Around 19 years ago Mia and I went to St. Croix for our anniversary. We stayed at a gay resort which turned out to be kind of crummy. Out of all the folks staying there, we wound up hitting it off and becoming fast friends with a straight couple — Jennie and Michael. Jennie was hearing and Michael was Deaf. We wound up hanging out together the entire trip and learning a few signs, but we mostly relied on Jennie to interpret.
When Mia and I got back to Philly we signed up to audit the Community Collage of Philadelphia ASL Interpreter Program and wound up studying American Sign Language for 2 1/2 years. The next time we hung out with Jennie and Michael we could communicate pretty freely. Even though they’ve moved to Wyoming we still keep in touch via Facebook, etc.
TL;DR: I try to be a good ally to the Deaf & Hard of Hearing community.
When this blog post came out on captioning wordpress.tv videos I was like, “cool, I’ll do that.” I started captioning my video from WCSF 2013 and, wow, it was painful.
I don’t really like watching myself on video anyway, but slowly typing out everything you’re saying really gets you intimate with your verbal ticks.
- And then…
It’s hard, but if you’re a presenter I would highly recommend captioning your videos — most importantly to make your videos accessible for Deaf and Hard of Hearing folks, but also to become a better speaker. I finished typing my captions on WCNYC dev day and the next day when I presented I only said “so” once.
The hardest part about getting better at something is to come face-to-face with your weaknesses, but it’s totally worth it.
Here is my video with captions. Don’t drink every time I say “so” unless you want to get really drunk. I promise not to get you drunk at WCSF 2014 (with my words anyway).