How Did Queer ASL Start?

We originally started in 2009 as a free drop-in bi-monthly ASL club for queer & transgender folks in Victoria, BC. The club was created by Zoée Montpetit, a Deaf Queer person.

 

12294739_774305976012584_1430653125896483125_nWhen Zoée became more involved in the Victoria BC queer community, she found herself as the sole signing Deaf queer. With this in mind, she created an ASL club, held in her living room, that mostly composed of her friends and friends of friends as a way to open up more communication access for herself in the community. She quickly recognized a need for safe(r) spaces for queer and trans folks to learn ASL and how the results can really benefit signing folks in queer communities. 

When Zoée moved to Vancouver, she started to offer classes geared at the Vancouver queer & trans communities. Over the years, Queer ASL has continued to evolve in various ways such as increasing the levels offered, creating homework videos featuring the local queer & trans signing community, moving to more accessible locations, being run on donations only, and bringing in new Deaf Queer instructors.

Nine years later, Queer ASL is composed of a group of Deaf Queer instructors, three level classes (101, 102, and 103), and mostly takes place in Vancouver BC. In addition, Queer ASL now provides other services like workshops, ASL promotional videos for organizers to better reach the Deaf community, and booking ASL interpreters for organizers.

The image is of some of the original Victoria ASL club folks – on the top we are fingerspelling ASL CLUB.