YouTube Denies Deaf Creator Interpreters | Rikki Poynter

Hello, and welcome back to the channel. I hope you are doing well. Today, I want to talk about
how this YouTube event, or rather this one specific person
of this event, was really making it a struggle
to get interpreters and captions for two years in a row. And this all comes at a time where I’m selling the new,
limited-edition Fall/Winter 2019 ‘My Accessibility, My Choice’ shirts, which are on sale through November 30th. So, if you would like to get one of those,
now is the time. I also have the old design on my Teespring. So, if you want that one instead,
I’ll have that link as well. If you are interested in learning more
about deafness, accessibility, etc. Please consider subscribing to the channel, and hit that notification bell
so you don’t miss out on any upload. Also, consider being a pledge on Patreon
for more exclusive content and to just help me
make more of these videos and other projects that I do. It’s almost time to start writing letters to all the featured creators
of Playlist and VidCon for getting them to caption their videos. And I handwrite those suckers. So, two years in a row,
I was invited to this YouTube-esque event. It’s located in Toronto
and is a bit of a YouTube and film festival – sort of thing in one. In case you’re new here,
hello, I am deaf. Nice to meet you. And I require interpreters and captions
when I’m at conferences and events. Although, for year one,
I only really requested captions because I really,
my ASL skills really weren’t there at all. So, I just require captions, especially because it was
like a film festival thing, where we were just gonna be watching
other people premiere their YouTube videos and, like, if it was a panel, I would… It would have been just easier
to have captions. So, I requested those. And the thing about requesting captions
and interpreters is that, well, at least, for interpreters, you have to do those a month in advance,
at least, I believe. Captions, I’m not really sure, but I wanna say it really is,
it’s probably the same timeframe. I think I got my invite in the summer and then event was in the fall, so there were a few months to,
you know, get that ball rolling. I left emails, I left Facebook messages, because this man loved to do business
on Facebook Messenger, which I don’t understand why, really. And for so long,
things would not get answered, my emails were not answered. But my Facebook messages were read
but not responded to and it was just really, really frustrating because when you hire disabled people, especially deaf people, and they require something
like interpreters and captions, I feel like that has to become
one of your priorities. Because if you wait too long, there’s a higher chance
that you’re not gonna get that stuff. And if you’re inviting someone who,
obviously, requires those accommodations, you really want them at your event, it’s just mind-boggling to me that you don’t really want to
put in the effort to do all that. So, year one, I just requested captions. But, year two,
I requested captions and interpreters because red carpet
and meet and greets were involved. I didn’t do a meet and greet and that
on the first year because we didn’t have interpreters, and captions probably
would have been weird, especially if you’re walking around. So, for year two,
I requested captions and interpreters. Captions for the actual film screenings and then interpreters for the red carpet, which, I didn’t get any for the red carpet, for the meet and greet, especially, and green room, you know,
face to face conversations. With panels and things like that, captions are so much better for me, but for talking with people to their faces interpreters go way smoother. And both of these years, I was hoping that after year one,
we wouldn’t have a problem with year two. But the thing is,
I don’t know why I still had a problem. So, one month would go by,
two months would go by, and soon enough we had
about a month left before the event and I was still not getting
any sort of response, whatsoever. And on year one,
my ex-friend let me know of an extension that you could download, so that when somebody reads your email,
you’ll know, because it’ll have like a little checkmark. The fact that messages
just weren’t getting answered was so frustrating, because I was getting scared
that we weren’t going to have interpreters. I was thinking, “Are you actually
not putting in any sort of effort to try to make sure
that I am welcome at your event, and that I can, you know, participate?” Because it would just be so awkward trying to talk to people on this panel
and things like that and I’m like, “Yeah,
I have no idea what you’re saying.” So, when we had a month left, I was finally… I got a little aggressive,
I got almost a little threatening and I was saying something along the lines of, “I know you’re reading my emails,
I have an extension that lets me know. I… You need to tell me
if you are putting in any effort, whatsoever, on interpreters,
because I don’t have any. And if, or so far, I don’t have any.
I don’t know if I have any. And if I show up and find out
that there’s no accessibility and you didn’t put it in any effort…” ‘Cause it’s one thing if you get the interpreters
or the captioners and they cancel, which has happened, actually, year two, and also when I was at Playlist last year,
or this year. But, when you actually don’t put in the effort, you’re telling me that
you don’t actually care about me even though you wanted me to come, and you know that I’m not equal
to my abled counterparts, my hearing counterparts, even. I hate having to play the role
of angry deaf activist. But sometimes you gotta get a little bit angry
and I don’t know why it is. Why is it that you have to get a little bit angry
before somebody finally listens to you? But, that’s what had to happen. And lo and behold, he listened. And it’s been so long
since I’ve seen the messages. This was 2015 or 2016. But, if I can recall anything, it was just, you know, the general,
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” You know, like, “We’ve had all these
other priorities taking place and things like that, and I’ve been rushing and getting all these messages
and things like that.” And I was just like,
“You need a better organisation team.” Let’s be… let’s be real here. But like, and I understand
that there were other priorities as well. But there needs to be someone on this, because you wanted me to be here and you kind of knew this ahead of time. It wasn’t like I waited until like one month till, and was like, “Oh, by the way,
I need interpreters and captions. It’s totally last minute, but…” No, I let you know from the get-go. But, thankfully,
I did get my captions on year one and on year two I had captions
but I didn’t have interpreters and that actually was not
the fault of the event. One of the guys was working really,
really hard with accessibility. This was a different guy from the guy
who owned or used to own this event and he was working so hard and when I found out that
the interpreters were being cancelled, I was so sad, but he was working really, really hard
to try and find last minute volunteers and you know what, and… I appreciated that effort. That man, that second man involved, he worked so hard, and I really appreciate him. Other man, however… Eugh. And thing is,
this isn’t really the first time that I’ve kind of had a struggle with events. With disability-centric events
it’s a lot easier to get accommodations, ’cause it’s a disability conference,
convention, event, whatever, so they kind of have,
already had that idea. But when it’s more like,
if you’re the only disabled person there, if you’re the only deaf person there, they just doesn’t really think about it. Which, on one hand, is fine,
in the sense of like, “Oh wait, oh wow, this is new
and I didn’t even think about this.” And then, you know, you educate them and then what usually ends up happening, and this happened at VidCon, you start getting more ASL interpreters
and captions in more of the event itself. That’s really awesome. But I have come across some people that kind of tried to fight me on it and they’re like, “Are you really sure
that you need interpreters? Are you really sure
that you need captions? Do you really need one
or the other or both? Are you sure we can’t just give you
like this little thing instead? Or we can get you some notes instead,
da-da-da-da-da.” And I’m just like, “I’ll just not come, how about that?” Because nobody should be
disrespected like that when you’re invited to something. But they’re just like,
we want you here, but we don’t respect you enough
to make sure that you can actually feel equal and actually participate in this thing, because what’s the point of that? But, at the end of the day, the interpreters and/or captions
would be provided. I just wish it wasn’t such a struggle
to make that happen. But unfortunately, even in 2019,
it still can be, and that really sucks. And this doesn’t just happen
with deaf people. I have seen the horror stories
from other disabled people. My blind friends, my wheelchair using friends, even at YouTube events where we needed somebody
to bring a ramp in and there was no ramp, and instead they were just like, “Well, we can just pick you up
and carry you upstairs,” which is just, no,
that’s not the way to go about things. And this guy was a very well-known guy, so he’s like way up, you know,
on the pyramid here and we’re all just like, “No, son, no. No.” But yeah, to you watching this. If you’ve had any experiences with this,
let me know down below. This is a huge thing with even just attendees coming to conferences as regular attendees and not like, featured creators. That is a whole struggle in itself as well. But let me know if you’ve had
any of these issues down in the comments below. If you would like to help translate this video, I would very much appreciate it,
it helps out a lot, link down below. Please give this video a thumbs up. Give it a share,
it’s extremely important, and the more you share,
the more the knowledge that gets spread. Thank you for taking the time out of your day
to watch this video and I will see you later. Bye. (ROCK MUSIC)

One comment

  1. New #MyAccessibilityMyChoice designed shirts are on sale through November 30!
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