Labour MSP Mark Griffin’s British Sign Language (BSL) (Scotland) Bill has been formally introduced in the Scottish Parliament.
To see this article in BSL, courtesy of Tessa Padden, from our supporter, Signworld, who offer online BSL learning, press play below.
The Bill, which seeks to increase awareness of BSL and improve the services available for Scotland’s Deaf population, has been widely supported within the Deaf community and received the support of 43 MSPs from all political parties to move it to Stage One proceedings.
The Bill would place a requirement on the Scottish Government to produce a national plan for BSL. Relevant public authorities would also have to develop their own plans, highlighting what they will do to increase awareness of the language within their organisations and across Scotland.
1,192 responded to the public consultation, a high figure for Members Bills.
I am delighted that my British Sign Language Bill has been formally introduced.
BSL is the first language of many Deaf people in Scotland. It is the only language some have ever known, or ever will know, yet getting access to basic information in BSL can be incredibly difficult.
Simple things that so many of us take for granted such as arranging a medical appointment or reporting a crime are incredibly difficult for those who communicate in BSL. This has to change.
My Bill seeks to increase awareness of BSL throughout Scottish society, put pressure on the Scottish Government and relevant public authorities to develop action plans on improving access to information in BSL and work towards breaking down the barriers facing Scotland’s Deaf population on a daily basis.
I look forward to working with the members and stakeholders, as they look closely at the proposals over the next few months.
Professor Graham Turner, Director of the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies at Heriot-Watt University said:
We warmly welcome the BSL Bill and hope it will create the circumstances in which BSL is appropriately recognised as one of Scotland’s native languages.
The cultural heritage of BSL users must be protected and promoted so signers can flourish in a smarter, healthier and fairer society.
Over 12,500 British Sign Language users share far fewer than 100 professional interpreters in Scotland. It’s vital this Bill harnesses the hearing population’s growing interest in learning BSL and experiencing its creative richness; provides equal access to vital everyday services for BSL users; and enables Deaf people to secure and sustain employment that recognises their full potential.
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. How to turn on captions on your smartphone
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children