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Visually Speaking to provide ASL Lounge at Pride events

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Carleton University
Carleton University

The Deaf Queer organization Visually Speaking is back at Pride events for another year, this time with an American Sign Language (ASL) lounge. The social space is intended for longtime and new signers and the disabled community as a whole to network, hang out, and learn from each other.

Visually Speaking will host its ASL lounge at Broadway/Capitol Hill Pride on June 29, and again at Seattle Center Pride on June 30. A "Signaroke" event will also take place on June 27 at the Crescent Lounge.

While Visually Speaking is not providing ASL interpreters at these Pride events, it does provide sign language instruction and hold events in social spaces, including ASL classes at Gay City: Seattle's LGBTQ Center, and online classes geared toward the LGBTQIA+ community. Gillespie said the group works with and hires various Deaf Queers too.

Interpreters at Pride events can be beneficial for everyone: They ensure that members of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community are fully included in and can engage in the festivities, and also allow hearing attendees a look into the Deaf community, promote empathy, and break down communication barriers.

Given Seattle's rich and diverse Deaf community full of artists, and with many hearing ASL users in Seattle, learning the basics of signing can assist with building meaningful connections among the city's residents.

"Learn ASL — a little goes a long way!" Kellie Gillespie, an ASL instructor at Visually Speaking, told the SGN. "Listen and learn from Deaf folks."

For more information on ASL classes visit https://www.visuallyspeaking.info/links