DL Williams writing on the BBC's Disability Site gives pulling tips if you're deaf and gay and how to make sure you've covered you tracks well and truly when it all starts to kick off!:-
I'm twenty years old and haven't been 'out' until very recently. School, you see, was mainstream and rather lonely. I had maybe one or two good friends and that was it. I was the only deaf person in a sea of hearing people. Same with jobs. I wasn't 'out' because I didn't have anyone to tell. Now stop sobbing into your hanky for me.
Then, last year, I went to uni and became part of a deaf community for the first time. Soon after starting, I was casually asked, just like that, straight out, if I was gay or straight. This was one of the first indicators that in the deaf world, things are much more direct.
How to explain? Well, language format plays a big part in this directness. British Sign Language is a symbol-based language, and it's very easy to communicate incorrectly or ambiguously. If we went around making it more complicated, conversations would take forever. Think text message though, and you're on the right track - clear, brief and to the point.
Anyways, I told them I was gay. No problem at all. And then ... I was 'out'. I loved it. Then I found out that a lot of people I had met were also gay.
Being unable to understand anything in loud places hasn't stopped me from hitting on the cuties though, let me assure you. All you need is a mobile phone.
It's simple. Set it to Text Message, write something witty yet flirty (that's the difficult part), then casually saunter over to the object of your desire and show her the message in the most nonchalant way possible.
It's helpful to explain that you're using text 'cos you're deaf - and if you've been seen signing to your friends, it all adds up. To some, it can also make you pretty cool.
Signing is cool and trendy, you see, especially to impressionable young things in nightclubs who are already a little drunk anyway. Oooh, those sweeping hand movements!! I digress.
This method of flirting is very direct in nature, so depending on the response to your SMS offering, you may either retire deflated or spend a while chatting via text. Note: you don't have to send the message, just write it, show it, delete it, and write another. Easy as that. And it does work. I've seen it working. Observe ...
Once upon a time, there was a deafie called David. Me, David, and other assorted deaf were in a gay nightclub. He saw a boy he liked and off he marched / casually sauntered with his mobile phone. The last time I saw him on that particular night, he was sitting on said boy's lap, they were showing each other messages on their phones and occasionally moving in for a snog.
The deaf culture doesn't really go in for subtle. It goes in for direct. Straight to the point and plenty of drama. Oooh baby, the drama.
When you're in a gay nightclub, and everybody's wasted on alcohol (and other substances), that's the perfect time for a good bit of drama.
Favourite in the drama stakes is having a go at some hearing person looking oddly at their signing. You walk up to said 'hearie' and ask them - in big gestures and patronising signs - if they "have a problem".
Usually the hearing person is equally drunk and does the patronising gestures right back. This is the cue for other deafies to get involved with their own versions of "You got a problem, pal?"
At this point, the bouncer will see all the big stuff going on and will assume that a fight is brewing, rather than just a bunch of deaf taking the mick out of an ignorant hearing person, and will intervene.
Half the deaf crowd will assume that the bouncer has come to throw them out and will kick up a fuss. The other half will try to calm everybody down, with mixed success. It's quite a show. Usually the bouncers just give up when it becomes clear that everybody is too drunk to cause trouble.
Someone asked me what the difference is between deaf gay culture and plain old ordinary gay culture. To be honest, I don't know. I only know it's fun, and a hell of a lot more accessible than boring old gay culture."