Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Deaf Girly's Deaf Awareness Week wishes

It's Deaf Awareness Week this week - it officially started yesterday but it was a Bank Holiday and I was having a largely tech-free day of wandering around London getting some fresh air.

But here I am today, raring to go.

This year is a little different for me. This year, I've made the decision to collaborate with a brilliant company on something very important - so look out for this content on my Twitter feed throughout coming days.

So there won't be much extra activity on here... but what I will leave you with is my list of Deaf Awareness Week wishes... if I really could have anything!

1 More subtitles... everywhere

It's no secret that Deafie Blogger and I have been working hard behind the scenes to try and get more subtitles at the cinema at better times and more movies - especially new releases. The steps to achieving this are small right now but we hope when the time comes, with the full support of the D/deaf and Hearing community, we'll be able to show that there is a demand for subtitled cinema and that hearing people are willing to attend them, too. We will keep you posted and when we yell 'CHAAAAARGE!' please promise you will, right into your local cinema to show it and us support. And please sign Deafie Blogger's petition if you haven't already.

It's not just the cinema though - I wish for subtitles across all streaming services such as NOWTV and ITV player. I wish for the ability to autocaption videos on Instagram and Twitter, without having to run them through an app first... although I am still mightily impressed by this latest development.

I wish for everyone who needs subtitles to be able to have them - at museums, doctors' surgeries, appointments, conferences, the theatre, talks, in education.

2 More accessibility everywhere

Plain and simple. I wish the world was more accessible for D/deaf people. I want the people in charge of health care, travel, employment, education, all public services - the list goes on - to take some time to look at how they can make all of this easier to access for us. 

Sure most of us have learnt ways to hack the systems - I have FJM who is my ears even from 4,000 miles away, I have apps, I have customer services people on Twitter who I can reach out to, but it still doesn't change the fact that I am currently overpaying on my flat's contents insurance because the only way to negotiate it was on the phone and I couldn't do that and, at that exact moment in time, I didn't have the energy to 'hack the system' and find a way to do it. After all, hearing people don't have to do that. Why should I?

3 More awareness everywhere

A lot of the time I find my life is made difficult not because people are mean but because they simply don't know what the right thing to do is. Many people have never met someone with a hearing loss before and as no one size fits all with deafness, even if they had, chances are what helped that person might not always help me. I have always made it my policy to be as open as possible to helping people understand not just the generic ways of how to make life easier for D/deaf people but also to help them understand the quirks of my own hearing loss and how that means, they cannot group us together under one big label. We are all different.

My wish is that we continue to raise that awareness for people who are less comfortable or able to state their needs, which is why I'm going to be sharing all the deaf awareness tips I find this week on my social channels. There are some brilliant campaigns going on - so don't forget to have a google and check them out.

4 More employment opportunities everywhere

As a deaf person, I can count on one hand the number of times I've missed out on a job because of my deafness. But all three times, weirdly, the people chose to tell me straight out that it was because I was deaf. These jobs were not jobs where hearing was compulsory. But these people had made up their minds - a hearing person would be more efficient. I was out of the running.

The last time this happened, for a crappy little job, at a crappy little company, I took the time to write them a letter explaining why 'THAT WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE' and while I never got a reply, I hope that realising how close they came to a call from my lawyer, has made them approach who they employ slightly differently. In all honesty, probably not.

Right now, I am in an amazing job with the most insanely supportive boss. I have video calls with people from all over the world. I have had colleagues drive to Walmart in the hour before our scheduled call to buy a web cam because their laptop one is playing up. I can honestly say that this company I work for now sees my talent first.

And that's what I wish for everyone. I have no idea how we get there but these are wishes right? And sometimes wishes do come true.

5 More support everywhere

I am pretty lucky that on a personal level and indeed through Twitter and Instagram, I have an amazingly supportive network of people. People who, in the 11 years since I started blogging have been there through some insanely challenging times, picked me up off the floor, carried me for a bit when I've not felt like carrying myself.

Deafness can be incredibly isolating. It can be scary, frustrating, it can affect your mental health. 

I wish that there is more support for anyone who needs it, however they need it. I appreciate it won't be easy, but I will do whatever I can to help. Because, as my friend and campaigner Deafie Blogger says, 'Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support.' and she's right!

Happy Deaf Awareness Week peeps. And if I bump into a genie in a lamp, I'll tell him these five wishes. But in the meantime, please know, that I personally will be doing all I can to make them come true.

DG
x

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Deaf Girly's Deaf Awareness Week wishes

It's Deaf Awareness Week this week - it officially started yesterday but it was a Bank Holiday and I was having a largely tech-free day ...