An interview with a Deaf activist (level B2)

Most of this interview is in its original format, with slight changes made so it suits a blog format.

What inspired you to start your YouTube Channel/Blog?

As a teen I wanted somewhere to share my frustrations and talk about my experiences of living life with deafness. Someone close to me suggested writing a blog, and there, Deafie Blogger was born. It’s a platform where I share stories about my life, challenges/obstacles, how I overcome them, experiences, achievements, and inspiring others with my motto: “Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support.”

What are your tips for hearing people who are interacting with members of the D/deaf community?

– Speak normally, clearly and use body language/facial expressions/gestures to communicate

– If people don’t understand, please repeat or phrase in a different way — please don’t give up/or say “it doesn’t matter”, or “I’ll tell you later.” We want to know what you said!

– Write or type it down/use diagrams.

– Ensure good lighting/minimal background noise/please don’t cover your mouth or turn away when speaking.

– Learn some basic sign language — it goes a long way!

What would you recommend to make a YouTube channel more friendly for members of the D/deaf community?

Post engaging content things people wish to watch. Topical videos, personal videos, discussion videos, Q&A’s they all work well. Try searching for topics on YouTube and seeing whether there’s a gap in the market. Think about the gaps that exist and what you personally can create.

Think about thumbnail images make it eye-catching and visually relevant for D/deaf people, especially it’s a good prompt to what the video is about and encourages them to watch.

Add tags to your videos make the title and subheading/descriptions searchable and descriptive, and informative. Provide links.

Finally, SUBTITLES! Please subtitle/caption all YouTube videos. This makes it accessible for D/deaf people, as well as other languages, or people with disabilities/learning disabilities etc. It also increases SEO, engagement, and views. If you can’t add subtitles, please provide a transcript.

Could you please tell me about subtitled cinema: Why did the campaign start, and what still needs to be done?

Born out of frustration of not being able to go to the cinema on a regular basis or to see a new film release with friends or family, I wanted to do something about this, so my #SubtitledCinema Campaign began. I have had meetings with industry leaders to bring about change, but it’s a slow process. Now with COVID-19, I hope this won’t affect the campaign or put it back to how it originally was.

Anything else you feel is important?

Deaf awareness and accessibility are the two things important to me. Communication is a two way process; we have to meet in the middle; the emphasis is not all on the deaf person. Making services/videos/websites/content accessible to D/deaf people is important; providing accessible contact methods too. We have an equal right to access it; we shouldn’t have to ask. Deaf awareness and learning about deafness, about communication methods, sign language, lip-reading and so on, and the varied levels of hearing loss, makes so much difference.

For an explanation of the term D/deaf, see the following link:

More info about Deafie Blogger and the #SubtitledCinema Campaign can be found on her blog, more general info about her Deaf activism can be found on the other sites listed below: