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.