As most of those who regularly visit ReNude Pride already know, I am profoundly Deaf. My first language as a child (and the same is true of my identical twin brother) was signed. The same is true today. My parents were taught GSL (Greek Sign Language) as children and that enabled them to communicate with Twin (Alex) and me. Once we started school, American Sign Language (ASL) was taught to us and we, in turn, instructed our parents and our brothers.
In honor of June as GLBTQ Nude Pride month, I thought it might be both educational and fun to share a few basic signs here as a way to expand language ability and comprehension among those reading or visiting here. The graphics included in this post were sent to me by one of my cousins who is also Deaf and gay. There are numerous visual ASL tutorials as well as sign language instruction in other languages online. Just type the language that you are interested in viewing. In your search browser, type in “american sign language,” or “british sign language” or “greek sign language.” You get the picture!
In all signed language, you use your dominant hand to create your sign. For example, it you’re right-handed, you sign with that hand. If you’re left-handed, you sign with that one. If you’re ambidextrous, use whichever hand you prefer. However, just as in writing, you don’t switch hands in the middle of a sentence.
The first queer related vocabulary word is “trans.” In most signed languages (keep in mind I am not a linguist) every sign paints a picture – or conveys an idea. For trans/transgender, it is “who we are internally.” Testing will begin in 10 minutes – just joking!
Our next sign is “gay.” This is created by using the shape for the ASL manual alphabet letter “G” and placing it on your chin as shown. The chin is selected because of its proximity to the mouth, which is representative of oral sex. After all, no one wants to put dirty fingers on their mouth, or do they?
Next in our vocabulary list is “bisexual.” Here the norm changes somewhat as we use the ASL manual alphabet letters “b” and “i” to finger-spell “bi” as shorthand for bisexual. Don’t blame me, I didn’t invent the ASL dictionary, I’m merely sharing with you the accepted words. By the way, I didn’t invent the grammar, either.
This is followed by our next word, “lesbian.” Using your dominant hand, make the ASL manual alphabet sign for the letter “L” for lesbian. Again, it is on the chin as a representation of the mouth which is used in oral sex. Obviously, I’m not a lesbian so I can’t offer any more of an explanation than that.
The next word on the suggested list is drag – as in Drag Queen – a slang term of endearment for someone who dresses as the opposite of their birth sex. Here, the sign recreates a mime of someone wearing a wig, “fake hair.” The short-haired men create a visual of someone in a long-haired wig.
Our final Queer Sign Language word is “queer.” The sign, which is particular to the GLBTQ community, is to make an exaggerated letter “Q” to denote “queer” as in the abbreviation: GLBTQ. In the ASL manual alphabet, the actual letter “Q” is very similar to the actual letter “G.” The use of the oversized English “Q” is to prevent any misinterpretation of gay and queer. The two words are not necessarily synonymous.
The very nudecentric image (above) is to illustrate the message: think. Think about what you’ve learned from this post today and apply it in your daily lives! Remember, I was joking about the test that I mentioned above, but I am very sincere and serious about this assignment!