Saturday, 27 February 2021
ATR (who didn't endorse a welsh BSL Bill proposal as it stands because it lacked inclusion), and challenged the proposer, gets responses. (I hope deaf.read allows this, as they have already blocked two attempts.)
What ATR wrote to the proposer:
#1 There are some laws protecting the rights of groups, eg pregnant women, race, etc. This bill is so important for Deaf people whose first/preferred language is BSL. The ripple effect WILL help other deaf people who don't use BSL. Be supportive to others, thank you.
#2 Here lies the issue, to include or not others. 'First'? or 'Preferred'? they are not the same thing. It is far simpler and more effective if (when BSL people run a campaign), they work with us all, not least because the more of us, the more they have to listen. If we don't speak for ourselves and allow others to do it, they will just ask for what they want. Do I support 300,000 hard of hearing here? or 1500 deaf? 60% who only use BSL part-time? Why must I choose who gets equality and parity?
The basis of the bill is aimed at the deaf child, this is the pat and stat approach of BSL activism to undermine objection by you having to challenge the deaf child, and their support areas, it's grossly unfair but very effective. Deaf adults rarely front up themselves or if they do, do that from 'cover' of their community, so again challenge one, challenge all. It is why hardly any HoH do but pay lip-service to it.
The bill as it stands if passed (It won't because its election time anyway), can be used for deaf adults too. We need to approach access collectively not piecemeal because this creates holes we can all fall through. Not least the deaf who don't choose to use BSL. At the root of the BSL Bill is no mention of their own inclusion, only their sign rights. That must concern the deaf who are campaigning for it? Please don't assume my concern is negative or an attack, that is a Deaf smokescreen, to fend off debate. They fear any debate on inclusion. At some point, they have to emerge from their area to get political support and currently that is the sole way we have of raising issues or engaging with them. Debate is healthy, democratic, and a consensus is the right thing to do, singular approaches aren't. Let's move forward together.
#3 I have been partially deaf since the age of three. I have never used sign language; I feel that rather than SL being pushed as an "alternative" language , a better option would be to concentrate on the use of technology and devices such as Google Live Transcribe to generate subtitles to enable all parties to access the content. I remember going to groups listed as "hard of hearing" years ago and finding they had been taken over by deaf people using sign language. I felt excluded. As a hearing person, I met then said to me "You're not like them you're too deaf for the hearing world and not deaf enough for the deaf world...."
#4 Well the 'Deaf' versus everyone else has long been the approach of some. You sign, or sit in some corner etc of course excluding signers from HoH clubs leaves you open to discrimination but they can exclude you by the simple act of only using BSL. 9 times out of 10 you just have to leave or adopt the sign yourself. It isn't equality in action is it? Who is making effort? it isn't them is it?
#5 If it isn't CI's hearing aids or oral approaches it is hearing who they blame, I tend to marginalise such areas and people as irrelevant and divisive. There is no place for it, or them. I've been deaf longer than these activists have been alive there is little they can tell me about it. Or about sign effectiveness. A preference isn't a need but this escapes most, we might all 'prefer' to be/do something else but ability and realism determine. We use whatever because we know being dogmatic only makes it worse, I don't want to be a martyr for its own sake.
#6 I think they are on a high a present and don't feel any need to include others. You are either an idealist or an abuser of deaf rights via challenge you cannot win. I can only applaud those trying.
#7 Yes it is a brave person these days who challenges a minority for sure, but, when its decisions affect others I don't think you have a choice. They are so protective and touchy and others leap to their defence without though sadly. Victims they aren't. I should have half what they have already.
Note: Comments are gathered from more than one social media UK site. The idea to get wider views on this issue than just the BSL one.
Thursday, 25 February 2021
ATR responds to recent claims on a Limping Chicken site with a headline 'Deaf News: British Sign Language Bill proposal passes in Welsh Parliament.' It isn't a parliament it is a Senedd and the poster is English. The headline did not reflect what happened or, the nature of it.
Mark Isherwood states: Today’s vote was on my Member's Legislative Proposal to ‘Note a proposal for a Bill’.
A note on a note effectively. ATR is welsh. A BSL Bill has NOT Happened, has NOT been approved, the Senedd in Wales has accepted a Senedd Member 'proposal' nothing more. No vote has been taken on a BSL Bill. Mr Isherwood who offered up the request, has since posted to ATR saying no BSL Bill will be enacted without a much wider consultation of all with hearing loss in Wales, it won't rely only on deaf charities or the deaf clubs e.g. Primarily on the ground, less than 5% of deaf were consulted themselves.
ATR voiced concern at 'back door' campaigns by some deaf activists to circumvent proper consultation by suggesting some representation that didn't have validity. None of them had devolved either. ATR also decries charities for not explaining need, background, awareness or support or the fact they had no valid numerical membership to suggest their representation. Nothing for us without us. English BDA areas were interfering in campaigns here by remote, and Newcastle was one area identified.
Currently, ATR in Wales is NOT supporting a BSL Bill on the grounds it is exclusively based and not inclusive of other deaf or those with hearing loss in Wales. You cannot allow a few dozen BSL signers to control the access of 300,000 others. Their 'all deaf sign' campaigns have already created many support issues.
An endorsement would mean prioritising one hearing loss sector against another, a violation of access and inclusion as well as equality law. There were some statements sent in response to ATR by Mark Isherwood on charitable support and claims that hadn't been substantiated, including one from the RNID and another from the NDCS (Who has yet to endorse a BSL Bill in England and did not back a BSL curriculum request because it suggested parents could be overruled by people unconnected to the state or their children), the elusive deaf activists.
Scotland and N Ireland may well be happy having a token acceptance/talk shop there, but in Wales (and we hope England), inclusion is the main point of equality and an access Bill, not minority 'preference' and 'choice' that aren't based on primary need. A silent majority is NOT a silent assent, as BSL activism is going to find out, Welsh and English hard of hearing are incensed these bills exclude or ignore their access and support needs. The current adverts and mantras say 'we are all in this together' clearly BSL users aren't subscribing to that.
Piecemeal access for the loudest voice is undemocratic and undermines rights for others. The Welsh Senedd runs the risk of violating equality laws by endorsing a BSL Bill as it stands. We have to put this 'culture' clout in its proper perspective. Considering deaf activism campaigns go against Welsh and English why endorse that? If it is illegal for hearing then it is illegal for the deaf too. You cannot have equality for some and not others or determine who is deaf or Deaf or isn't, via what means they use to communicate, db loss they have, social life they lead, or school they went to, be it via BSL or any other means. especially and given wales hasn't a deaf school.
We oppose any privileges. Deaf activism needs to look up what inclusion means, they appear to have no grasp of it at present or prefer to ignore it for their own version. Too many areas are exploiting the pandemic to sneak through legislation that damages and discriminates against others. It has to stop.
[Facetime/skype et al take note!].
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To help free account holders who require Live Transcription, starting today and up until the feature’s broader release, we will also be offering automatic closed captioning to meeting hosts who need accommodation upon request. To sign up, please enter your information in this form. You will receive a confirmation email with more details. Since we expect a high volume of requests, we appreciate your patience as we work to make automatic closed captioning available for all of our users.
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Could the real answer just be awareness doesn't work? Another post that highlights sign language promotion is causing awareness distortion and disinformation whilst creating very real issues of access and inclusion for other deaf people too, by refusing to clarify need or identify deaf people. Requests to remove face masks are actually illegal on health grounds, it isn't a deliberate attempt to discriminate against deaf people but to protect them from infection.
Hearing have rights too, we cannot demand their mask removal they have a right to refuse. It would save time and angst if the deaf took a spare clear mask with them, obviously, this is an issue currently because only 2 manufacturers make a clear mask that meets medical criteria, but they are available, obviously commercial clear masks are NOT acceptable as they don't meet strict criteria. Idiots who just annoy are par for the course, find one with a brain. Planning ahead saves a lot of time if you leave the home hoping others will be aware and comply that is a basic error, always assume, they WON'T!
A conversation with Asha Hylton. Paediatric ICU Nurse and Deaf Advocate.
How has this condition changed - for better or worse - since the start of the pandemic?
I rely on lipreading so the face masks cover the whole of the faces, so I can’t see the facial expressions, I can’t see their lip pattern. And even if you do explain it to people they are not patient with you they just get really agitated with you, and get quite annoyed.
Why do you think accessibility is not where it should be and what’s missing from the conversation?
With deafness, a lot of people assume that deaf people have the same needs. They think oh you’re deaf so we’ll just provide a BSL interpreter, that’s it. That’s not the case. Every deaf person has their own individual needs, which could be like lipreading, interpreters, notetakers, or, lip speaker.
We are all so unique. No deaf person is the same. So I think that’s what people are not aware about. What do you think can, and will improve the accessibility of products and services online? Just having all the access that are readily available. Where do you think the UK should make improvements first?
When I get the train or the tube. Like, I hate getting the train or the public transport because, sometimes there’s delays, cancellations And I see like a group of people running somewhere and I’m like “Where am I going?” Because they’ve made the announcement that there’s a platform change or the trains are being split up.
When would you say the world is accessible? Probably when people are listening, but do people listen? Not all the time.
Google states that its new project allows smartphones to interpret and “read aloud” sign language. There’s no app, but there are algorithms developers can use to make their own apps.
Until now, this type of software has only worked on PCs, so it’s a huge and important step. The hearing-impaired community appreciated the project, but also noted that the tech might have problems fully translating some conversations. In an AI blog, Google research engineers Valentin Bazarevsky and Fan Zhang state that the project will be “the basis for sign language understanding”. It was developed in partnership with image software company MediaPipe.
“We’re excited to see what people come up with. For our part, we will continue our research to make the technology more robust and to stabilize tracking, increasing the number of gestures we can reliably detect,” a spokeswoman told the BBC. This is only the first step as the approach now misses any facial expressions or speed of signing and these, changing the meaning of what is being discussed.
You can learn more here.
Monday, 22 February 2021
Sunday, 21 February 2021