ADA and HR 620 | Deaf Awareness Month


Hello and welcome. Today I want to discuss a bill that Congress is trying to get through right now, HR 620. I’m not going to go into great detail about this, since Annie Elainey made a video explaining it a bit more in depth.

Image result for americans with disabilities act

But basically, this bill wants to roll back protections afforded to disabled people under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). This act improved accessibility for a wide range of disabled people, including deaf people. What HR 620 will do is actually make it much more difficult for disabled people to get their accessibility, and essentially let businesses off the hook (re: protecting them) for not being accommodating. This is just unacceptable. Businesses have had 27 whole years to comply with the ADA, and have we seen substantial change? Not really. Sure, in newer buildings, they follow ADA code…For now. If HR 620 passes, who knows what will happen then? Oh, and I’d like to add this — even in buildings that are up to ADA code, they’re frequently barely up to code. They meet the bare minimums of universal accessibility and call it good enough. So many businesses genuinely do not care if disabled people are not able to access them and their services. This makes me angry.

The fact that Congress is trying to get this through right now makes me angry. We have already put up with abled people discriminating against us for so long, and ADA was finally a big step in the right direction. Now Congress wants us to take a step back? On top of rolling back LGBTQ+ protections, civil rights, health care? This is just not acceptable. If you’re able, PLEASE get in touch with your representatives and tell them what you think. Many have the option to call, text, or email them. There’s also a RESIST bot that you can text that will do the work for you. I’ll leave links below, they’re in Annie’s video as well. Please do what you can to make sure our voices are heard and that this bill does NOT pass.

H.R. 620 information and summary:

Find your representative using your zip code:

Text RESIST to 50409

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deaf vs Deaf | Deaf Awareness Month


Hello and welcome to another Deaf Awareness Month post! In my previous post/video, I briefly mentioned big D Deaf and small d deaf. Today I’m going more in-depth about that.

Image result for deaf

Image result for deaf

The simplest explanation of the difference is this:

Big D = culturally Deaf

Small d = medically deaf


In the community, Deaf is when you’re considered a person who is fluent in sign, knows about Deaf culture, is involved with the Deaf community, and is proud to be Deaf. On the other hand, deaf is when you’re a person who has hearing loss but has no connection to the Deaf community, don’t know sign (or are barely able to), and chooses to not join the community. Another label that kind of blurs that line is hard of hearing or HH/HoH for short. These people are often considered to be people who are involved with the community, but have fairly decent hearing, can speak pretty well, and often can sign but not fluently.

Now with that introduction to the terms for those who don’t know them, and before I go any further, I want to make something absolutely clear. I personally think these terms can be—excuse my language—bullshit sometimes, and they often lead to unnecessary gatekeeping. There are plenty of people who are technically HH but consider themselves Deaf. There are people who are d/Deaf who also call themselves HH. My opinion is that this is just like any other identity—you want to call yourself _____? Okay! You do you. My issue is when people try to tell others that they’re not “Deaf enough” or “you’re too hearing-minded to be Deaf.” That needs to stop. That’s gatekeeping and it’s awful, no matter what community it is. A lot of Deaf people forget that roughly 90% of us are born to hearing families, and only 25% of parents with deaf children sign with them. So many of us grow up with little to no exposure of the Deaf community, so saying things like “you’re not Deaf enough” or “you’re too hearing-minded” is harmful. And what irritates me even more is that frequently, those very same people who say those things once came from the same place. There’s a great short film that shows this so well, called “My Song.” You can find it here. Basically, it’s about a woman who’s discovering her Deaf identity and her struggles with it. It’s about 23 minutes but worth the watch. (Also! The video is in BSL, but it is captioned.) The Deaf community is already a small community, we do not need more separations and deciding who’s “Deaf enough.” That leads me into my next thing.

I have seen some people discussing how to refer to this community properly and the most common one is this: d/Deaf and HH. That is probably the most inclusive one we have right now. Obviously, this would be used in a situation where you’re referring to the WHOLE community regardless of “status.” Here’s what I think. It might be simpler to say deaf community when you’re referring to everyone, regardless of hearing level or cultural knowledge. If you want to refer more specifically to those who sign and are culturally aware, or consider themselves Deaf, I’d either use Deaf community or simply signing community. I personally would like to try and use signing community or signers more often because that includes CODAs, interpreters, family, and anyone else who signs and is involved with the community. It takes the focus away from hearing level and “cultural knowledge.” In Finland, they have a word for this: viittomakielinen. Literally translated, it means “sign language person.” Viittoma: sign, kieli: language, nen: person. However, in Finnish, this does not mean just what it says in English. It means the person as a whole, with a cultural and linguistic history. It’s like if you say that person is Basque, you understand that they have their own language, culture, and history. Also, viittomakielinen doesn’t necessarily mean someone who simply knows sign (like an interpreter). I’m not going to go further because I do not know Finnish at all, so if I got anything wrong, please correct me! But this is what I learned when I was at Frontrunners. My point is, I love the fact that the Finns have a way to express this concept, and even people who have never met a Deaf person before understand what viittomakielinen means. In English, the closest equivalent would be signer, but that doesn’t translate very well in the written word.

The point of all this is: gatekeeping of who’s “Deaf enough” or “too hearing-minded” needs to stop, and the Deaf community needs to be more welcoming of everyone. We’re small, we don’t need to be any smaller.

And with that, I will stop for today. Hope you learned something new, and let me know what your thoughts are (regardless of who you are) in the video comments!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made an one-time donation to my ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Disability and Queerness | Deaf Awareness Month


Welcome to the first post of Deaf Awareness Month! I’m starting off big – combining disability and queerness. I want to be clear here that when I say disability, I’m including physical, emotional, and educational disabilities. Basically, any kind of disability – and yes, I’m including deaf people in this. For those who aren’t aware, Deaf people generally don’t consider themselves disabled, just Deaf. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the capitalization of deaf changed. Quickly – large D is culturally deaf, small d is medically deaf. I will be making a post/video discussing that later on. With that being made clear, let’s get into today’s video. Far too often, in ANY organization, business, company, disabled people and queer people are either forgotten or marginalized. This is obvious to anyone who pays attention. That isn’t really what I want to discuss today. What I DO want to discuss is that I’m pretty disappointed in the inclusion of disabled people when it comes to queer organizations, businesses, companies, and even events. Actually…especially events. I did a basic search for the word disability on websites connected to queer organizations. The pages that I searched are: GLAAD, PFLAG, HRC, GLAD (law), Pride at Work, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, and ILGA. On most of these websites, the only mention of disability is in the Equal Employment Opportunity policy or job postings. I understand that these organizations are focused on advocating for queer people, and disabled people aren’t a priority. Some of you might even say that shouldn’t be a part of their advocacy, leave it to the disability organizations. However, that’s the same argument people gave when gays and lesbians said “us first, then trans people.” Or something along those lines. The same mentality often happens in any other civil rights group: us first, then you. I disagree with that sentiment. The more you include now, the less work later. Queer disabled people face two different sets of discrimination, and in some cases, a whole unique set of discrimination that one or the other doesn’t experience. Too often, advocacy is narrowly focused on one aspect of a person’s identity, at the cost of other aspects. A really good word here is intersectionality. I have a collab planned to discuss more in-depth about that, so I won’t elaborate too much here. But basically, intersectionality is being mindful of the fact that a single identity does not exist in a bubble and WILL be influenced by other identities. I want to give you some stats related to queer and disabled students. These stats come from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the findings show that these students are:

  • more likely to have experienced all types of disciplinary actions (47.8%) than their LGBTQ non-disabled peers (36.9%);
  • more likely to drop out of school (5.8%) than their LGBTQ non-disabled peers (2.6%);
  • more likely to have been involved in the justice system (4.4%) than their LGBTQ non-disabled peers (1.7%).

In addition, queer disabled youth who are also POC are even more likely to be unfairly treated. Unfortunately, that doesn’t come as a surprise. The stats I just gave you are focused on youth, but I’m sure the stats in the adult population would look fairly similar. There are a lot of studies out there that show what percentage of disabled people have been in the justice system or are unemployed. And, of course, how many queer people have been in the justice system or are unemployed… But what about that intersection? I honestly don’t know. There’s also no definite number of how many disabled people are also queer (or vice versa). However, I did find this HuffPost article from 2016 that quotes from a Center for American Progress report. The quote says, “nearly one in five adults has a disability, or will experience one at some point in their life. It’s estimated that between 3 to 5 million Americans with disabilities also identify as queer.” The article also discusses different ways how the queer community does/doesn’t include disabled people. However, most of the disabilities this article mentions are HIV/AIDS, PTSD, or invisible disabilities. No mention of other types of disability so take this article with a grain of salt.

I think this is a good place to stop, so that’s all for today. I’m sure there’s a lot more information, but this is a good start. When I make that collab, I will link it here. I want to know your thoughts on this, please leave them in the comments! (Also, if you happen to know of a job that’d be good for me, that’d be awesome!)

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made an one-time donation to my ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Bias on Deaf YouTube


It’s been a while. Hello and welcome back. Today, I want to talk about something that I’ve seen happening in the Deaf YouTuber community. It might just be me, but I felt I needed to say something and see if it’s not just me. I want to be clear here, this is not the fault of the YouTubers. Or the viewers, in a way. Also that this is not something that I care about, but just a bit disappointing to see.

What I’m seeing is related to subscriber count. I follow quite a few of my fellow Deaf YouTubers, and every once in a while, I’ll glance at their subscriber count. Mostly just to see if they are growing or stuck at a number. I absolutely want to see everyone grow, but over time I was a bit taken aback at the numbers comparing people who are verbal or mixed verbal/sign and those who sign only with no voice. Those who have sound/voice seem to be growing much faster than those who do not. I can’t say for sure why this is, but I have a guess. I think it’s an inherent – unintentional but inherent – bias of people preferring to watch videos that have sound and are being spoken in their native language. I’m sure there are some people who click away from videos that are in sign because they assume they won’t be able to understand (and don’t consider that there most likely will be captions since we’re usually way more accommodating to them than vice versa). That’s why I have my videos set to automatically turn on captions by default, but still… My disability is a bit more “visible” than those who speak, and it’s easy to kind of forget the verbal ones are disabled.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just making things up, maybe not. What do you think? Let me know in the comments. I know today was a short post, but it was just something that was bothering me for a while. I’m definitely planning on getting another one up sooner than later! If you want to support my content, I have Patreon and ko-fi. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Media, the Real World, and Accessibility


Hello! I’m Rogan and welcome. I had someone comment on one of my videos a while ago, asking me to discuss my experiences with online media, the Internet, etc., and accessibility in relation to that. So I thought that would be the post today. Now, I want to be clear that what I discuss in this is more from my personal experiences. I can’t sign for all Deaf people because we all have different ways of interacting with the world. So keep that in mind.

Image result for closed captionsThe main issue for us Deaf people online is the lack of captions. That’s the biggest accessibility issue for us. For DeafBlind, blind, and others, it’s a completely different thing, I can’t sign for them. For me, the biggest issue is captions. Yes, in the past few years there has been quite a bit of improvement, but we still have a long way to go. For example, look at the news. Often their most recent uploads don’t have captions, so we have to wait until later to get captions. Or we have to put up with live captioning. It really isn’t the best, because they’re not in sync with what people are saying. That’s why on YouTube (mostly), there’s been a big push for accessibility with actual captions by using the hashtag #NoMoreCraptions, or #CaptionThis. Those two are big pushes for YouTubers to do more captions on their videos. So yes, there has been an improvement in that area but there’s still a lot of work to do. Onto another thing. It’s really nice and beneficial that FaceTime and Skype were invented. Because, obviously, I can’t hear on the phone. So… Those two are really great ways to have conversations in sign, and not have to text or type everything. There’s also Glide, which is like video texting. That’s really nice!

SVRS_logoWe also have various Video Relay Services (VRS). I call whoever I want, then I connect to a video chat with an interpreter, and they speak for me. So I sign whatever I want to say and they speak to whoever I’m calling, and they sign whatever they say to me. It can be my doctor, or my bank, or whatever. So that is nice. For VRS, we have four large companies right now – Sorenson, Convo, Purple, and ZVRS. Those are the big ones. For those services, we have different ways of using them. First, a physical video phone, connected to a TV. Second, an app on our mobile or our laptop, or even online. That’s great that we have different options of how to use it.

A really frustrating and annoying thing about everything being online, everyday living being online is that often customer support has to be done through a call. Companies have gotten better about providing a live chat with an actual person, or providing an email address that we can email. But certain things still require a phone. Banks for example. If your account is locked for whatever reason, you have to call them. Which I think is kind of silly because anyone can just call and say, “Hello this is _____” and get in that way. So how does that make it more “secure”?? Also. I’m not always able to use VRS so that’s one downside. A good example of not being able to use VRS is when I left the country for nine months. I wasn’t aware that I was supposed to inform the VRS company before I left the country that I needed to be able to use VRS outside of the country. There’s also a limited time I can use it, for 30 days or something, if I’m out of the country. So. The whole nine months, I wasn’t able to use VRS at all because I didn’t inform them beforehand. Now, before y’all get all mad yelling “it’s not fair!” Hold your horses! It’s not the VRS company’s fault. It’s the laws under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The law says that you can’t use VRS services outside of the country. You have to be an US resident, and living in the country, and actually be in the country to use it. So it’s not the VRS company’s fault. It is annoying though!

b 2 travelThe person who posted that comment also asked about airports, trains, and so on, with accessibility for that. We live in an extremely audio-centric world. Airports, trains, etc., will have announcements over the PA system. They’ll be announcing the train is arriving now, this flight is boarding now, and so on. Restaurants and malls usually have music playing on the speakers, and if there’s an emergency, it’s announced over the system. All of that… And often, we don’t really have any way for us Deaf people to get that information. Looking at airlines when they do boarding, some will have a TV showing “Group A: 1-30 boarding now.” While they do have that – and it is nice – it’s not always accurate because sometimes they won’t update the TV at the same time they announce it. Really? Often, I will just go up to the desk in front of the gate, and let them know I’m deaf and that I can’t hear their announcements, please let me know when it’s my turn to board. Frequently, they will just let me pre-board because it’s easier that way than trying to know what group I’m in, and finding me during the boarding chaos, and such. They tend to do pre-boarding, sometimes they don’t, but they do tend to let me know it’s time to board. That’s great, while trains on the other hand… Trains don’t have a front gate desk or anything like that. Hence, I will often have to hope this is the right train, or go up and ask another person at the train station. I ask them if this is their train too, and if it is, perfect, I wait with that person until it arrives. That’s kind of annoying I have to depend on strangers to tell me when it’s time to get on MY train. Understand that this is in the US. A lot of train stations aren’t really…that good. Compared to Europe anyway. When I was in Europe, oh yes! Beautiful! I never really had to worry that much about if I was on the right train or if it was time to get off, etc. It’s very accessible there. While here… Not really. I love traveling, I do. But that aspect of traveling is what I really hate, depending on strangers to tell me what’s going on.

I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to say. I hope I did, and if I forgot something – oh well. I’ll just leave a comment below the video if I think of something else I didn’t say. I hope you learned something new about Deaf people and how we get through everyday life. If you have any questions, or want to see me chat about a specific topic, let me know in the comments below the video. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.