May 27, 2011

Art: LIS Not Mime!

Artwork by Ramon Woolfe, in support of LIS and the Italian Deaf Community:

LIS not mime!

If you want to see a bigger version of the above, go here.

Want to create some art? Please do, and lets show the Italians we support them. I will put it here, with full credit.

July 15, 2009

Dr. Ádám Kósa addresses the EU Parliament

This morning at 09:39:44 (GMT +2) was a historic moment, Dr. Ádám Kósa addressed the EU Parliament in sign language. Here's some footage, which I uploaded to Vimeo to make viewing easier (2 minutes and 37 seconds):

You have to love the smirk on Ádám's face at the end - fabulous!

You can also find the videos on the EU Parliament website, Windows Media Player and Quicktime. The text has not been published by the EU Paliament yet.

However, this is what the EU parliament press release had to say:

For the EPP, newly-elected MEP Ádám KÓSA (HU) said he was deeply moved that as the assembly's first deaf member, he was able to use sign language. Belonging to the EU means that minority language users and people with disabilities can nonetheless achieve results, he said. Only two weeks previously, the Slovak Parliament had passed laws restricting the use of minority languages, he added, urging Europe to guarantee full rights and opportunities for minorities and people with disabilities.

As a bonus, here's a previous video of Adam (in spoken Hungarian plus some Hungarian Sign Language):

MEP Profile: Ádám KÓSA
EU Parliament Press Release
German MEP slams Slovak language law
EP member says Slovakia’s new Language Act is discriminatory

See also:
Dr. Adam Kosa: First Deaf Member of the European Parliament (MEP)
European Parliament Elections: Dr. Adam Kosa

July 12, 2009

Helene Jarmer: Sign Language in the Parliament of Austria

Here's a video of Helene Jarmer using sign language in the Republik Österreich Parament (Parliament of Austria):

Cool! Now where's sign language being used in the national parliament of your country?

Das österreichische Parlament

See also:
Helene Jarmer, Deaf Person to Sit in the Parliament of Austria

July 7, 2009

Trafalgar Square Plinth for Occupation: Get BSL Up There

One of the plinths in Trafalgar Square is basically up for occupation in the name of art. In other words, someone stands on the plinth for one hour as a 'living statute'. The project describes itself as:

This summer, sculptor Antony Gormley invites you to help create an astonishing living monument. He is asking the people of the UK to occupy the empty Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London, a space normally reserved for statues of Kings and Generals. They will become an image of themselves, and a representation of the whole of humanity.

Every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days without a break, a different person will make the Plinth their own. If you're selected, you can use your time on the plinth as you like. One & Other is open to anyone and everyone from any corner of the UK. As long as you're 16 or over and are living or staying in the UK, you can apply to be part of this unforgettable artistic experiment.

You can play your part in making this idea a reality - either by volunteering yourself, by telling others about it, or by experiencing it online or in the square itself.

You can see live footage here, which begs the question how come the BDA or similar is not encouraging deaf people to apply? One hour to advertise BSL. Use BSL. Be political about BSL. Dress up as a hand. I don't know, I'm not an artist.

The number of applicants exceeds places, so the more people who applied - with the aim of promoting BSL - the more collective chance deaf people have.

Well, what are you waiting for .....

One and Other
BBC: Empty plinth volunteers step up
BBC: The view from the Fourth Plinth

June 30, 2009

At Glastonbury: a dig at RNID Don't Lose the Music

Last weekend was Glastonbury, which means photos start popping up on Facebook. At the festival there was a DeafZone Tent, and this is one of the many photos snapped:


I have to admit I totally howled out laughing; a nice bit of activism with humour. An obvious dig at the RNID and their ear plugs / Don't Lose The Music campaign.

Photo credit: Maartje De Meulder

June 7, 2009

Dr. Adam Kosa: First Deaf Member of the European Parliament (MEP)

adam%20kosa.jpgDeaf lawyer, Dr. Ádám Kósa has won a seat at the European Parliament! Here's the result (its in Hungarian).

He represents FIDESZ (here's the Wikipedia page in English on FIDESZ (Hungarian Civic Union)).

All I am capable of saying: bloody fantastic news, history has been made! Way to go, Ádám, congratulations! :)

UPDATE:: EUD has some pictures of Ádám's election victory. There is also a video on Facebook, however its in spoken Hungarian.

See also:
European Parliament Elections: Dr. Adam Kosa

Facebook: Adam Kosa for first Deaf European Parliamentarian!

March 26, 2009

Parliament: Deaf Parents Access to their Children's Education


Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset & North Poole, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

(1) what support is available from his Department to deaf parents and their families;

(2) what support is available from his Department to encourage deaf parents to participate in their children's education;

(3) what recent assessment he has made of his Department's performance against the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in respect of deaf parents and the education of their children.

Continue reading "Parliament: Deaf Parents Access to their Children's Education" »

March 25, 2009

Parliament: Number of Children who have Become Deaf

Sandra Gidley (Romsey, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children of each age under 17 years old have become deaf in each of the last 10 years.

Phil Hope (Minister of State (Care Services; Minister for the East Midlands), Department of Health; Corby, Labour)

The number and ages of deaf children in England is not collected centrally. Instead, data are collected on the number of children who are registered as deaf or hard of hearing. Inclusion on the register is voluntary and therefore, does not provide a complete picture of the number of children in England who are deaf or hard of hearing.

As at 31 March 2007, 3,400 people aged 0-17 years were registered as deaf in England (4,100 were registered as hard of hearing).

Registers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (SSDA910) are collected by the NHS Information Centre every three years, and was last collected in 2006-07. This collects the number of people registered as deaf or hard of hearing with councils with social services responsibilities (CSSR).

Comment from GOD:
Note, the numbers of registered deaf people is way off the 9 million RNID figure. Go look (link below)!

They Work For You

People Registered as Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Year Ending 31 March 2007

March 24, 2009

Deaf Brain: Auditory Regions Convert to a Sense of Touch

brain.jpgVirginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers did some research on ferrets. They discovered that deaf ferrets re-routed the sense of touch into parts of the brain usually intended for hearing.

This study is published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (March 23, 2009). The team reported a phenomenon known as cross-modal plasticity in the auditory system of adult animals.

In medical terms, cross-modal plasticity means that a damaged sensory system in the brain has been replaced by another sensory system. In this case, in the parts of the brain reserved for a sense of hearing has been replaced with touch.

“One often learns, anecdotally, that ‘grandpa’ simply turned off his hearing aid because it was confusing and no longer helped. Our study indicates that hearing deficits in adult animals result in a conversion of their brain’s sound processing centers to respond to another sensory modality, making the interpretation of residual hearing even more difficult,” said principal investigator Alex Meredith, Ph.D., a professor in the VCU Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.

Note! Hearing parts of the brain are rewired to a sense of touch! It is also said, "these findings raise the possibility that even mild hearing loss in adult humans can have serious and perhaps progressive consequences", thus if you're going to give someone auditory input they will still be at a state (in medical terms) that is more than a mild hearing loss. And thus the likelihood of a rewired brain, that dominates via touch. So next time some sadistic hearing person tries to shove a copious amount of say AVT, they might want to consider giving the deaf person a brain implant first. CIs are just not going to be enough to make us normal.

Adult deafness induces somatosensory conversion of ferret auditory cortex
Researchers Studying Hearing Loss in Adult Animals Find that Auditory Regions of the Brain Convert to the Sense of Touch

See also:
Cochlear Implants prevent 'scrambling' in deaf brains

Photo credit: Gaeten Lee

March 21, 2009

Sabina Iqbal featured in The Times: Most Powerful Muslim Women in Britain

Photo credit: Jude Edginton, The Times

The Times has a feature on the Meet the 13 Most Powerful Muslim Women in Britain. The article features Sabina Iqbal, chair and founder of Deaf Parenting UK:

Sabina Iqbal, 33, chair/founder Deaf Parenting UK

“Being Muslim and deaf makes me a unique role model for other Asian deaf women. Many Muslim people are very ignorant about deafness; it is like a taboo. But my family and my husband’s family helped me a lot. I went to a school for the deaf where the support was fine, but when I went to college it was appalling. I almost had a breakdown. But I always had to prove wrong those patronising people who thought, ‘Ah, you’re deaf, you can’t do this.’ My parents treated me and my brothers equally; they were great.

“Being Muslim is part of my identity, the same as being deaf and being a woman. What I wear is about individual choice. I don’t wear a headscarf, but I make sure that I look respectable. I don’t wear anything too revealing. You never really see deaf women in the Muslim community working their way up the ladder, so for me to say, ‘Yes, I’m deaf and I’m a Muslim,’ is very empowering.”

Congratulations to Sabina. Good to see some positive press for Deaf Muslims, and celebration of a bottom up initiative.

See also:
Muslims in a Deaf World

Muslim Women Power List 2009
Meet the 13 most powerful Muslim women in Britain
Deaf Parenting UK
Deaf Muslims
Muslim Deaf Group (UK)
Gallaudet - The Deaf Muslim Experience: Education and Islam
Deafness About: Deaf Muslims

March 12, 2009

You Neutral?

And you still claim you're not political, or not bothered?

August 21, 2008

New BDA CEO makes an appearance

As seen on Sign-tube (if you can't get the below video to work, click here), the new BDA Chief Exec took to the stage at the BDA's recent conference in Cardiff...

... it seems he has been learning BSL. As he should indeed!

We at GOD didn't make it to the conference this year - did you? Any thoughts?

See also:

New BDA CEO: Simon Wilkinson-Blake

August 18, 2008

Charlie Swinbourne: Waiting for baby

charlieswinbourne.JPGCharlie Swinbourne has penned an article for BBC Ouch around his forthcoming fatherhood.

When we passed the magic three-month mark, we decided to tell everyone the news. It was then that I noticed something interesting. As happy as my hearing friends were for us, I kept being asked the same question in response - and it wasn't whether our forthcoming arrival was a boy or a girl.

"Do you think the baby will be deaf or hearing?"

The question didn't offend me, but I can honestly say that until then I had never thought about it. I'd just been thinking, simplistically perhaps, that we were going to have a baby, and preparing myself for all the responsibilities that come with looking after a newborn.

You can read the rest on Ouch. Deaf people's suspicion of medics and their agenda aside; at a random observation Charlie's comments around he could not care less whether the baby was deaf or hearing; perhaps offers some clues on the low take up of genetic counselling services by deaf people. Medicine might like pushing an agenda, but is it really an issue? If your baby is deaf or hearing, unless you're going for an abortion route on the grounds of deafness, can you actually do anything about it? What does knowing any earlier achieve? Does it actually alter planning for parenthood in any way?

Ask the Readers:
Do you think asking the deaf/hearing question is offensive? Does it say more about hearing people's ingrained attitudes, perhaps in a negative sense? Or, could it be treated in the same way as boy/girl differentiation? In other words, deaf/hearing is such a big thing? What about deaf/hearing testing in pregnancy, what would it achieve?

March 13, 2008

Muslims in a Deaf World

There's a film on YouTube which focuses on Raza, a Deaf Muslim who asks questions about living as a Deaf Muslim in the UK.

My first language is British Sign Language but really I have three languages. First BSL, second English, and third Urdu, my family language. [snip]

I feel strongly that being a Muslim has an effect on deaf people, being based on a background which is influenced by different cultures and based on languages which are difficult to access. Another reason being that at the mosque there is no access, beacuse there are no interpreters. This means that it is difficult for deaf people to get knowledge about their faith and identity with their religion.

The film also asks questions about statutory provision for Deaf Muslims in the UK, and access to mosques.

As a person from a Welsh trilingual family, I can relate to some of the issues that arise. Congratulations on the film's production, and I hope this is the first of many films that will give scope to explores personal experience - especially where cultures and identities meet - in much more depth.

via Waving With My Deaf Hands

Deaf Muslims
Muslim Deaf Group (UK)
Gallaudet - The Deaf Muslim Experience: Education and Islam
Deafness About: Deaf Muslims

February 15, 2008

Seeking clarification...

I've just blogged a question for the organisers of the march in London on 12th April. It's on in both BSL and English - click here if you're interested.

I hope someone will answer my question soon!


February 1, 2008

Two Things To Read Today

We all know how long Friday afternoons can be sometimes. So, if you want something to read, why not try TigerDeafie, Dr Steven Emery's cool new blog. Nice photo, Steve!

Or you can always have a laugh over the uproar over the Thai Prime Minister's sign name. Oh dear. Some cultural chasms cannot seem to be bridged, no?


January 25, 2008

Almost too insulting for words

Forgive me for losing my sense of humour, but I was definitely NOT amused this morning when I read Deafweekly's report on a "sign language lady randomly waving her arms around during a British children's TV programme." You can read more about it here.

Er, is it real?! Someone, please reassure me either way.

If it isn't, is the RNId quote fake too?

And if is, is it really 2008, or did I wake up in 1968 or something?

- Jen

December 31, 2007

Memorial Service for the late Arthur F. Dimmock, MBE, D.Arts

AFDbook.JPGThe Memorial Service for the late Arthur F. Dimmock will be held on 29 February 2008, in Redhill, Surrey. Full details are on Upcoming, including how to confirm your attendance (for catering).

A collection will be made and will be split between The Woodford Foundation (which helps to improve opportunities for deaf and deafblind children and young people in the developing countries) and the British Deaf History Society. If you are unable to attend the service, there's details on how to make a contribution in AFD's memory.

See also:
Arthur F. Dimmock

December 5, 2007 - an unofficial advert.

December 3, 2007

BBC This is My Family - Wanting a Deaf Baby (subtitled)

In September 2004 the BBC aired a programme called This is My Family: Wanting a Deaf Baby, which featured a Deaf couple Paul and Claire Dowdican, and discussed their thoughts on a desire to have a Deaf child. Here is the full programme (subtitled):

We thought this would be of particular interest to readers, given the current political climate.

Further Reading:
BBC Ouch Interview with Claire Dowdican

See also:
Rebecca Atkinson's Guardian article: 'I hoped our baby would be deaf'
A Fairy Tale: Fact or Fiction?
EFEB: BDA Letter to Members of the House of Lords in BSL
Guest: Clark Denmark - Stop!
Parliament: Deaf Embryo selection to be made illegal
HFEB: Explanatory clause on deaf selection
HFEB: BDA draft letter to Professor Marcus Pembrey
HFEB: other places discussing Deaf Eugenics

November 29, 2007

HFEB: other places discussing Deaf Eugenics

Here's some other vlogs, blogs and forums on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, aka that Deaf Eugenics clause:





Do you know of any others? We'll link you.

Deaf in the UK what are you doing to get the word out? Where are you putting your opinions online? Don't leave this to international people to respond to.

See also:
HFEB: BDA draft letter to Professor Marcus Pembrey
HFEB: Explanatory clause on deaf selection
Parliament: Deaf Embryo selection to be made illegal

November 26, 2007

Arthur F. Dimmock

AFDbook.JPGWith great sadness, Arthur F. Dimmock MBE passed away yesterday morning, he was 89 years old.

He was a true Deaf giant, who authored and co-authored a number of publications including Muted Passion, Tommy: A Biography of Distinguished Deaf Royal Painter, MHGS Trivia, Fairbairn, Cruel Legacy, A. J. Wilson: Otherwise Faed, Venerable Legacy, Cochlear Implants. He had a longstanding column "Girdle Around the Earth" in British Deaf News.

He was President of the National Union of the Deaf and British Deaf History Society among many other posts.

AFD was a person who commanded enormous respect, even though he probably scared people with his fingerspelling abilities. Many an interpreter would fear for voicing over for him, and these tales alone meant his name went before him. I loved watching his stories, all bearing a rich culture.

The UK has lost a truly great person, who helped lay a great foundation for future generations of Deaf people. Thank you AFD for all you've given us, our thoughts are with your family and close friends.

November 21, 2007

A question

Can anyone out there explain to me in clear, simple terms why deaf people need charity? Why exactly? This is not a joke question; I truly do want to know.

The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary describes charity as:

A system of giving money, food or help free to those who are in need because they are ill, poor or homeless, or any organization which is established to provide money or help in this way.

Does this apply to deaf people? If so, why?

(OK, the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary does not know everything - nobody does - but we could use that definition just to help us to think about it. If we follow that 'rule', why do deaf people who are not ill, poor or homeless need charity?)



October 26, 2007

Photo Friday: On The Plinth


Taken at BSL March 1999 (wow, 8 years ago now?!) by an unknown photographer. These kids signed a poem called 'Sisters', if I remember correctly, and one of them has just written a really cool blog post which can be found here*.

Who are they?

* Click on the red bit! It's a link!

October 22, 2007

Deaf Scientist in the UK involved in Nobel Prize Peace Award

andrewmanning.jpgDr Andrew Manning, a Deaf scientist from New Zealand, currently working in the University of East Anglia was involved with the Nobel Peace Prize.

In his work, he makes measurements of both carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, produced from burning fossil fuels, is the most important greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. These measurements help us to understand the global carbon cycle, and this information can then be used by climate scientists to help predict future climate change. Then the results of his research can be used by the governments of the world to hopefully make the right decisions for maintaining a healthy planet that our children will inherit from us.

Without wanting to sound cheesy, we at GOD have to say congratulations on his contribution to what has to be the most important topic facing the world today. Deaf achievements are not noted enough, and often hidden from view, which leads more negative people to resort to putting us down. Incidentally, Dr Manning has a Deaf sister, Victoria was the driving force behind the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006, which grants NZSL official language status.

Deaf Academics, David McKee

Further Reading:
Nobel Prize
All Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
An Inconvenient Truth
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPCC expresses surprise and gratitude at announcement of Nobel Peace Prize
Al Gore - Wikipedia

October 12, 2007

Oh god, not more CI deaths.

The FDA has just issued another health warning about cochlear implants and meningitis, following the deaths of TWO MORE deaf kids. This shouldn't be happening!

Children with Cochlear implants are at a higher risk for developing bacterial meningitis, a potentially deadly infection, and must be fully immunized against the disease. That warning came from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) after it learned that two children with Cochlear implants had recently died from bacterial meningitis...


...In its latest health alert, the FDA said that two children – ages 9 and 11 – with Cochlear implants had died from bacterial meningitis in the past year. Neither had been fully immunized against the disease, and both had Cochlear implants with positioners.

This isn't the first time this has happened. We vlogged about other cases in February and had a 3-day demo about it back in 2002, when it happened to loads of kids:


More pics here.

How many deaths over how many years is it going to take before this kind of thing stops?! Their lives are not disposable.


Bacterial Meningitis Kills Two Children with Cochlear Implants, Prompting FDA Warning (
CI to blame for death by meningitis
Cochlear Implantation Increases Meningitis Risk

October 7, 2007

Chloe Alexander, hearing sibling perspective on WFD

Chloe Alexander, on Nouse, a York University publication has a post about her recent attendance at WFD in Madrid. This is written from a hearing perspective, as a Sibling of a Deaf Adult (SODA).

As Fintan said to me directly, its refreshing to read a hearing perspective.

October 5, 2007

Another Danish sign language march, in Aarhus

Following Jen's post about the march in Copenhagen earlier to recognise their sign language, another Danish march took place in Aarhus. Here's some footage:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Via Isabelle's Sign Language Blog.

If we ever marched in the UK again, you have to wonder if simultaneous marches would be a good idea, or would one march work better? I know what I think, but use the comment box and let us know your view.

See also:
Photo Video Friday: Danish Deaf March

Photo Video Friday: Danish Deaf March

Recognise Sign Language in Copenhagen

Hooray for the Danish Deafies who marched last weekend!

October 1, 2007

Learn to Sign Week (UK)

It's Learn to Sign Week this week (1st-7th October). Check out the BDA's new Learn to Sign website here!

Also, there will be a Deafie on The Paul O' Grady Show at 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday). Whoopee do!

Not forgetting See Hear is back on Wednesday, in its rather crap new 1pm mid week slot. I still object (see link below)!

Anyway, if you can't sign... this week is the week to learn!


See also:
Save See Hear!

September 29, 2007

Finally! A vlog! In honour of International SL Day...

A rather un-grumpy vlog, featuring Jen, her runaway dog and some trees...

English script:

It's International Sign Languages Day today, and I thought I would vlog from my corner of the world, just to show that, indeed, there are sign languages all over the world.

So here I am in the middle of nowhere - AKA Yorkshire - quite near my house. It's kind of over there somewhere... can you swivel the camera please?


Great, thank you. Oh no, the dog's running off! [LOL] Happy International Sign Languages Day! Oh, one last thing...


August 19, 2007

Put your clothes back on!

Oh dear. The naked signing newsreaders have had their funding pulled... perhaps that'll teach them not to use SL as a way to make money!?

On another note, however, I disagree with pornography in any form... BUT if people want to make Deaf-accessible porn, shouldn't they be allowed to? And if so, is it fair of the Japanese Government to exclude porn from their access funding criteria? Does anyone care?



August 10, 2007

Statement from Francis Murphy, BDA Chair

At the BDA Congress, we at GOD offered Francis the opportunity to say whatever he liked to our readers/viewers, and he accepted the offer. So, here he is:

... so if you're interested in the BDA and/or Deaf education, get the next train to Southport!


(English translation for non-BSL signers below...)

Continue reading "Statement from Francis Murphy, BDA Chair" »

The unofficial BDA Congress 2007 report


I generally put my money where my mouth is, so went along to the first day of this year's BDA Congress in Southport yesterday to show my support etc. Unfortunately I can't go today, but hope this post gives readers some idea of what it was like. The theme focussed on education and our rights through language and cultural equality.

bda2As someone who's been to about 10 BDA Conferences / Congresses throughout my life, I was saddened to see only about 70 people were there. However, this actually made the whole thing feel more intimate - when Dr Paddy Ladd got up on stage for his paper, he said it was a shame there were so few of us, but that meant each of us was "doubly important" - cool way of looking at it!

Indeed, I didn't realise at first, but there was a definite air of informality about the whole thing; there were NO suits, NO grand speeches with flashy PowerPoints and NO BDA staff rushing around with clipboards. In fact, I don't think I saw any BDA staff at all, except one. It seemed to be being run by volunteers, which kind of brought the BDA back to its roots, perhaps. The atmosphere was humble and almost apologetic; new BDA Chair, Francis Murphy was open and honest throughout, and kept apologising for the lack of publicity and countless other things.

I have to say I enjoyed the day I spent at the Congress - the BDA deserves to be praised for managing to pull it off despite the hard time they are going through right now.

David Muir - Doncaster School for the Deaf and a father

bda3The first paper, Bilingual Education: Why it's the best option and how it can be improved, was by David Muir, who is a father of two Deaf girls and works at Doncaster School for the Deaf. David made it clear he was speaking in a personal capacity and his paper was generally good and informative and very PRO 'proper' bilingualism (not just pretend bilingualism where teachers can't sign fluently etc), but went on rather too long, I am afraid.

The main points David made were that the three main problems with Deaf education are that it leads to the high possibility of mental health problems, low achievement and low self esteem and self confidence. Notably, he said, Deaf people should control Deaf education. Finally! A hearing educator finally said that in public!

bda8     bda9

Dr Paddy Ladd

Next up was Dr Paddy Ladd, with a paper on Deaf Culture, Deafhood and Deaf Education. Watching Paddy made me feel more politically motivated than I have in a long time! It's just a shame there weren't more people there to watch him, because God knows, the UK Deaf community could do with a dose of political motivation at the moment. That and a kick up the arse!

bda4Paddy talked about the disastrous effects of colonalism, and how Deaf people's identities would be stronger if young Deaf people's education introduced them to Deaf culture, thus developing their Deafhood at an earlier age than now. He discussed how Deaf educators are more likely to use Cultural Holism when teaching Deaf kids, treating them as whole people, and acknowledging how the Deaf and hearing worlds are different, explaining what it means, how to live and how they have a place in the world.

Paddy said we need to be stronger and work with our hearing allies without being mistrustful of them taking over. He also said we need more hearing allies - largely hearing parents (90% of us have them, anyway!) - the media is far more likely to listen to radical hearing parents than Deafies having a demo! We need more action, a BDA education campaign group, youth camps and youth leadership programmes, volunteers and so on. We need many things!

I hope the BDA listens to Paddy because he signed a lot of sense.

bda14    bda10

Professor Bencie Woll

After lunch, I missed the first part of Bencie Woll's paper on bilingualism - I also missed the title because it wasn't in the programme, but it seemed to be a linguistic perspective. Not really my cup of tea, I'm afraid, as I'm not really a linguistic person and Bencie was a bit academic, talking about the brain and stuff!

bda5However, I was really pleased to see Bencie signing for herself, which is sadly a rare thing for hearing people do to... that was cool. In summary, she talked about how people in the Deaf community are bilingual even though they think they aren't, and gave some facts about language acquisition and the education of Deaf children, including how BSL actually helps English literacy, not the opposite, as the oralists claim. In conclusion, Bencie said that Deaf people should have the opportunity to be bilingual. Too right!

bda11   bda12

bda13    bda6


Last off, I went to Paddy's workshop on Deafhood (the other one was on linguistics) which was quite interesting, with people talking about how the DDA is actually rather crap - some people said they liked it but I am not one of them! - and discussing how the BDA could offer more support for parents of Deaf children.

BDA involvement with UKCoD

The only thing that pissed me off all day was when Francis mentioned that the BDA is thinking about re-joining the chocolate teapot of British deaf organisations, UKCoD. Yes, I know many people would agree with this, but again I am not one of them, and I stood up to tell Francis that. Apparently UKCoD is desperate to have more "Deaf" input - how very funny since they stole our BSL recognition campaign(!) - and have begged (??) the BDA to reconsider. However Francis said they will make sure they have more teeth this time round and I sincerely hope so because UKCoD has a big jawline. AGH.

Whatever. The BDA needs support at the moment and I hope that there are more than 70 people there today. Wish I could be one of them but I cannot. And I really wish more people would do more supportive things for the BDA rather than sit on their arses and slag them off! They need us now, probably more than ever before. As the late great Dorothy Miles said, and was quoted many times yesterday;

The BDA is you and me, and together we will fight for equality!

Coming very soon:

* An exclusive BSL statement from Francis Murphy, BDA Chair (shame on See Hear for not going up to film!!)
* An interview with the magnificient Dr Paddy Ladd, also brought to you on video.


August 4, 2007

The RNId's new digital hearing aid...

blingaid.jpg ... not. I don't think even the RNId can afford this hearing aid. For a start, it's made from solid 24-carat gold and is studded with 220 diamonds. It has a remote control. It is expected to sell for over £25,000.

Jeesh. And yes, it's real! It was designed by a bloke called Barry Moule for a company called Widex:

"Creating this aid required the services of Barry Moule a highly specialised London-based jeweller with a unique set of skills. “Though I have produced exotic items such as jewel encrusted mobile phones in the past this is the most unusual project in my career,” commented Moule."

... So it looks like lots of rich hearing aid wearers are going to have to fight over it. Too bad if you want a matching one for your other ear(!)


See also:
Coming soon: will you be forced to get your hearing aids from the RNID?
Autonomy and Gurning
RNId = The New Google?

August 3, 2007

Playing God reviewed by a Deafie

My (edited) review of Playing God is up now. See it if you can!


August 2, 2007

Go to the BDA Congress!

signcommunitylogo.jpgI can't believe that the BDA London / South East Office was closed a few weeks ago, and they seem to have forgotten to tell us! An email to members would have done the job. [ Or even better, a blog! WISH THE BDA WOULD GET A BLOG! I volunteer to help them to set one up, if that is any use (I suspect not, but anyway) !]

Dawn, thanks for the reply to my last post on the BDA - I really do support the BDA and want to see it thrive, as I am sure you understand. So it is with this support in mind that I will be going to the Congress in Southport next week, or at least some of it, depending when I can get time off work. Hope to see many Deafies there to show their support too!

If you're reading this blog, it would be interesting to know if you're going to the Congress, and if not, why not? Comments in the comment box below, please!

There is new information about the Congress here - programme etc - thanks to Tony B for the heads up.


July 27, 2007

RNId = The New Google?


Well, you never know what they know.


See also:
Coming soon: will you be forced to get your hearing aids from the RNID?
Autonomy and Gurning

July 26, 2007

A few random websites to look at...

... in no particular order:

The Deaf Film and TV Festival has become Deaffest, and you can find info about that here. People keep emailing me about it so I thought I should blog it!

There's an interesting interview with Sandra Duguid here. She's great in Playing God... you can still catch a performance in London or Edinburgh, I think. The Manchester one was good!

Finally, I would link to info about the BDA Congress, but I can't find any on their website. Even the BDA's events calendar says nothing is happening in August! Not true. Here's the info (and no, I do not work for the BDA... I just think these things should be shared, and I am grumpy because the BDA hasn't shared it widely. I'll probably get into trouble for saying that. Whatever.):

Theme: 'Rights through Language and Cultural Equality'
Date: 8-11th August 2007
Where: The Southport Theatre & Floral Hall Complex
Address :Promenade Southport, PR9 0DZ, UK
01704 540454, 01704 514770
Info from Sarah Murray:

As we all know, the BDA has been through a lot recently. All the more reason to go along and show support if we can! Paddy Ladd's giving a paper - don't miss that!

See you there?

July 25, 2007

BBC Access 2.0: Interview with Charlie Swinbourne

charlieswinbourne.JPGBBC's Access 2.0 blog is carrying an interesting interview with Charlie Swinbourne, who works at See Hear. Its always good to get to know a person behind a name.

Charlie has some interesting comments on the net:

Q: If the web was taken away from me today I would.

Move on with my life! I like to think I can take it or leave it as far as the web goes, although I'd miss email most of all. As good as Facebook and YouTube are, there's nothing as good as living life through face-to-face conversations and actually interacting with people... Although in saying this, I might be in the minority!

A healthy attitude to have, and possibly totally opposite to me. However, I can't help asking the question: how much of this attitude is influenced by the fact he exists within London, much easier to network? Deaf community in the rest of the UK is geographically sparse.

Question for all readers: could you survive without the net these days? I'm old enough to have gone through university pre-internet, and I know research wasn't as easy back then. There were no clicks of a button to gain information nor network.

I would if push came to shove, would such laid back people miss the net? Deaf people especially, how would you carry out research, and would you be content with dusty library shelves, snail mail and minicoms again? Whilst I have some nostalgia for the former, I'm not sure if I'd want to go back to it full time. What do you think?

Charlie touches on UK Deaf people's love affair with social networks, a usage I've intended to blog about for too many years, and I've never got around to it.

Charlie also mentions this blog:

Grumpy Old Deafies is also great, with regular stories and opinion looking at events in the deaf world. Keeps me in the know and always entertains.

Thanks for the plug, but that comment scares me just a bit! Can we live it up? Perhaps we should start off by blogging a bit more. :-D

July 19, 2007

Have we missed something?

Got this from Deafweekly:


A Japanese TV program that combines nudity and sign language made headlines this month when it was revealed that the program is subsidized by the government. Paradise Television Inc. was given about 150,000 yen ($1,231 US) to help pay for sign-language translations of “Hadaka no News Station” (Naked News Station), said The Mainichi Newspapers. The money funds a five-minute segment in which Miyabe Fujino gradually sheds her clothing while presenting the news in sign language. “I generally welcome sign-language translations for TV programs,” said Japanese Federation of the Deaf official Mitsuji Hisamatsu, “but it’s questionable to provide a subsidy for this particular program.”"

The question that must be asked is... why?

(I get the Deaf-hearing-equality-in-nudity argument, thanks... just.... why?!)

- jen

July 12, 2007

Bizarre gadget for "couples and deaf-mutes"

Yes, I know I am guilty of not blogging or vlogging here on GOD for ages. Got a lot on at the mo, and anyway Alison is doing such a fab job so who needs me?!

However, I couldn't resist blogging about this vibrating ring/alarm clock thingy for couples and deaf-mutes..! Whatever next?

(If you scroll down to the little man, you will see the speech bubble saying "I am deaf. But I must go to work everyday at 8.30..." - why the "But"?! There is no but. We Deafies have jobs too! Sigh. I hope it was simply a translation glitch, i.e. the English wording in the advert looks as if it may have been translated from another language.)


May 31, 2007

See Hear replies...

FYI, See Hear sent this long email in reply to my vlog about the changes they are making:

Hi Jen.

Yes, we are going through major changes, but See Hear continues as the only programme presented in BSL on a mainstream terrestrial channel. We are forever breaking new ground at the cutting edge of deaf television.

We still have a strong core of deaf members of the team. For the first time in five years, we have a deaf producer. We also have two deaf assistant producers, one deaf researcher and one hard of hearing researcher, so, a wealth of skill, knowledge and culture, and a strong affinity with the community. To complement the deaf team members, we have a number of hearing staff, who offer an enormously wide range of knowledge and experience of television, and who share the same enthusiasm for 'See Hear'.

Change of Slots

Television is changing, and how we view our programmes is also rapidly changing. Gone are the days of our entire audience sitting around the living room, tuning in to watch favourite programmes (like See Hear) at specific times. Services such Sky PLUS and PVRs allow viewers to record selected programmes to watch as and when is convenient for them. Self-service is becoming increasingly popular, and we believe it is time for us to change too.

All programmes within the BBC are experiencing budgetary cuts, and See Hear is no exception. We believe, after much thought, that the best way to maintain the quality of the show and still be able to make 38 programmes a year is to reduce the length of the programme to 30 minutes. We can assure you that we will be using the budget to maintain the high production values and quality that the programme is renowned for, and with this extra time and staffing we are now focusing on more investigative stories, consumer items and reality television, as you have rightly been asking for. This does take time and a lot of effort.

What is our new vision?

The move to a midweek slot on Wednesdays in September is an exciting new challenge. See Hear will remain on BBC2, one of the BBC's main terrestrial television channels. With the new time slot we will have a new audience, and will also be looking at stories of interest to the
signing community, as well as the hearing, hard of hearing and deafened who are out there.

Our lifestyles have changed - we have become much more aware of the wider world, and deaf and hearing are merging together. I do accept that for many, change is difficult. But we have to seek new ways to be exciting and challenging, and to meet and attract a wider audience.

Please bear with us whilst we take up these challenges. Over the next few weeks you will see some more fine-tuning as we develop our new ideas and bring them on stream. Two weeks ago we had some great stories in our 'Fostering and Adoption' special, and in last week's programme we had an eye-opening film about the failure of shops to provide working induction
loops to assist hearing aid users. Over the next few months we will follow a young deaf girl having a cochlear implant, and we will explore the reasons for her decision to go ahead with this life changing operation. And there will be much, much more.

See Hear has been going now for 25 years, and with these changes, we aim to continue for another 25 years - and to remain the flagship programme for the deaf.

Terry Riley
Editor- SEE HEAR

May 23, 2007

Number 10 website: subtitling multimedia content?

Several weeks ago I submitted this petition at the Number 10 website:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to: 'add subtitles to all multimedia content online produced by Number 10, & respective government departments'

Downing Street currently has video content streamed on YouTube, with links from the Number 10 website.

Which streams content presented by the Prime Minister. However it carries no subtitles.

Deaf and hard of hearing people cannot access this content. Thus marginalised and not part of an 'inclusive society;.

This petition is for Downing Street to comply with the DDA and actually make all its online content accessible.

Furthermore, it calls on the government to encourage other service providers to subtitle content online, by setting an example.

This was submitted at the time the new French Prime Minister went into office, as I had found the YouTube link via the BBC website (Tony Blair congratulating the new President).

A couple of weeks later, this petition was returned to me rejected, as it had contained a link! The link happened to be the relevant page on the Number 10 website. So I resubmitted the petition, just deleting the line for the link.

The petition has now been rejected again, and I've received this reply:

Films also appear here where they carry subtitles where appropriate.

Your petition will now appear in the list of rejected petitions.

I've quickly looked at this page, and I don't see any subtitled content. I don't have time to look in more depth right now, and would appreciate anyone finding it, letting us know where it is.

Whatever. When the original petition was submitted, there was no subtitled content (that at least one could find) on that website, because I really looked. To me it looks like 3-4 weeks later they've tried to get their act together (that's assuming there's subtitles on the site).

This pisses me off, because it comes across as spin the government not wanting to admit its mistakes, and secondly, why should I even have to flag this and its not done as a matter of course?

Why can't YouTube be subtitled anyway, why do we have to search for the accessible version? What does "where appropriate" mean anyhow?

May 20, 2007

Audism, apparently the label for everything

We have a really stupid situation in the UK right now, where everything left right and centre is labelled as audism.

Domestic violence? = audism
Messed up PHP (website code)? = audism
Just declaring you can't understand BSL = audism
Trolling? = audism


Get me out of this insanity please!

Yes these are all issues in their own right, but it doesn't necessarily mean its audist. In one of the examples above, its the same as saying that with computer code, PHP 5 is racist, and PHP 4 is not. Swop the word racist with audist in the last sentence, and that's exactly what's happening. And that's how illogical this has gotten!

The stupid thing is, when these videos are being labelled on deafread they are being labelled as audism, you start to think the plot is being lost. Okay! Is that to do with a language barrier as BSL is being used (plus not appreciating the real situation over here)? Or are we supposed to weed out the crap from the quality. The problem with this approach, is that 'Best of Deaf Blogs', is deceiving and in conflict with two schools of thought when it comes to aggregation. We are told best of, then presented stuff where everyone is going WTF?

The other thing, what happens when no-one is challenging. I for one do not have the energy nor time to respond to every misinformed sentence. Others feel the same.

Someone said to me this morning, audism is difficult to define and sometimes spot. I agree, but in the same way as racism sometimes is, or the more subtle forms of sexism, especially when it comes to indirect discrimination.

Don't get me wrong, I don't condone audist behaviour and something I've banged on about for years, perhaps not labelled it as such. Some serious work needs to be done to bring this at the forefront of people's minds and perhaps one day the BBC will actually include it in their house rules along with:

Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable

One can dream that one day See Hear forum will stop being Audist Central. All Deaf people (apart from two) I know in real life, will never go there.

Back to audism. The way the label is being thrown around is exactly the same as Deaf will scream DDA when it either is a) not discrimination or b) DDA isn't applicable, its plain prejudice. Its not helping, especially since you won't get the mainstream to grasp the concept, and actually push it to be a commonly used concept.

In the meantime, give me some brain food, please.

And if you want to read more on Audism, go over to All the Young Dudes.

May 14, 2007

Save See Hear!

PS: Forgot to add: Send an email See Hear to to complain about the cuts!

Full English translation:

Firstly, I'd like to say a big thank you to all of you who commented on my last vlog - I was very touched, and didn't expect it! So, many thanks!

I have to say I laughed at the comment about watching me vlog since my hair was short... you're right; it's getting very long now. Oh, well. I also laughed at the comments from those who thought I was a grumpy old man, and I look too cheerful when I vlog. I assure you, I'm grumpy inside, OK?!

And today I do have a good reason to be proper grumpy, because I've heard that See Hear, our weekly Deaf TV programme here in the UK, is going downhill. Terry Riley, the Deaf Editor, has been doing a great job for a while, but I've been told hearing people are taking over and basically spoiling the show. Our 45 minute programme is being cut down to only 30 minutes! And if that isn't bad enough, as from this September it's being moved from Saturday to Wednesday (daytime). What?!

I'm sorry, but I do have a job, and I don't sit around watching TV with nothing much else to do all day, and nor do other Deaf people I know. We have busy lives, you know! This is us Deafies being swept under the carpet again, I know.

So today I am really grumpy, and I say:




I urge the BBC to please rethink their decision and consider us Deaf people.


May 12, 2007

Yes comment!

English translation for non-BSL users:
Another vlog from me in such a short time! I’m doing well… better keep it up!

I just wanted to post about commenting on blogs. Lots of Deafies like this blog and keep mentioning how they think Alison makes sense and all that, but mostly face-to-face, on MSN, via email or whatever. That’s all really nice and everything, but can we try and change tack, and use the comment box more?

It would be really cool if you’d click ‘comments’ at the bottom and reply after reading or watching a blog/vlog. That way, other people can join in too and get discussing things. It’s great! Discussion is what we want. Plus, all bloggers love comments – they make us feel loved and warm inside – if no-one comments, we feel a bit sad and ignored (!)

I’ve noticed more and more British Deaf people are blogging, which is fab, but I’ve also noticed that some bloggers seem to stop blogging, and I think it’s partly because no-one comments. So, I’m going to try and leave more comments on other people’s blogs (you can leave critical comments too, you don’t have to be nice!), in the hope that we can all interact a bit more and discuss things together. That would be good.

So come on and comment! It’s good for the soul!


May 8, 2007

Crunchgear: Deafies are a good cause

Crunchgear thinks deaf people are a good cause:

Someone using technology for a good cause and not just to pump out more megapixels or whowhatsits per second.

Wish sites would see past feeling sorry for us or rather people trying to help Deafies, and actually step back here. I for one would like an objective review of VeeSee, from the mainstream. If this was a mainstream site, what would you say? See past the sign language, and what's your take as an iPTV site?

Note to Crunchgear: yes I get the whole long tail thing, and the point of your post re niche markets. Specifically relating to Deaf people, there is a need to utilise developments online particilarly around sign language. There is much needed to be done also, particularly in respect of inclusiveness. To this end, I would call on people like Joost and venture capitalists, to work in partnership with Deaf companies such as Remark! (and its counterparts in other countries) to produce sign language iPTV. Allow the mainstream to educate and work in partnership with minority communties, to share knowledge. Such initiatives have to be done in partnership with and led by Deaf people.

Deaf people reading this post, I would encourage you to participate here, to get our ideas across to the mainstream.

See also:
Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0? (Noesis)
Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0? (Grumpy Old Deafies)
Interpreters and the whole set up scaring me

May 7, 2007

Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0?


VeeSee is currently the top story at BBCi Technology News page.

Where's the impartial reporting by the BBC, and go beyond the reporting its done to question the set up? This is one sided reporting. The issue with DEAF stuff, is that media outlets can infrequently see past the charity case that and their interpretation of people with broken ears might be, which leads to somewhat odd media reporting.

It is Deaf Awareness week in the UK, thus people come out in droves to show how they are helping us.

Don't get me wrong, I want signed content on the web, and do not want to knock effort down. However, this is locked in centralised content, which the rest of the web is moving away from. UK Deafies existing in their own bubble?

I get the drive for a tv channel online, and something flagged for years by various people. I would also question if this is actually tv, but instead locked in vlog style videos that could easily be hosted on respective sites.

We really do not need paternalism 2.0 in the UK? Why are Deaf people of the mindset over here that they cannot host their own sites, blogs and vlogs, and need someone to hold their hand? States the case for the influence of charity quite well.

See also:
Interpreters and the whole set up scaring me

Continue reading "Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0?" »

May 5, 2007

Who said no-one in the UK isn't being active? (But it could be so much better)

Recently I've seen this in a few places: no-one in the UK is doing anything politically.


What do you think a blog is? Why is the definition of activism so narrow? Sitting in the middle of a road is one way to demonstrate, going along to a meeting is another. Blogging about something, and actually having open conversations is another.

Blogging is not the same as e mailing lists. E mailing lists are frequently closed and can be controlled, where the rest of the world is unable to listen in. What's the benefit of talking amongst yourselves, where everyone already knows the information and probably agrees with you anyway? The dynamics are different too.

Blogging might be a bit different form of activism you are familiar with, and causes you to redefine something because goes outside your traditional beliefs or thoughts. However, that doesn't mean that its not a valid form. Yes there needs to be more blogs, this is just one. And it goes without saying, we need more people to be proactive too, and not just restricted to publishing online.

Back to blogs. This blog had nearly 20k visits in April (visits not hits), thus not something to be mocked at. Drip drip form of communication, and perhaps something indirect and constructive can come out of this. And for the record, I don't think we've even began to touch the surface re a potential impact here. I don't see blogging as a soapbox, but a conversation, which you need to participate in to fully get it.

However, the snag: there's not enough UK people being active here, and on that count alone could be interpreted as not enough is being done politically. Its not difficult to have an opinion. If you want to do your bit to get moving over here, one way is to actually set up a blog or vlog and start to enter some quality open conversation, and engage with other bloggers. Each blog is the building block for a bigger picture. Go for it.

May 1, 2007

British Deaf Football website launched, where's the RSS?

gbdeaffootball.jpgThe Great Britain Deaf Football website was launched this evening.

I'm not a football fan so I'm not best placed to do an analysis of this site. However I'm always a fan of independent Deaf stuff, on the face of it, the website looks good and I welcome online content. However, one thing that's really bugging me: where's the RSS feed? I tried to add you to my reader, and I got the 'no feed found'!

This frustrates me so much, UK Deafies and more importantly web designers please come into 2007.

There is this great page full of news, what makes you think I'm coming back to read it? Okay, I'm not exactly your target audience, but I still want your news delivered to me. I might even be interested in some of the content, just from keeping in touch with Deaf stuff goes, but I want a feed to enable me to do this! Deaf Football people, please use something like FeedFire to create one. You have news to share, make sure the content gets delivered to as many people as possible. Same goes for your calendar page too, events delivered to your reader as another feed. Having a feed doesn't mean noone will visit your site, quite the opposite, it reminds people you are still there.

This is what I was getting at in an earlier post over at Noesis re the use of RSS (please watch the video if you haven't done so already).

P.S. Football people, where's the BSL? Some vlogs integrated into the news section would be cool.

Update: See the comments, there's now a RSS feed. Yipee! If you want to subscribe to the news, here's the feed. Nick, where's the calendar feed - I want one. Other thing, there's one BSL video on the site, presented by Helga. Just linking it, as I missed it on my first visit.

Update 2: BDF website has addressed the RSS further. The RSS feed buttons can be seen at the bottom of the website, there's also one for the calendar plus messageboard. Go and have a look.

April 29, 2007

Bush explaining Iraq policy to Republican deaf signers?


The Sunday Times carried this picture and caption at the back of its News Review section, asking what Bush was doing, in satire style. Deaf people came into it:

Another day, another slightly embarrassing picture of President George Bush. But what is he doing here? Is it:

a) Dancing in the garden of the White House to promote World Malaria Day
b) Explaining his new policy on Iraq to a conference of Republican deaf signers

c) Frankly, it's anybody's guess

Without not wishing risk coming across as if I have no sense of humour whatsoever, I wonder if this devalues ASL? Its portrayed alongside other non serious options to be mocked at? Why isn't a Republican conference delivered in ASL a perfectly valid option (thus not make people laugh)? Or is it the concept of Bush using ASL something we are meant to be laughing at, as too far fetched? Whilst he's not using ASL, why would the use of make it "slightly embarrassing"?

April 28, 2007

Miss Deaf UK: a micro example of how things really are

I had meant to type some thoughts on Miss Deaf UK last weekend, but personal circumstances has not allowed me to do this. Now playing catch up.

A brief recap of the programme: we had a hearing person organising the event, a group of hearing people took over. All with no prior experience of Deaf people, nor could any of them sign. There was no interaction at all. The organisation was a complete shambles. Whilst Deaf people were portrayed as being the end product, caught up in the whole mess. The programme was produced reality style, possibly a first for See Hear.

Whilst watching the programme I was talking to a hearing friend [who incidentally can't sign, and not involved with the Deaf community] and within 5 minutes of turning the television they had to switch it off. "There is a distinct lack of Deaf people and people who can actually sign?" Instead you were greeted with scenes of hearing people who had never even met a Deafie, all somehow bizarrely brought together by one woman. These hearing people were there because they "want to help the deaf and the bereaved". Okay, perhaps we should all start to wear black here and go into mourning.

However, it was not clueless hearies that really irked me, but Deaf people. Passive and sheep springs to mind. Go along with what they are told, and not bother to actually challenge anything. Noone actually had to be there, why didn't someone actually tell the organiser to stick their event up where the sun doesn't shine and they weren't putting up with it? Why didn't anyone actually walk?

On another level for me, the programme illustrated and mirrored on a micro level perfectly what really happens with deaf organisations. The set up is exactly the same: a bunch of hearies, who can't even sign, know next to nothing about Deaf stuff, going ahead and organising things for us. Making money in the process. Whilst Deaf people are passive receivers and actually do nothing. Just accept, swallow.

The comments on the programme by Deaf people were downright pathetic. Along the lines of this is my only chance, organisation is bad, don't understand Deaf culture etc.

Why were you even there, and going along with it? Why not just boycott the event and set up your own? The way some people in the UK behave, its like they are incapable, whether that is a lack of confidence, training or the bottom line mentality of Deaf people over here? Who knows. However, we do know there's one hell of a victim mentality going on, and passive receivers when you don't see something right. Joe vlogged about this in relation to Deaf UK, and illustrates the point very well.

Often, when people challenge something, they are told they must not. Instead its portrayed as a personality defect. It happens within organisations, within the last year on Deaf UK, etc. As an illustration of this, check out the response to my recent VeeSee post. (There's much more I could say specifically on this point, but will do so in another post).

Bottom line, a long hard look needs to taken at how people over here view themselves and why they aren't more proactive. Why aren't we saying f*** off a bit more, instead of putting up with crap?

[And yes I have thoughts on what's the point in this competition, but that's not the point of this post].

See also: Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian

April 27, 2007

Support / training for campaigners

Since a lot of us bang on about the lack of campaigning that happens, bottom up, something caught my eye in the Third Sector around training for campaigning. Support groups set up for campaigners by the McKechnie Foundation.

“We will be connecting people at the forefront of social change with their peers, giving them a level of support that campaigners, unlike fundraisers, have not enjoyed in the past,”

And goes onto say:

Participants in the forums will be able to discuss campaigning methods, share concerns and develop solutions to the collective challenges they face. There will also be presentations on key topics such as new media.

It appears to be after smaller groups, possibly underlying a grassroot movement:

The Foundation hopes the forums will be of particular benefit to campaigners from smaller organisations who have little access to training.

Anyone up for it?

April 19, 2007

Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian

The Guardian is running a piece on Miss Deaf UK, which will be aired by BBC See Hear on Saturday.

Some quick comments from me:

- The Guardian puts this in the "Social Care" section. Why? Perhaps Big Brother should be put in the "Social Care" section too.
- Why does the media air things like this, but not major issues that's important to us such as BSL Recognition? Perhaps an indication of the divide and exclusion that really does take place between the media and us?
- Communication plus a divide is a no brainer for us, and happens all the time. Is the mainstream really that oblivious?

Why can't this be called reality television, because bottom line that is what it is. Instead of being subjected to this, its put under social care.

These are obviously comments before the programme gets aired, and my opinion may shift.

Via Fintan Ramblings.

Continue reading "Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian" »

April 11, 2007

Through Deaf Eyes

This is a must watch:

A larger video can be seen here. I would recommend that you download it via Google Video Player (click onto the download button in the right column). That way you can watch it full screen. It is 2 hours, I don't want you to get cross eyed! Watch it soon, as there is a possibility it could be pulled.

The original documentary was shown by PBS, in the States. The dvd and book can be pre-ordered from here.

Update: As predicted this video has now been pulled. Those people wise enough will have downloaded a copy. So you're out of luck in the meantime, unless of course someone uploads the video someplace else (the net is a big place).

A bad move on the companies' part, some might think an odd thing to say. Such acts can have a negative impact on sales. Had this video not been on the net, I would not have found out about it, as many other people. Its a marketing tool, and makes me want to go ahead and buy the dvd. Same concept as those who put their work on the net electronically such as Cory Doctorow and Tom Reynolds. Through making it free, you force people to care about your product and the fact you want to spread ideas behind it. Wanting to be possessive about these, is a turn off. The important thing about this video, is the ideas and understanding get to as many people as possible. Make it free. Copyright hinders.

April 10, 2007

BBC & accessible online content

If you are interested in forthcoming plans by BBCi to address subtitling and BSL through its website, go here.

March 29, 2007

Why should I go to WFD?

Okay, can someone give me a good reason why I should go to WFD in Madrid? The ticket is expensive, and I don't even know the programme. I'm not particularly jumping at Deaf issues right now, so why should I go?

Don't get me wrong, I went to WFD in Montreal in 2003, and I got a real buzz from it. (Incidentally, I've never received any subsequent notes for it, why? I even wrote and asked, no reply). When I got back to the UK, I told my friends I was going to set up an building society account for them and I, we were going to put x amount away each month with the view of saving up for 2007. Just to avoid the financial slap across the face. A bit like a Christmas club. Only it didn't happen.

Since then I feel flat and disillusioned. Partially to do with: politics, my own experience over the past 4 years, and the fact that deaf organisations in the UK make my stomach churn and I'm burnt out. There's other crap too.

I know there's lots I could be doing, e.g. I've written a BSL recognition website, but I can't progress with it anymore because I feel indifferent. A few years ago, I would not have had problems with motivation around that, and its still there, only reaching out for it. However, I don't buzz on this like I used to. Use WFD as a springboard, or will I feel the same? Yes I get the network, and perhaps a recharge but I'm so disillusioned right now.

Towards the end of last year I brought WFD membership (around November) which cost me $50 USD, and another £8 sterling in administrative charges. Why doesn't WFD accept Paypal, and why does it assume everyone a) lives in the USA, and b) has Visa? I even brought some travel guides and I was going to plan!

I had WFD membership for 2 months, with any other organisation purchasing membership so late, this would be carried over into the next year. However, it doesn't, and I just paid for 2 months. WFD doesn't have a magazine at the moment, and what I had for $50 + £8 was one e mail newsletter, which I had forwarded to me anyway by someone else. I didn't receive this direct from WFD anyway, because they got my e mail address wrong, and had some letter or other later. So what was the point?

Moving back to congress. WFD put up its early bird registrations last year, and subsequently lowered registrations for those people living in Spain. I even wonder with all EU regulations, is this legal. Whatever. The point is its expensive. Then there's the transport to get there. The accommodation. And the fact I need to fork out this membership again, pay for a ticket and I've not seen the programme yet, not even sure why.

So should I go to WFD or not?

March 12, 2007

Boys, boys!

"Wow", you might think; "three Grumpy blogs in one day!?" - yes, but the two good posts below were written by Alison, and not me (jen). We need a new skin, amongst other things.

Anyway, I've finally got round to blogging on GOD after tooooo long (again) because I am annoyed. (Again).

So what has annoyed me? This has. While I'm very happy to see how happy Deaf Americans are with their Deafreaderships, can we please not keep rewriting history? Am soooooo fed up seeing posts that seem to have forgotten that, although Mr Mayer says the Deafread idea come to him out of nowhere while walking around one fine day, actually, came first.

The weird thing was, was featured in SIGnews a year ago, probably in February/March, because it was launched in January 2006(!)

It doesn't really matter in the greater scheme of things. It would just be polite to acknowledge us Brits from time to time, for a change. Yes we come from a small island, but we do have good ideas sometimes.

So please don't pretend you didn't notice..!

March 9, 2007

Should Deaf get Death Sentence?

Various news articles are asking the question: Should deaf get the death sentence? This is linked to a murder case, link.

Apart from the reasoning 'Deaf people can do anything but hear', thus be treated the same as hearing people, and should be if we are to claim equal citizenship. Everyone is equal before the law. One has to wonder by treating everyone the same, we are indeed discriminating.

What strikes me is the case around interpreters is the only reason being used as a defence against death sentence. Whilst the case is based in the States, thus opportunities are different, should the same case be held in the UK there is sometimes a lack of educational opportunity, which can lead to emotional issues or indeed how to express anger. I'm not excusing this for murder, I do not agree with the death penalty in any circumstances. That includes hearing people.

March 1, 2007

Learning to be Deaf: BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 broadcasts a programme at 8pm on Learning to be Deaf. A full transcript of the programme can be found on their website, the direct download link is here. There's an additional article online here.

A programme about deaf people who find themselves stuck in a limbo between the hearing world and the Deaf world. Presenter Esther Armah goes on a journey to find out what the Deaf Community is. She discovers why some people refer to themselves as being deaf with a capital D and why so many deaf people are rejected by the Deaf Community.

Whilst its good that this has had some airtime, and I commend such moves, I have my reservations. Since this programme touches on the BSL community, where is the translation into BSL? The BBC carries multi media content (much of what we are unable to access), yet it fails miserably to utilise this platform for the delivery of BSL. How can BSL users access what is being said about them, learn, and properly respond to this programme if they are required to read 13 pages of a Word document. Many won't.

February 28, 2007

Hearing aid fetishes

The University of Bologna, has completed some research into people's fetishes. Feet are apparently the no 1's world fetish, however research did mention:

The survey, based on the views of men and women, also revealed some of the more obscure objects of affection. These included 150 people with a penchant for hearing aids,

Via A Welsh View.

This is of no surprise to UK people, who have from time to time come into contact with the Deaf Wannabee group, and their desire to become deaf. This has provoked much debate and perhaps anger in times past.

What do you you think of hearing people who have a fetish towards hearing aids? How do you feel about those people who would like to become deaf, perhaps do so through self harm? Should the health care resources be allocated to such people? How is it different from say, resources allocated to mental health issues?

One other thing to ponder, if we say we're human beings of value, then why do so many condemn someone who wants to be deaf? Are we really saying deep down deafness is never okay, and therefore noone should have a desire to become deaf?

What is body modification anyway: could having a CI be labelled as a form of body modification, and how does this differ from people wishing to modify their body in the other direction? How is it any different, than say having 100 tattoos, and claiming a body is yours?

January 27, 2007

UK Deaf Community stops for 1 week?

Whilst Mr Savva goes on holiday:

I am on the holiday from 27th Jan to 5th Feb so there will be no emails getting through during this time.

DUK moderator.

Where is Plan B? Or perhaps it will wake people up to the fact you cannot rely on one person and their ego to actually have a discussion!

The more people feed a central source, there is no chance of being independent. Where's the UK blogs, and a decentralisation of cyberspace?

Watch what your partner might be screaming ...(!)

Post Secret and has been nominated as the Best American Weblog and even the Best Weblog of the Year, for the forthcoming 2007 Bloggies.

People are invited to "anonymously contribute your secrets to PostSecret. Each secret can be a regret, hope, funny experience, unseen kindness, fantasy, belief, fear, betrayal, erotic desire, feeling, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything - as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before."

One of the contributions can be seen in this entry:


January 23, 2007

BSL / English ICT Dictionary

The BSL/English ICT Dictionary has been released, and available online.

This project was managed by DirectLearn, and follows a similar structure to previously released BSL/English online glossaries: ArtSigns, Engineering Signs and Science Signs. Provision of such publications goes some way to raising the status of BSL, in the face of criticism.

As with previous glossaries, it faces criticism in respect of BSL standardisation, and signs being unfamiliar to those who use them. What happens when you use a different sign to what is on a website? It becomes an issue where BSL students and perhaps interpreters start to use it as a web resource.

Correct sign usage becomes noticeable in the context of associated signs relating to mailing lists, and possibly the oldest signs and most distributed signs in existence in UK after signs relating to e mail, internet; as its tech that people in the UK are most familiar with, and been in common usage since 1998.

Is this really the sign for client? Fingerspell blog? A sign for this has existed since at least 2004, and can be found on blogs on the net. Vlog - is not the sign that is used by people who vlog regularly. Where's the sign for Web 2.0, which has been the buzzword for the last 2-3 years? Long Tail? Decentralised networks? Social Network? Synchronise? Blogger? Vlogger? Digital identity? Widget? etc. These are all standard words I would use when discussing tech.

All the above comments aside, any attempt at recording BSL has to be commended, its no small task and takes a substantial step towards any future call for legal recognition.

January 11, 2007

Orange Togetherness, Sense and eBay

Recently Orange stocked their Orange Togetherness toys, as seen in TV adverts, and suggested a £1 donation for the same, towards Sense, a deafblind charity in the UK..

Now these are being flogged in eBay fetching up to £32 each. There has even been an eBay guide written, relating to this.

Deafblind people currently do not have access to mobile phones in the UK, or at least ones that use braille for sms, or perhaps even larger screen view. It seems absurd, possibly driven by people's greed, that such high prices are commanded for these toys (to line private individual's pockets), yet no money is being pumped into the development of an accessible mobile phone.

I've suggested someone takes the lead on this in the past via DUKT and on Noesis by using something such as Crowd Spirit. However, it does not detract from the absurd situation. One only hopes that the money Sense has raised from the Orange Togetherness toys, goes towards the development of a accessible and trendy phone for a group that is still denied access.

December 6, 2006

Gallaudet: Final 3 interim candidates

Final three interim candidates for Gallaudet has been announced as: Robert Davila, William Marshall and Stephen Weiner

December 4, 2006

2011 census, my take

I'm told its silly season out there re picking up on the 2011 census, and who gets credit. My take: who bloody cares. Its done, just everyone else pull their finger out and campaign for something. Reminds me of other campaigns that take place, and just watching everyone jump on a bandwagon as time moves forward.

The need for accurate figures has been around for years, and something I got into back in 2000 through writing the BSL recognition policy document for FDP. Sat in some pub Islington with Doug (Alker), and we discussed figures and the census. How the census could be a by product of recognition (as many other things), and how there was a need for some decent figures. In the following year, someone works at the National Statistics Office, had warned me about how early questions gets decided thus 2001 was definitely out. I then made a conscious decision to watch this one. Within the Deaf community, people moaned but little action taken.

Away from this, I had been involved with family history research, and naturally taken a keen interest in census returns. Over the last year I have transcribed census returns from 1841 to 1901, in a parish spanning 8 miles by 3 miles, for a one parish study I'm co-ordinating. That's 566 documents of data, and RSI and very sore eyes at the end of it. Through my own family history research, where I've discovered half my family was "Deaf and Dumb", via census returns, something previously unknown to me. (This was a standard question from 1851 to 1901). Too many questions came out of this discovery, re how my ancestors communicated, and who to. In all this, my appreciation and importance of national records grew, and the deep desire to make it applicable to modern times. No such clues were visible via census returns now, and became increasingly frustrated over this.

It was via family history I got the wind of the practicalities of consultation time frame for the 2011 census, and via family history received notification of last year's consultation (even though the need for BSL to be included in census returns had been recommended prior to this). I subsequently posted this on Deaf UK, some 20 months ago. Had I not been involved with family history, and being able to overlap two areas, it would have been a bit more difficult.

Interests can influence each other. This doesn't only have benefits for those who use BSL, but for future family historians. They will get to learn about how their ancestors spent their time, and what language was used.

There's people out there with many interests, and with these interests they can bring skills that can be utilised in other circles, and of mutual benefit. I wish more time was spent merging and transferring these skills, with a vision to do so, instead of doing a lot of banging on a drum and generally complaining.

Sign Language Graffiti


Porto, Portugal.


December 2, 2006

The state of things ....

Vlog about Deaf UK, importance of Gallaudet internationally, campaign for BSL recognition.

December 1, 2006

2011 census: question about sign languages & deafness

A test census has been released in preparation for the 2011 census.

For the first time, this includes a question about British Sign Language (Page 6), which asks in relation to language usage:

- No ability
- Understand sign
- Sign

This is a major step forward, and acknowledges that BSL is a language in its own right, it might put to bed conflicting statistics once and for all (only a small number of people use), something that can only be encouraged.

However, here we have a question IN ENGLISH, asking about other minority languages. If the government acknowledges other languages are used in the UK, then it needs to start producing the census in these languages, as it is required to do by law with Welsh.

Where's the BSL version of the census? This could be put online, with a householder code, as an option to respond in BSL. There's obvious questions how to record BSL here.

Whilst other languages have the box to write, it is taking a rather narrow definition of write here. As in pen and paper. Recording (or writing in a broader sense) of BSL has been done in previous decades by video letter, and the advent of the internet allows writing or recording of sign language via vlogs, signed attachments to e mails, and so forth. To exclude this, pushes the assumption that sign language is somewhat of a lesser language.

In addition to BSL, the census allows space for other sign languages, and leaves this field blank. What happens if you know more than one additional sign language, which I can can think a few people might do.

The above was something I pushed for last year at consultation stage, and this is what I posted on an e mail group:

Mon May 16, 2005 11:16 pm

2011 census consultation

An opportunity to push for BSL to be included on the census? I know the Welsh / English / both language question has traditionally been asked in Wales. What about other languages?



Date: May 16, 2005

A consultation programme to identify the topics for possible inclusion in the 2011 Census was launched today by the Office for National Statistics.

A document 'The 2011 Census: Initial view on content for England and Wales' has been published as a focus for the consultation and can be seen on the National Statistics website at:

This provides a first view of what the 2011 Census questionnaire might include for England and Wales. ONS is placing strong emphasis on maximising responses from households and individuals. This might include making the questionnaire less complex and limiting the number
of questions. This emphasis comes as a result of lessons learnt from the 2001 Census.

Reducing complexity could mean significant changes to some questions traditionally asked in censuses, such as people's work and working arrangements.

Some new topics are also being considered. Two key areas are:

* Collecting information on whether people have more than one address or home (a second address) and on visitors present at an address on Census Night. This will improve understanding of how people in the UK live, and, in particular, provide information on those who regularly
spend time at different addresses. This could include children whose parents have separated and people who live away from the family home at certain times for work reasons.

* Income. Information about income in broad bands would be used to identify areas of deprivation to help government when developing policies. A question on income has never before been included in a UK Census.

The consultation deals with potential census topics for England and Wales and similar exercises are being carried out in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

ONS officials will be meeting groups of the main census users during visits to the regions of England and Wales in early summer. Written responses from groups and individuals to the consultation should be submitted by Friday 5 August 2005. Details of how to respond are
provided in the document. The consultation has been designed to allow time for questions to be developed for public testing in 2007.


1. Link to the GROS consultation website:

2. Link to the NISRA consultation website:

The other question is on page 9, which asks if you have "deafness or severe hearing impairment". This is rather subjective, and how many old age pensioners who have been hearing all their life, will end up ticking this box, when they've just got some disposable hearing aid from Boots?

On a positive note, perhaps it will counteract some of the ridiculous statistics that keep flying around, such as the DRC says there's 10 million disabled people in the UK, with that corporate charity saying there's 8,945,000 deaf and hard of hearing.

If there's 8,945,000 deaf and hard of hearing, there can only be 1,055,000 other disabled
including: blind, partially sighted, mental health, wheel chair users, dyslexic, aspergers, autistic, diabetes, epilepsy etc. Right? Wrong?

Parliament debates what will actually be included in the census in 2009. We can only hope that BSL is still included, then roll on to 2011.

November 9, 2006

Save the Deaf UK Four (!)

OK so thus far, four of us have been banned from Deaf UK for various silly reasons: Tony explains it all very clearly here.

I still don't know why I was banned because I honestly did nothing - I was shouted at for forwarding emails and then did nothing at all! Suddenly last night I found out I was banned. I'm probably guilty "by association" because I'm friends with the other DUK Three. That's fine by me, I accept I have sinned by having friends.

Sigh. I simply can't believe I have even bothered to write this post. More to the point, I can't believe what used to be an important British Deaf resource has been reduced to a silly playground-style fighting place.

I'm glad to be out of it, in all honesty.

November 4, 2006

Is this fake?

Has anyone bought a DVD from this website?

The reason I ask is that my friend sent them some money in August, but has heard nothing from them since. He has emailed them to ask about his order (his money has been taken), using a few different email addresses just to make sure, but every time he emails, he gets this exact same reply:

"Hello folks!

I've discovered some evident information concerning the failure of oral methods that embarrass the deaf people's lives. However, we need some more time in filming that everyone on earth must know. The film release has been postponed to November 15, 2006.

You, congress people, senators and political representatives cannot miss the evidence! We must save the schools for the deaf and new generations of deaf children to continue the usage of sign language. We cannot afford to see our new children suffer from oral system that does not work for almost everyone!

If you have any questions and/or concerns, please contact me at

Thank you for your patience.


James Kittell
Film director

Milan 1880" - 125 years of embarrassment to the deaf people's lives"

... Not wanting to make any false accusations, I have been told that this whole website/DVD is fake. If I am wrong, I apologise. I just don't like to see my mates being messed about with. Does anyone know??

Like Ridor, I noticed there were some weird things in the tributes section. For example, see this quote:

“I’m thankful that this film, Milan 1880 is going to come out this fall. Everyone must watch this and realize the worst, bloody mistakes in history that are killing us today.”
—B.D., London, England

British people don't use the word 'fall'. We use 'autumn'.

I hope I can be proven wrong! Fraud is not nice, especially not in a community where everyone trusts each other. Maybe there's too much trust and not enough caution...

October 24, 2006

TentCity UK makes Times Online!

Link to the article is here. Shame about the comments!

October 21, 2006

Live TentCity UK Updates

Live updates here at the official website now!

August 29, 2006

Congratulations to Helga and Ian for the launch of - go and take a look, and contribute your travel journal(s), pictures and videoclips.

We look forward to absorbing the content.

June 28, 2006

Revenge on Stephanie Beacham

Summary: There isn't one, sorry - you'll have to watch to understand!

June 27, 2006

Rate My Teachers

Rate my Teachers is a website which encourages people, and more likely children, to rate their teachers. I came across the site as part of a larger article on the net being a web of punishment via the mob.

A quick search brings up Mary Hare, and there doesn't appear to be any other deaf schools there ... yet. (There's an option to add these).

Incidentally, this site is not limited to the UK, and there's international sister sites.

Given Deaf people's love / hate relationship with their schools, one would have thought more use would have been made of this website? However, when does such websites venture onto the boarderline of bullying?

June 16, 2006

Plans to ban background music

Has now reached the Lords. Interestingly, deaf or hard of hearing people are not cited as the reason for banning. Perhaps they are insignificant, in the same way as some people say BSL is a lesser language than Welsh.

May 30, 2006

A Sign of the Times ...

When the Deaf Comedians change their name to the BSL Comedians.

Whatever next.

May 12, 2006

Buy this book...


... especially if you a) disagree with the Gallaudet demo or b) don't understand why they are protesting.

You can buy it online here or here. Go on, it's excellent stuff.

May 4, 2006

So, was the BSL Recognition campaign all a waste of time?

Watch this vlog from BSL Activist first if you haven't seen it already!

Then watch this!

(You might want to press 'play' then 'pause', wait for it to load and then play again)

PS: The Gally protest still goes on. Deaf-In-The-City-Joe makes (another) very good point about it here.

May 3, 2006

Better President How?

bpn banner.jpg

I've been following the Better President Now! demo that's been going on at Gallaudet for the past two days with interest. It's great to see Deafies standing up for their rights! It's fantastic to see so much coverage on people's blogs too - Deafies in America are doing a fab job of keeping people informed.

The best way to keep yourself informed of the various stuff going on is the United States page on ... though my fave one is probably this. I also think my old mate Joe makes some very good points. They didn't have technology like this during Deaf President Now! in 1988!

Anyway, basically, as we can see, most of the students and staff at Gallaudet don't like Jane Fernandes, who the Board of Trustees do like, and thus gave the job to. Slight problem we have here is that Fernandes is deaf - not Deaf perhaps, but deaf - and can use ASL - not as fluently as they'd like, perhaps, but she can sign. Apparently, she also has an attitude problem; one of the students' reasons for disliking her is because she "doesn't say hi" (! yes, really!).

Perhaps her biggest sin, however, is the fact that she didn't attend Gallaudet as a student?

We all know how much Gallaudet sees itself as leading the Deaf world and representing us all, etc. Well I'm sorry to say but I don't feel either led nor represented by Gallaudet (and yes, I am Deaf, and yes I sign)... perhaps if I was American, I would, but I'm not.

And if you didn't go to Gallaudet, you are less important than everyone else, somehow. Oh dear - because it's not that big, and er, most Deaf people didn't actually go to Gallaudet. Perhaps I'm not being fair and not all Gally alumni are like that, but Ridor does beautifully sum up my point when he says:

"Adam Stone, who is not affiliated with gallaudet University, wrote on his blog.....blah blah blah..... Please, get a clue! Please stick with your RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) issues where you graduated."

OK, well Ridor obviously didn't agree with Adam (because he seems to like Jane) but is that the best way to argue with him? We are all Deaf, are we not?

As I have said, it IS fab to see Deafies demoing again. I just wish it wasn't cos they didn't like someone..! It reminds me a lot of when we British Deafies demonstrated against James Strachan becoming Chair of the RNId. It didn't feel good then, and I don't suppose it does right now in Gallaudet?

Did we win when we demoed against Stratchan? No.
...I don't think British Deafies really give a stuff who Chairs our organisations, anyway. For the Americans, it seems to be very different. It seems to be REALLY IMPORTANT who is Gally President. Cos they see Gally as leading the Deaf world, to them, the Gally President is a Deaf world leader.

Do I think the Gallaudet Deafies will win against Fernandes? Perhaps.
...But they need a better argument than "she doesn't say hi." (But, what do I know? I didn't go to Gally!)

Good luck!

April 10, 2006

A quick question for Deafies

Sorry it's so blurry! Was asking why so few Deafies blog in BSL (vlog).

TIP: Press 'play' and then 'pause' straight away so that the video loads. When it's loaded press 'play' again.

March 21, 2006

The Three Evils

The Three Evils.jpg

Cool cartoon by British Deaf Cartoonist, Len Hodson!

March 19, 2006

More thoughts on the BSL situation

TIP: See last post!

Summary: Replying to Daz and Alison; what happened to the £1.5m from the Government, what is being done, and who is responsible for what?

March 18, 2006

Happy BSL Day...?

TIP: Press "play" then "pause" straight away, and wait until the line has got to the other end. Then press "play" again and watch it without the stream stopping or jumping!

Summary: A rant about how no-one is really paying attention to BSL Day this year (except people in Preston, it seems)... and a question: should we really bother marking it anyway?

March 17, 2006

Mary Hare Firsts

Mary Hare Firsts claims to publish a number of firsts relating to its ex pupils.

From what I can see, these are all living people, and information that could be searched by anyone! Whilst some of the acomplishments are to be proud of, and there is the history argument, some of it is really going too far.

Did anyone ask this person, if they were happy for this information to be put online:

xxxx xxxx (19xx) is the first old pupil to go through a change of gender in xxxx and changed name to xxxx xxxx.

And why does anyone want to know this:

Hazel Steven (1964) was the first pupil to jump into the school’s new swimming pool in 1971.

This old school thing seriously worries me. People are stuck in the old school days, to the point of obsession, and if they did the same amount of work for living and socialising in the present, perhaps the Deaf Community would be a much better place.

Hot Date (not)!

First, the good old US of A offered us the chance to win a Cochlear Implant. Now we are being offered the chance to win a date with a Deaf Attorney.

Uh? And why would we want to have a date with people who are up themselves?!

To help sponsor the training of a hearing assist dog?

I think not.

March 9, 2006


What is the point of looking for the UK's sexiest ears?! What a waste of time! (And I am wasting MY time blogging about it...!)

February 22, 2006


Bad news is coming soon... I can smell it in the air.

I smell hearie takeover!

I'd know that smell anywhere.

Watch this space............................

February 20, 2006

Just an idea...

Summary: Why don't Deaf bloggers and vloggers meet up at the WFD Congress in Madrid? Blah...

February 10, 2006

Now this one is CRAZY...

I was so gobsmacked when a mate told me there is a new American reality TV programme called Miracle Workers that offers poor people the chance to have free 'miracle' medical treatment in return for being in the programme?! You guessed it, it includes cochlear implants(!)

My friend typed out the first few paragraphs for me....

"it promises to be the most controversial 'reality' television show yet. disney is offering the seriously ill the chance of a 'miracle' cure by becoming a guinea pig for pioneering surgery.

patients requiring brain or spinal tumour treatment and other sufferers of debilitating or life-threatening diseases are invited to take a chnce on Miracle Workers.

patients are introduced to an elite team of surgeons who will offer them a second chance of life if they sign up to breakthrough medical techniques.

the producers are looking for patients who have been given little hope by doctors. they must also be too poor to afford 'elite medical care'.

they will be filmed every step of the way, 'from consultations to surgery to recovery'. but the small print on the patient applicationform states: 'the results of any medical treatment cannot be assured.'"

and here's the list...

"we are particularly interested in finding potential candidates for the following procedures:
brain and spine tumour treatment
deep brain stimulation for essential tremor, parkinson's, or dystonia
cornea transplant
cochlear implant
artificial disc replacement
cranio-facial surgery
bilateral hip replacement
reconstructive surgery for vascular anomalies (excluding hemangioma)
radiosynovectomy (for haemophiliacs)
vascular surgery
rhizotomy surgery"

ref: The Times, Weds February 1 2006, p27

I really don't know what to say!?

February 8, 2006

ANOTHER health warning about cochlear implants!?

Summary: Another FDA warning about cochlear implants?! Got this info from Ridor's blog, which links to this Yahoo! news item.

British Deafies protested about exactly the same thing in 2002.

Seems money is more important!?

February 4, 2006


Next we will have Hearing Monkeys for the Deaf.

February 3, 2006

Wow *gulp*

Click here to read a great, moving poem... I was surprised to find out it is BSL Activist's first one!! Many more please! :-)

February 2, 2006

A Vlog for Jesse

Summary: Click HERE to see Jesse's American BSL Vlog! Nice one.

February 1, 2006

Continuing discussion in BSL...

Summary: Replying to Joe, trying to see if we can have a BSL conversation via vlogs(!) Yes, my hair has grown! My name is Jen not Jenny, thank you! And I agree that it seems weird to reply to BSL vlogs in English. MORE SIGN LANGUAGE VLOGS PLEASE!!

January 31, 2006

A Vlog for Deaf UK

Summary: Wouldn't it be nice if more BSL users created vlogs (videologs, like this) to increase the online presence of BSL, rather than wasting energy by shouting at each other on the Deaf UK egroup? :-)

January 23, 2006

A question about protesting

PS: I know BSL was recognised 3 years ago, not 2! Small mistake, sorry!

January 19, 2006

Deaf pixel rivals

This week two Deaf pixel sites have appeared, firstly and less than 24 hours later, I became aware of Both are UK based, and both appear to be the same, apart from the design. Taking original idea by Alex Tew and modifying it, in this case both 10p per pixel and both wanting to make 100k. When I saw the first site, my reaction was, it had to happen.

WHOIS tells me that was created on the 13 January, and the rival created a day later on the 14th.

Me: WTF? Haven't you guys really got anything better to do? I seriously think this is not going to work. Both your sites will fail, and just cut your costs now to save on hosting. The increase in failure is possibly enhanced by the fact you are out to do the same thing, and it looks like someone trying to make a fast buck.

Don't get me wrong, I WANT Deaf individuals to succeed, I WANT people to take the initiative, but this is so totally the wrong way. This is probably why I am so frustrated at both these sites, it gives your skills, initiative and the possibilities what you could be doing a bad name.

Firstly, I do believe the Deaf set up is much different, and with voluntary organisations crowding the sector, people who want to help us, yadda yadda, any site that has its aim purely to get rich fast WILL NOT WORK.

Why would people go and buy space on your site, when free directories already exist, plus your site will probably get much less traffic than free ones? Granted your site could increase in traffic over time, but right now it doesn't do it.

Rightly or wrongly, the Deaf economy thrives on goodwill, and giving something back. Often it means charity, but sometimes it means giving something. If you were to create a site where 90% of your income was given to X organisation for the purpose of Y, then your idea stands more of a chance. You just take a cut.

Otherwise just stop trying to be rivals in making a fast buck, from doing nothing. That only comes from original ideas. This one certainly is not.

January 16, 2006

Some thoughts about vlogging in BSL

Summary: English blogs aren't always accessible to Deaf BSL users.