the upcoming Women Tell All special, she opens up about her experience. 

ABC released a different teaser clip of the special.

Abigail Heringer Opens Up About ‘Grey Space’ Between Hearing & Deaf Worlds

The 25-year-old Bachelor contestant was born deaf, but she grew up in a hearing world. As a toddler, she had surgery to implant a cochlear implant. While the implants work differently for everyone, Abigail Heringer is one of the success stories. 

Though she told Matt James that she relies on lip-reading, she had no trouble communicating on the show. However, as much as she’s accepted by the hearing world, she will never truly belong. Nor will she belong to the Deaf community. 

The Deaf community is notoriously judgmental about who they accept into the fold. During her appearance on the Women Tell All, she admits to being “scared” about this. Abigail doesn’t know sign language and communicates verbally. Those two things can be looked on harshly by nonverbal Deaf people who use ASL as their only language.  

In a preview clip shared by People, Abigail opens up about her fears. She describes it as a “grey space” between the hearing and Deaf worlds. 

Credit: Abigail Heringer/Instagram
Credit: Abigail Heringer/Instagram

‘Incredible’ Response

Just as Matt James felt immense pressure as the first Black Bachelor, Abigail had a lot riding on her shoulders. She had “no idea” how viewers – especially Deaf viewers – would react to her representing the Deaf community. 

However, it seems that her fears were unfounded. On the Women Tell All special, she describes it as “incredible” to host Chris Harrison. The WTA episode was filmed earlier this month, shortly before the scandal involving Chris Harrison erupted. 

While Abigail Heringer felt alone in her “grey area,” a lot of viewers could relate. In the clip, she reveals that she gets many messages of support. Some people have a “similar” story of growing up torn between the hearing world and the Deaf world. 

According to Abigail, the response from the Deaf community has been “incredible.” 

Head over to the People website to watch the video clip.

Fans will have to tune in to the Women Tell All special to see what else Abigail says about her experience on the show. The episode airs on ABC on Monday, March 1. Then Matt James’ journey to love on The Bachelor resume the following week.  

Jennifer Havener
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