Deaf Rave Deaf people face barriers all the time.Troi Lee

Deaf people face barriers all the time.

I’m determined to make sure we can enjoy music too Troi LeeWednesday 24 Oct 2018

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Deaf Rave is an event designed specifically for deaf clubbers and performers (Picture: Mohamed Zahid) Deaf people face barriers all the time. It’s no coincidence that deafness is known as an ‘invisible disability’. Isolation, unemployment, lack of British Sign Language (BSL) in mainstream schools and the daily frustrations of communication barriers make deaf people one of the most marginalised groups in society. This isn’t new; we have been consistently excluded.

As deaf people, we are often grouped together and treated in a particular way, but in fact there are many gradations of deafness: from those who hear reasonably well with a combination of hearing aids and lip reading to those who can only communicate by signing. Most of the time we need to be face to face with a speaker to understand what is being said, so mixing in a group of hearing people can be very difficult.

I wish hearing people had more deaf awareness and greater empathy for our condition.  We face exclusion on a daily basis – the situation is dire at the moment and it’s heart-breaking to see the effects. Such exclusion can lead to unemployment and mental health issues – deaf people are twice as likely to suffer from depression as hearing people. We have also been denied access to proper communication in schools due in part to government funding cuts and inadequate facilities – this has to stop. If we all had better access, the world would be a better place for us.  No one likes being an outsider.

I must say, however, that the stigma of being a deaf music fan is lessening due to the rise of things like sign-singing (a signing interpretation of lyrics from songs) and organisations such as Deaf Zone, who hold BSL classes for festival-goers and who have provided interpreters for Glastonbury since 2009. Also, there has been a tremendous push over the years, led by Suzanne Bull MBE from Attitude is Everything, to break down barriers to make events and festivals more accessible to deaf and disabled people.

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There are many fantastic people trying their best to raise deaf awareness in this field – but there is still work to do. A few years ago, I was out with a group of deaf friends and we tried to go into a nightclub.  I was the only one in the group who could speak and the bouncer told me, ‘You’re deaf – you lot are not coming in’. This attitude fuelled me to create a space for deaf clubbers and in 2003 Deaf Rave was born. We’ve not looked back since.

Deaf Rave is now a quarterly event in London designed specifically for deaf clubbers and performers. ‘Our clubbers rely on walls, pillars, any surface to feel the vibrations. We need the baddest and loudest sound systems you can get! ‘ (Picture: Deaf Rave)

The first Deaf Rave pulled in 700 deaf people, 200 of those came from overseas – with people travelling from Europe, America, even as far as Australia. This put Deaf Rave on the map.  It was a great success and we were invited all over Europe as our deaf cousins wanted to create a similar concept across the continent.

Now, with social media we can reach so many more people.  Our Facebook group has opened up so many doors because the information has been made accessible to people all over the world. My ultimate dream is to hold the first UK outdoor festival in London for deaf people.  I have been involved in events for the deaf for 15 years now and I really want to finally break through the boundaries to create a fantastic all-inclusive festival for everybody! I’d be doing this especially for our deaf community, the deafblind and the disabled to give them the experience of a great festival – something many will not have had before.  Opening doors is the key to make this happen!

 

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/24/deaf-people-face-barriers-all-the-time-im-determined-to-make-sure-we-can-enjoy-music-too-8069594/?fbclid=IwAR3hgMCwfwtt3H4mzsSP2rUzuXHa-2TeB5T0XPs08_9SUXkiaTpWv6z6XfU?ito=cbshare

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