Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Queer Signs

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome. Today I wanted to give you some queer signs. You probably already know that from the title. Future Rogan here! While I was editing, I realized that the intro is long, so if you want jump to the signs only, I’ll put a timecode right there. I will also put a list of words that I sign and when they appear in the description below. Back to past me! I will just throw out as—I have a list, but I will just throw them out as I go. I’ll add my thoughts about that sign, or expand on it, or whatever. I have quite a few words here. Some are confirmed signs, some have signs but either the community doesn’t like the sign, or I’m not comfortable with that sign. Not uncomfortable, but I don’t really like that sign. Some are suggestions from me. I know there will be many words not on this list that I didn’t say, because I don’t have a sign for it yet. This book has SO many words in it. I didn’t even know about a lot of them so I… I don’t even HAVE a sign for them because I never knew about them! So… Just keep that in mind as we go through this video. Before I continue, I want to add I did get some of this information from a video that I will link below and up there. It has some signs that I didn’t know the history of, so that was good to know. I will give some of the history here too but if you want to see the original…see link. Okay, first word. [QUEER flashes on screen as Rogan does a grand gesture] The most important word! Queer. That. It’s simple, [queer signed like rainbow]. I know many people spell queer, and I’m fine with that. I personally sign [queer] because it’s easier. I don’t want to spell queer all the time so [queer]. Asexual is just spelled. Or [fingerspelling a-c-e] for short, that’s what many in the community use as an abbreviation. [a-c-e]. Simply [a-c-e]. Bisexual. Okay. This word…has a whole list, several options for a sign. I don’t like any of them. I just do [fingerspelling b-i]. [b-i] Just that, [b-i]. Bye! No, [b-i]. I will show you a few signs that I’ve seen for this word, but just know that I personally don’t like them. Some of these signs are from Europe, that I saw in Europe. Some…South America? I’m not sure, it’s a blur—from all over the world. Some are definitely from the States. [bisexual-alternating] Ehhhh [gesturing no]. That suggests two, this and that, that’s it. No, there’s more than that. [bisexual-switching] Again, no. Two—there’s more than two. To clarify, two genders. I’ve seen some people do [bstraight-i] I feel ehhh about this, because this is the sign for straight, so… [bstraight-i] [straight] is a little unclear. You could almost mistake it as straight, so no. Bis aren’t straight. Another sign, a really really awful sign. I forbid anyone from using this. [bisexes] NO. NO! Why? That sign is based off the sign for sex, biological sex. [sex] [bisexes] which means two sexes. Ahhh no. Don’t use it. So just keep it simple—[b-i]. Next word – cisgender. Just [fingerspelling c-i-s]. [c-i-s]. Next word is not one, but two words. Coming out. [coming-out] The concept behind the sign is simple. The sign for closet is [closet, shows various signs for closet]. Some people still sign this one, some don’t. But [closet turned down, hanger/hook coming out]. So the C becomes the closet, and the X (or hanger/hook) is leaving, coming out of the closet. Simple. Next is technically four but—never mind. [drag queen/drag king] [drag queen] [drag king] You can clearly see why it’s signed that way. [drag queen] is because of the big hair, [drag queen]. And king, [drag king] is because of the mustache, the fake drawn-on one, [drag king]. Gay. This is an interesting word because many people prefer to just spell [g-a-y]. It’s easy to spell so there’s part of the reason why people just spell it. Also, it’s partly because some people prefer not to sign the actual sign. [the actual sign – gay] It’s a G touching the chin. You can see why people don’t want to sign that. The next word is one that I’m still struggling with, you’ve seen me mention it before. I’m still struggling with this word—gender. I’ve seen people sign [gender-sex], [gender-sex on hand]. I don’t like those because that’s still focused on the binary, I don’t want the binary, so what do I do?! One person suggested signing [gender-personal]. Kind of like personality, character, inner being, [g-personal]. I don’t know because of the G, I want to get rid of it. Personality, character, I know I know, but anyway. So [g-personal] is possible…but I don’t know. If you have any ideas of a good sign for gender, WITHOUT the binary, let me know. I’m going to expand a little more on gender. Gender identity (ugh at the i in identity). I’ll give you some other countries’ sign for that word, identity. [identity, Finnish] [identity, French] like a thumbprint, [identity-F]. I know more, but I can’t remember the other signs for identity so I’ll just go with those two. Gender expression. [expression] What’s your gender expression? Or… Do you express as masculine, or do you express as feminine? That. Genderfluid. There has been some discussion about a sign, [gender-spectrum], like a spectrum. But I’m not sure about [fluid] because… It’s not necessarily from one to another. It could be moving up, down, all around. So [fluid], [transit], [smooth], [changing]. All suggestions. Genderqueer. [gender-rainbow], maybe? You could kind of sign it the same way as fluid, maybe. That depends on what your kind of queer is. Because it could be similar, changing, but it could be completely detached from the binary concept of male and female. Completely detached, just queer. So that really depends on the person themself. Intersex. The sign is [i-x], i and x, [i-x] This is from that video I linked below. A person who is actually intersex came up with that sign, so… But I ask this, did this person come up with it and decide that was the sign? What if other intersex people don’t agree with this sign? So I don’t know. That is what we know of right now, [i-x]. Lesbian. I don’t know about this one because this is the same problem as gay, [lesbian]. I know I see—the video linked below, I watched it and I don’t really agree with it but… Lesbian supposedly means “femme” because of lipstick, [lesbian], and strong [lesbian] (for butch). I…no. I think it should just be lesbian, or spelled. Because some people don’t feel comfortable with signing lesbian. I totally understand that, I support that. So… [shoulder dance] How else to sign this instead of [lesbian] or spelling it? But. There is that sign. Pansexual. [fingerspelling p-a-n]. [open to any gender], [broad attraction], [attract-all], [attract-broad]. [p-a-n] is simplest, [p-a-n]. The next two are separate words, but are kind of—they can be related, they can be not. Romantic orientation and sexual orientation, or sexuality. [attracted, meaning sexuality] to what? Romantic [attraction]. Last, but not least important, is transgender. [transgender]. In the video I linked, he mentioned that the sign came from another country. I don’t know which one, the video doesn’t say, he doesn’t know either. But that sign came from another country. The sign [trans] is for who you are on the inside, [trans]. Another sign related to that is [transitioning]. [thinks he messed up the first fingerspelling, spells again] [transitioning] as in FtM, MtF, transitioning. That is my list. I’m sure there are other words I could have a sign for or just didn’t think of. But that’s a good starting place. If more signs appear, I will be sure to add them in a future video. One thing I just remembered that I want to add. I have posted in ASL That! asking about signs, ideas for signs for a few words, and… [text on screen: crickets] Yeah. I feel that… that group is not ready yet for this. I think part of that maybe because queer terms are still kind of new in mainstream society. So it still hasn’t really become widespread, popular. Like obviously, trans, bi, gay, lesbian, straight, cis, have signs for them. But the more “obscure” words, or not as often-used words still don’t have signs for them because they aren’t common. They’re not common in mainstream society so therefore, they’re even less common in the Deaf community. Although I do feel like there’s a higher percentage of queer people in the Deaf community than mainstream society. I’m rambling now so I’m going to stop signing, and thanks for watching. Don’t forget, I have Patreon and ko-fi, links are below. Also social media—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter—links below. If you enjoyed this video, and want to see more, don’t forget to subscribe! And like? Thanks for watching, and see you next time.

91 Replies to “Queer Signs”

  • Haha! I love how you signed "I'm rambling now so I'm going to stop signing." You're cutting your hands! HAHA!!! (At 12:10)

  • Funny I just watched a video with the author of that book, The ABC's of LGBT+, and then here you were referencing it lol. Clearly one I need to buy!

  • This is so interesting! Hearing people often struggle with queer terminology, but not having a sign for it must get frustrating at times. Do you think it's easier now with the internet for people pick up on these new signs? Do you find yourself having to explain them to people who aren't as familiar? As a hearing person I feel like I'm more likely to avoid using words that people won't understand, rather than trying to explain them to people.

  • I can't remember when I saw this, but I once saw a suggestion for the gay and lesbian signs to be G tapping the cheek (palm against the cheek) and L the same way. I will try to find the blog post I saw it on and link that. It makes me think of a kiss on the cheek, so maybe that would be better than the current signs? A suggestion.

  • A lot of these signs are new to me! You might be interested in checking out, which was started by a friend of mine in BC, Canada.

    Surprisingly, their sign for "queer" is completely different from the one you use.

  • I've just come across your channel and I absolutely love it! I'd love to learn sign language and these queer signs are so cool and interesting! I just subscribed 🙂 I also make videos about LGBTQ+ topics and I've just started my channel, it'd be cool if you could check it out if you get the time 🙂

  • Great video. I'm studying ASL and hope to get into some gender studies classes next fall so this is the perfect crossover for me.

  • Why do you not like "gay" signed as G tapping the chin? I assume that it has some sort of similarity to a negative sign maybe? But i'm fairly new to all of this still (despite having been teaching myself ASL for almost the past year) so I'm still not too clear on everything ^^'

  • Awesome video, thank you! Curious, why did you have a problem with the sign for "bisexual" indicating only 2 genders? I understand that there are more than 2 genders of course, but I thought the term "bisexual" meant specifically attracted to men or women, whereas pansexual would be attraction to any gender, right? Or do I have a misunderstanding about the terms? Thanks 🙂

  • Thank you!!!!!!! I'm interpreting a psychology class and we are just starting the human sexuality chapter, so this is perfect+++ timing!!!!! 😍🌈💜

  • Hi! I know this is going to sound needy and gross but I really look up to you as a content creator and you're one of the only ASL content creators that I reach out to who reply, so I've got a question. I just posted an all ASL video on my channel called "I need YOUR help" and it's about a series I want to start as a hearing person going into interpreting who is having trouble with my receptive skill level in ASL. Would you mind watching it or mentioning something about it on your channel so I can get my idea off of the ground? I totally understand if you don't want to, though! Thank you for creating the content you do because watching you is helping me with my receptive skills, too!

  • Can we just get the conference discussions of signers who actually understand queer terminology to dish this all out? (Obviously with priority given to Deaf people with the identities in question.) I know we'll never arrive at a truly standardized system for these words, but it's been weighing on me for so long how unresolved this is… Thank you for doing this kind of work, it's super important to at least initiate these conversations!!!

  • As both a new and queer interpreter I greatly appreciate this video, well done. I love how you focus so strongly on the accurate and current concepts and not the English words or generic definitions of the terms!

  • Is there a ASL sign for Apothisexual/Apothiromantic (sex/romance repulsed, though dysphoria is a more accurate description of the reaction)? I know they are newer but it would be cool if there was a sign. I'm learning ASL on my own and I'd like to know how to identify myself with ASL as that will make me much more comfortable using it.

  • I don't have any good ideas for sign for "gender". But I think gender and "coming out" are closely related. Both involve the declaration of the true self. The "coming out" sign in the video doesn't do the term justice. Just my opinion. 🙂

  • As a queer asl 1 student I loved this, they don't exactly teach this in public school curriculum lol

  • thanks for making this video! i'm learning asl and couldn't find many people talking about queer signs, so this was super helpful ! <33

  • Thank you so much for creating this, Rogan! As a queer, nonbinary person who is just beginning to learn ASL, this video gives me signs that help me feel informed and valued.

    I've been thinking about how to move the sign for "gender" away from a binary, and I wonder if you could do the second variant you do but keep your dominant hand in place instead of moving from top to bottom–so a "g" tapped twice on an open palm. That would make it similar to the sign for "identity," but with a "g" instead of an "i".

  • this was a very, very, good video! I've been practicing sign language for about…5 weeks now, and this was of course a necessity to learn😂😉 It was quite refreshing how it had no audio, and was quite helpful how you mouthed the words along to it, and the captioning😄 and I loved how you refreshed a lot of the signs so they would go out of the mindset of there only being 2 genders. over all amazing, Thanks for the video, mate!

  • Wow I've never thought about the signs for bisexual like you do. I've always used the sign 2 fingers going over 2 finger on you other hand, it's never seemed offensive to me I wonder if a lot of people feel that way about it?

  • Yesterday my Deaf ASL professor taught us how to sign gay, lesbian, and partner, and that made me all the more curious about other LGBT+ signs. I approached him after class, asking how to sign queer, since that's the word I feel most comfortable using to identify myself. He had never even heard the word queer before and didn't know what it meant, which sparked a long conversation about LGBT+ culture in the Deaf community. I helped him understand what queer meant, but still lacked a sign, so I did some digging on my own and found your video. Thanks for this 🙂 I'm sending it to my professor so that he can learn more too!

  • So I have often thought about the sign for gender, the sign for the concept of “inner-being” like you had shown would really be a good one in my opinion, especially since it relates to the sign transgender. However, that is a common sign used, at least in my area, for Autism. So I think that could be confusing. I am still seeking a sign for gender as well. All I have seen is signs with initialized features, SEE style…. So for now I guess I will continue to fingerspell.

  • On your signs and definition of bisexual: While I personally would probably just use the sign you showed I don't think it's fair to discredit the other signs because they don't allude to other genders. Bisexual usually means someone who dates men or women generally meaning those within the gender binary. Bi being a morpheme meaning 2 and dual. As in BI-sexual and BI-nary. Those comfortable dating within and outside the spectrum usually identify as Pansexual, but many pan people also use the term bisexual to define themselves because it is easier quicker and to be honest brings up less questions. While it is important to define those outside the binary and validate them I think ASL can make up what English itself lacks in it's fairly sloppy word choice. I think the main problem is the use of sexual end to these words in English as some people are Bi-SEXUAL but have no desire to be in a non hetero relationship (Bi-Romantic as it is often called) therefore I would cite that as a main reason for using just the prefixes of the words (homo hetero- bi- and pan- etc.) rather than saying the sign is incorrect for limiting itself to the binary. Hopefully that makes sense. Great video and great work in what you do!

  • Thank you so mcuh! I'm an ASL student in Illinois and we don't have any signs like this in our cirriculum and I found it difficult to find a way to sign things about a famous hard of hearing celebrity I was doing a project on with a transitioning sexuality. This video helped me a lot and I got extra points for learning something so new to the signing world in our area! I really appriciate the help you probably didn't realize you'd give me!

  • How do you not have more subs? Honestly, your videos have been awesome so far. I only just found you. I am Australian and live in Australia and am trying to teach myself Auslan. I have a few apps to help me and know some basics so far.

  • I REALLY love this video. I've had a lot of trouble finding queer ASL vocab, and I really appreciate how in-depth these explanations are, and your acknowledgement of the problems with signs that rely too heavily on binary gender or biological sex. I only wish it were slowed down a little bit, because I'm super new to ASL and sometimes it's hard to follow along, or i have to back up the video a few times to see exactly what's being signed. Either way, thank you so much for sharing.

  • No offense, but I wanted a video with sound so I won't be scared. Sorry if I an't watch the video longer, ai wanted to learn about queer tho

  • on the subject of bisexual, bi does indicate an attraction to the two major genders, which are male and female. Yes, there are other genders that people prefer to identify as, and that's perfectly fine. I 100% support that and them as people, we here in the lgbt+ community need to stick together and support each other. This being said, the prefix "bi" literally means 2. And again, bisexuality is the attraction to both male and female people, so indicating that there is more than 2 /in that portion of the video/ was not completely necessary. I'm not throwing any shade or anything, I mean everyone is allowed to think what they want and feel how they feel, but that's just how I personally feel about it. The video as a whole was great!!

  • THIS IS SO GREAT! Thank you for this.

    My questions: If my gender isn't male or female, would I convey it by fingerspelling the name of my gender? Also, is the concept of the collection of nonbinary genders something that people in the deaf culture (aside from you) are generally aware of?

  • There's another sign for "lesbian" in which the fingers of the L handshape are placed so that the mouth is between them—in other words, it refers to cunnilingus. From what I've read, this is a very old and derogatory sign, and nowadays, it's used primarily in a homophobic context.

  • Oh my gosh this is so wonderful thank you for this video I am gay and I've had a couple years of sign language but I don't remember a lot of it and I don't know everything I don't and I really don't want to re-watch videos on ordering things I already know so it's nice to see stuff from for people that aren't just doing basic sign language

  • Well this is great thank you I put it in my favorite so I can watch it again over and over again later so I really cement them in my mind

  • Hey, I love this!! I'm a hearing nonbinary person who recently started learning ASL and it's always hard to answer the question of whether I'm a boy or girl. I was wondering if there's a way to clarify pronouns in ASL? Like, does the word "pronoun" have a sign? This video is super helpful!

  • So my friend said someone told them that to reference a non-bianary person in asl (similar to using "they" in English) you put your thumb on your cheek bone with you palm open. Similar to a c-handshape.

  • As a genderfluid person learning ASL and lipreading this video is so nicely put together and i love it!!!! Thank you!!

  • I don't know anything of your background. When you mentioned "it's my personal ……" it's hard for me to determine what's acceptable and what's not used, etc. In other words, I don't find myself convinced 🙁

  • god i love this video!! as a queer asl learner ive always been super curious about queer signs and all that but obviously they won't teach you those in school. i've yet to find a queer and deaf person in real life, so this video was a godsend!! all your expressions were gold, and you put into sign a lot of feelings I have about common queer signs i didn't even know i had!! thank you so much for making such a thorough vid! ily, have a great day <3

  • So, I only just finished ASL 1 so I could be just mixing things up, feel free to correct me, but the sign you use here for transgender looks the same or almost the same as the sign my ASL teacher at Gallaudet gave me for Autistic…? (It was definitely a one handed sign that came together at the chest like that…I can't seem to find a video of that sign online) In fairness, she did recommend fingerspelling it instead but as my son is Autistic it would be awful nice to have a sign for it as it gets tedious to spell and he can't spell it yet.

  • Thank you so much. this is the stuff that they wont teach us ASL students in school. As a queer person who would really like to meet new deaf and HoH people these signs are important to know, expeaially in dating.

  • Yes, there are more than two genders— But if you're looking for a word that encompasses those other genders in sexuality, the word is technically Pansexual, not Bisexual. Bisexual, technically speaking, means that a person is attracted to two, and only two genders. But, to be honest, it has become more of an umbrella term these days, because most people don't know the technically correct terminology.

  • for "gender" could you do G starting at the top of the head and then just going down to the chin? Not bouncing, for binary, but like a slide, indicating a spectrum?

  • Great video, I’m learning asl & it’s awesome to see videos on topics like this for vocab I use regularly enough to want to know in asl too. By the way, your fingerspelling is amazing and very intimidating loll

  • I'm a hearing person brushing up on my asl while I prepare for a date with a deaf girl! This is such a useful video 😀

  • Seems like I watch too many deaf youtubers, I opened the video because I liked the headline and all of a sudden no sound again:D

  • I really love that this video exists, I'm a bisexual ASL student in rural Kentucky, so it's not like my teacher is going to teach this stuff. I appreciate you!

  • Okay so yikes this video is a older than i would have thought, but i still wanna say thank you for making it! my vv gay boyfriend and i enjoyed watching this (hes deaf, im hearing), so uh, yea!

  • Rohan, I’m learning sign…for my grandson who has Down syndrome….I’m a soft butch Grama. You made my heart”SMILE”…when you signed QUEER!!! Dude, I love you….Thanks for being you, and being there for us…

  • Does the Deaf community have a sign for "nonbinary" yet, or should I just stick to fingerspelling it for now?

    Also, thank you so much for the video! It was very informative for a queer, hearing person learning ASL/PSE! ^^

  • This is an amazing video, I didn’t realize just how many signs there were for the queer community and I love it. I saw one where Lesbian was the L across the chin, where you chin kinda rests in the space between your thumb and pointer. Is that an accepted sign or should I use the pointer finger on my chin L instead?

  • Sign for 'queer' is not accepted yet. Also That video with chela man is wrong. He decided on his own to start a new sign for 'queer'. As you know it is up to Deaf community to discuss this first. It is fingerspelled for a reason. Please dont spread that sign without discussion.

  • Im a deaf teacher at my church and somehow i want to make it known to others that I am ace/asexual and help the deaf at my ministry understand the LGBTQ+ community. So this was really helpful

  • I personally like bisexual with the concept two, my understanding of bisexuality is that gender is an important concept, and by using two we can see that they can go with either side of the spectrum. My understanding of pansexual is that gender is not important when it comes to partners, it’s almost like gender is “invisible” or a simple physical trait (like having brown eyes or wearing glasses). This is what I identify with. I’m not omnisexual, though, which I understand to be open to any gender. This is more similar to how you signed pansexual as open to any gender. That being said, the meaning of these words is probably different in different communities, which is why it’s so cool that you posted the video with super insightful and thoughtful comments. Cheers!

  • I just realized you’re a deaf YouTuber I was like half into the video and I couldn’t hear anything and I thought my phone was broken 😂 anyways great video

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