After the BSL Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons on the 28th of January, the UK Deaf community is celebrating an important step towards legal recognition of British Sign Language (BSL).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
This is an amazing moment for the 87,000 Deaf people for whom BSL is their first language. British Sign Language was recognised as a “language in its own right” by the Government in 2003, but without any legal protection.
If BSL finally gets full legal status as a language:
it will automatically have legal protection and Deaf people and BSL users will be able to access essential information and services in their first language
it will give Deaf people full and equal access to education, employment, public services, participate in political debates and issues, sit on a jury, etc...
it will help ensure BSL users are fully included in society
it will increase both the official status and public awareness of BSL.
WHAT'S THE NEXT STEP?
After the Bill has been approved in principle by MPs, the next stage to complete the legislative process is to go through the House of Lords on the 18th March.
This is an historical moment and a massive step forward for the deaf community and BSL users everywhere.
SAVE THE DATE
Fingers and toes crossed that this beautiful language is finally getting the recognition and standing it has always deserved on its Third Reading on 18th March 2022 in Parliament.
It will definitely mark an historic milestone for Deaf people across the United Kingdom.
All credit to MPs Rosie Cooper and David Buxton for pushing the agenda and leading the campaign