Sign language interpreters are powerful gatekeepers between Deaf people and a hearing world. Deaf people often require interpretation to communicate with others about sensitive, personal and emotional matters (e.g., sexual health, domestic violence), and may be victims of their interpreters’ values, biases and sense of shame. Opportunities for Deaf LGBTQI+ persons to enjoy LGBTQI+ community and access the services and programmes provided by LGBTQI+ organizations are similarly hindered by language barriers. This year-long project supports those who want to bridge the gap between the hearing and Deaf worlds.
The Sign Together Courses consist of three levels:
IMPORTANT: Please note that this course is for LGBTQI+ identified people; and people/organizations that provide services to LGBTQI+ communities.
Application Deadline was 30th JUNE 2021 | Over 100+ Applications Received!
Unfortunately, we could not accept everyone who applied due to the limitations of the virtual platform BUT we hope to have a second iteration of the programme in the future. Stay tuned to our socials and website for more info.
The inclusion of a sign language interpreter as a peer leader in a 2018-19 CAISO community safety initiative called Safer Together resulted in a participation rate by Deaf people of one in seven - a record occurrence. When the Deaf participants were asked what was the most powerful way to address homophobia faced by Deaf LGBTQI+ persons, they responded: more hearing people learning to sign. This response inspired the then CAISO Director of Imagination, Colin Robinson, to initiate the development of the Sign Together project.
This project was designed in collaboration with Dr Ben Braithwaite of the Lloyd Best Institute of the Caribbean. The project includes several linked activities: 1) Training in Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language; 2) Peer Support for LGBTQI+ Deaf Leaders; 3) LGBTQI+ Competency and Sensitivity Training for Active Sign Interpreters; 4) Group Activities.
The classes will be led by five Deaf Sign Language Educators who are all self-advocates, with years of experience in teaching sign language. The participants will be guided through the complex history of sign language usage in Trinidad and Tobago, the cultural context and lived experiences of the Deaf community and of course, Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language.
Other activities will be organised through the year and recruitment conducted through the educators’ and project leaders' networks. Sign Together is a brave space where we will learn from each other and journey towards a just future.
For more info, please contact the Project Coordinator Johannah-Rae Reyes at email@example.com.