RIT/NTID Diversity Spotlight
[ID: RIT National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Pride Month Spotlight. Background is a gradient of blue and purple. A vector art of a brown arm holding a pride flag is visible on the far bottom right. Pictured in a purple circle is Anthony Bizzarro, a man with short black hair. Behind the photo of Anthony is a vector of rainbow colors. "PRIDE means visibly being your most authentic self. PRIDE is me being the person I wanted to be." - Anthony Bizzarro '16. Freelance ASL Interpreter. Self-Employed. ASL - English Interpretation, BS."]
Anthony Bizzarro ’16
Freelance ASL Interpreter
Anthony graduated with a BS degree in ASL - English Interpretation (ASLIE) in 2016 from RIT/NTID and is currently enrolled in NTID's Health Care Interpretation MS program.
Share a brief background of who you are.
I’m 27 years old, and my pronouns are he/him/his. I’m originally from Long Island, but have been in Rochester since 2012. I identity as a gay man, and a drag queen!
What does Pride mean to you and what is your favorite event during pride month?
To me, PRIDE means visibly being your most authentic self. PRIDE is me being the person I wanted to be when I was still in the closet.
What are some ways the world can make Pride celebrations more inclusive and diverse?
PRIDE celebrations could be more diverse by partnering with local queer organizations that provide services to underprivileged communities. They can also be more inclusive by making sure entrances have paths for wheelchairs, stages and interpreters are visible, and that organizers are thinking about ALL of our community members.
Name someone who inspires you and why?
Someone who inspires me is ASLIE professor Danny Maffia. When I got to NTID, I was freshly out as a gay man and didn’t know where I fit in this world. I grew up assuming that I would marry a woman and have a traditional family, and once I came to terms with my true identity, all those future plans got thrown out the window and I felt lost. I had Danny as a professor during my first semester. I saw him thriving as a gay man with a husband, who later adopted two children and that’s when I realized that I can be my full authentic self and still have the dreams I grew up having!
What sense of community did RIT/NTID offer you while you were a student? How were you involved in fostering that community?
At NTID I was part of the queer club called SPECTRUM. This community taught me the language I needed in order to talk about being a queer person and helped me to understand all the intersectionalities that make up our community. Also, NTID overall made me feel included in the Deaf community as a hearing ASL learner. If it wasn’t for my time at NTID, I would not be the person and the interpreter I am today.
What accomplishments are you most proud of as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
The biggest accomplishment that I am proud of as a part of the larger queer community, has been being part of the Rochester Pride Parade and festival. Being a drag queen in a small town like Rochester fulfills my childhood dream of being a famous rockstar because I now know people from all areas of the city and have a hard time going to places like Wegmans without seeing a familiar face!
What’s one quote that keeps you going?
“To thine own self be true." This is a Shakespeare quote from Hamlet. I have it tattooed on my foot as a daily reminder to always be true to myself no matter what. If I can’t love myself and portray myself authentically in this world, how can I expect anyone else to do so? Being a role model is an extremely important quality to have as part of a marginalized community because I want the next generation to feel more comfortable while they're young. The only way to show them that it’s OK to be who they are is by showing them my authentic self.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
A fun fact about me is that I am covered, neck-to-toe in tattoos. You’d never be able to tell during my day job, but catch me at a drag show at ROAR (621 Culver Road) and you’ll be able to see all my beautiful ink!