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Surdophobia is the hostility, intolerance or fear against Deaf people, Deaf culture and the Deaf community. That includes resistance towards the sign languages used. It can consist of a range of negative attitudes towards Deafhood, the idea of deafpositive and Deaf rights. Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear. Surdophobia is observable in critical and hostile behaviour such as discrimination and violence on the basis of a perceived non-deaf behaviours.
Surdophobia as a term was coined by Gardy van Gils, a social worker based in the Netherlands (she works now in Hogeschool Utrecht as a Deaf Studies lecturer). While audism is more a specific condition with complicated definitions, surdophobia is a condition that will trigger a state of fear, known or unknown, in the person. It is also used to describe a condition of fear towards deaf people and their culture. Van Gils has observed "fear that hearing workers have of deaf professionals", maintaining that "a fear mechanism" is provoked in some hearing people when they must collaborate with deaf people on an equal footing: "Maybe it is the fear of having to render account to those you consider to be inferior."
Since Gardy van Gils coined the term, it has been used by researcher and Deaf activist Paddy Ladd—as well as the related neologism, "surdophilic"—in Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, a 2003 analysis of Deaf culture and its history in broader Western culture.