We at SAYiT have been hosting our Fruitbowl and Prism Youth Groups online (via Zoom) during lockdown. In previous weeks we’ve had chair Yoga tutorials from Youth Worker Dylan, Cooking classes from ‘Shutty Chef’ Anne, and Creative Writing workshops with Rum and Hannah…
On Thursday 4th June we welcomed the wonderful Luis and Arran from Deaf LGBTIQA, along with fabulous interpreter and gay man Peter Abraham.
We at SAYiT have decided to embrace some of the positives of being restricted to online communication with our young people. There are barriers for some, and we aim to address as many of these as possible, but there is also an unexpected win from these times – some of our young people are able to attend our groups more frequently than before and are flourishing as a result of this!
We have chosen to use this time to ensure that we continue to be inclusive and accessible, to educate ourselves about the lives of all members of the LGBT+ community, and to welcome organisations from further afield to learn from and engage with.
Arran explaining to the young people
Luis teaching the sign for ‘Trans’
Luis and Arran explained the history of Deaf LGBTIQA – our young people were so engaged. We were amazed at how new the organization is – just over a year old!
In Early 2018 a Facebook group called ‘Deaf LGBTQ’ was set up by Richard Carter – with over 600 members joining in a 5 month duration. In July 2018 the Deaf LGBTIQA website was set up – funded by deaf LGBTIQA people!
Luis and Arran went on to tell our young people more about their lives as members of the Deaf LGBTIQA community.
They then treated us to an intro to LGBTIQA signing – teaching a glossary of signs from BSL for different terms related to queer identities.
We got some brilliant action shots of this part of the session:
Our Older Fruitbowl Group learning some LGBTIQA signs in BSL
And our Younger Fruitbowl Group too!
Luis and Arran were brilliant (and patient!) teachers. It was so empowering to learn how to communicate LGBT+ identities in BSL – especially with the lived experience of Luis and Arran.
Our young people then asked Luis and Arran some thoughtful questions – ranging from specific signs for identities and pronouns, to experiences of working, and advice on how to make LGBT+ spaces more accessible for Deaf people.
We were lucky to have some of our amazing Volunteers to help out with the session. Here’s what superstar volunteer Chev had to say about the session:
I loved the session last week and felt like it was waaay too short, we could have spoken with Luis and Arran for hours. It was amazing to see the young people being truly engaged, empathetic and generally enjoying the session too, we all learnt some sign language and also discussed the importance of LGBT events being inclusive of deaf people. I think SAYiT hosting deaf LGBT+ events and people is important to highlight the variety of people in our community. It also enables us to be more inclusive and learn about how we can more accessible and supportive, Arran highlighted last week how being LGBT+ puts you in a minority and also being deaf puts you in to an even smaller minority. It means it’s out duty as a LGBT youth charity to build bridges within the community so that we all feel connected.
And our brilliant volunteer Lucy who supported Younger Fruitbowl told us:
I thought the session was incredible, something that might have seemed impossible at first became a fun session which all the young people, including myself, thoroughly enjoyed. I believe SAYiT strives to be inclusive in every way possible and the session was just a clear reflection of that. It has encouraged me to continue to learn BSL, and understand how important it is to learn the basics of the language!
Thanks again to Luis and Arran and the Deaf LGBTIQA team (and Peter!), to our brilliant volunteers, and as ever – our fabulous young people. We loved the session so much that we’ve invited Deaf LGBTIQA back to our next Prism session!
Luis and Arran’s work has also strengthened the Youth Work Team’s plans to take a BSL course together, and to consider Deaf Awareness courses for the team – an important and actionable way to make our space as welcoming and accessible as possible.
Deaf LGBTIQA – find out more
The Deaf LGBTIQA project seeks to support, inform and represent deaf people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning or Asexual. We are a small project run by deaf volunteers. Our project was set up in 2018. Donations can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the paypal option via our website donation page http://deaflgbtiqa.org.uk/donations/ Any donation or support is greatly appreciated. With resources and funding we are a small charity not registered with the Charity Commission for the time being. However we do have governing documents and a bank society account that is managed by three members.