Queer ASL focuses on introducing basic American Sign Language and Deaf culture to queer & transgender learners. This involves learning the alphabet, finger-spelling, facial expressions, vocabulary, and grammar structures. At home, students access homework videos that feature the local Vancouver BC queer signing community and a collection of Deaf culture information such as identity politics, cultural norms, history, current topics and issues, etc. The courses have a voice-off policy in order to both be respectful of signing spaces and to immerse ourselves in a signing environment. People who complete Queer ASL classes are able to carry basic conversations with signing queer folks and have a better understanding of the deaf/signing community.
The courses are taught through using powerpoints, videos, demonstrations, dialogue practice via partners and groups. All instructors are deaf and queer. Deaf queer guests (often folks featured in the homework videos) at times visit to provide additional perspectives and show students how we all have different signing styles. By having guests, this allows both signing queers and Queer ASL students become familiar with each other, thus building a bridge.
We generally have 3-4 cycles of classes per year. To keep an eye on upcoming classes, join our mailing list and follow us on social media (facebook and instagram). During the pandemic, our classes are held online only. After the pandemic we will offer a mixture of in-person and online classes.
Queer ASL 101 (8 weeks) is for people who have no previous (or very little) experience with ASL. This course covers learning the alphabet, finger-spelling, introductions, likes & dislikes, languages, locations, and much more. At the end, students take turns telling an autobiography about themselves.
Queer ASL 102 (8 weeks) is for people who have a little bit of experience with ASL. This course covers learning about activities, living arrangements, people, transportation, and much more. At the end, students share & discuss photos of their chosen families with each other.
Queer ASL 103 (8 weeks) is for people who have a little bit of experience with ASL. This course digs into the world of time grammar, topic + comment structure, directional verbs, space use, and much more. At the end, students do an overall ASL 101 – 103 review through activities.
Queer ASL 104 (7 weeks) is for people who have completed ASL 101 – 103 or have similar amount of ASL knowledge. This course exclusively focuses on ASL storytelling which involves learning about ASL classifiers, mouth morphemes, role shifting, and developing their storytelling skills. Through-out the course, students work on a children story of their own. One week before their final class – each student will have the opportunity to get one-on-one storytelling input from their teacher via video. At their last class, students will take turns telling their stories at class (this can be optional).
A bit more about Queer ASL:
- The courses are taught through using powerpoints, videos, demonstrations, dialogue practice via partners and groups.
- Class happens once a week.
- We run on a sliding scale donation.
- There will be 1-2 hours worth of homework weekly.
- Classroom is voice-off at all times.
- Access & location information for our in-person classes (currently not happening during the pandemic).