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The Deaf Flag, a symbol to empower global deaf communities

Last summer, members of the World Federation of the Deaf, including the British Deaf Association and other National Associations of the Deaf, approved the Deaf flag, a powerful symbol for Deaf communities around the world.


The sign union flag - Deaf Flag
The Sign Union Flag - Deaf Flag

Symbolism:


There are several different symbols that are included in the flag, based on what is indicated by its creator the French Deafblind artist Arnaud Balard:


  • The hands represent the signing Deaf community and Sign language.

  • The infinite fingers allude to the projection of the use of Sign language in the world, with more than 300 existing Sign Languages. The fingers also symbolise the connection with the five continents (in order from top to bottom): Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa.

  • The colour turquoise blue represents the deaf community and Sign Language, pride and unity.

  • The colour yellow represents light, life, the awakened mind, coexistence.

  • The colour navy blue (dark blue) symbolises planet Earth and humanity. Dark Blue also indicates Deafhood, an individual and collective journey to combat audism and embrace Deaf gain. The concept of Deafhood was introduced by Dr. Paddy Ladd who also established the Blue Ribbon ceremony to commemorate the experiences of Deaf people around the globe. Dark blue is also the colour used by the World Federation of the Deaf.


The design aims for the flag to be a symbol of openness, inclusiveness and union, rather than isolation or segregation.


Deaf Flag sign:


Deaf Flag sign

The sign given by the flag designer himself is configured as follows:


  • dominant hand stretched out, fingers spread, palm facing the signer.

  • non-dominant hand with only the index finger extended, the tip of which rests on the inside of the wrist of the dominant hand.






Approval of the Deaf Flag by the World Federation of the Deaf


At the 2015 General Assembly, the World Federation of the Deaf established a "Deaf Flag Committee" to select a design for the Deaf flag.


In January 2018, graphic designers were invited to join the committee.


In December 2018, design proposals were called for, and several were submitted by February 2019. Despite previous failed attempts to approve a design, the process was reopened in November 2022.

Deaf Flag votes

During the XXI General Assembly in July 2023, the idea of having a Deaf flag was approved with a majority vote. Three flag proposals were presented from Lebanon (23 votes), Russia (17 votes), and France (25 votes). A second vote was taken and France's proposal ultimately received the most votes (36 votes), securing approval for the design of the Deaf flag.


A significant step forward for the recognition and representation of Deaf communities worldwide.


Watch the BSL video about the Deaf Flag from the World Federation of the Deaf:






 


Deaf Awareness Training by Deaf Umbrella

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