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.
Since then my ASL has gotten pretty rusty, but I still have ties to Deaf culture via friends.
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).