Making your Event Accessible
Table of Contents
It is really important to make your Pride event accessible, so we have gathered some in-depth information on how to do that. However, we realise that is not easy for everyone, so here is a brief summary.
Here are the top 5 things we want you to do:
- Make sure to include access in your budget and when applying for grants.
- Further information explains this in more detail, but video captions, live captioning of event and BSL interpreters are essential.
- You can get quotes to get the most accurate information for your specific Pride.
- Make sure that any advertisement is accessible.
- Use image description, alt text, video description on all posts. Ensure that all videos are in both BSL and English (with captions).
- Involve D/deaf and disabled people at every stage.
- This could include co-ordinating with local Deaf groups, having Deaf individuals advising on access, and/or through promotion.
- Access information should be easy to find and ahead of the Pride event.
- This means less than 3 clicks to find and access, it should be easy to understand, in BSL and English.
- If your event is online, think about which platform you will be using.
- For example, maybe stream on YouTube and Facebook, or through Zoom for more “social” events.
- Try to avoid Flashing lights and strobe lighting, and include rest breaks!
If you have any questions or for further support on ensuring accessibility at Pride, please contact Deaf Rainbow UK at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is some more in-depth information.
Due to the current global pandemic situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19), this has massively impacted how LGBT+ Prides are conducted. It is really important that we continue – and adapt – our Prides in line with the government guidance. This is especially vital for our members to have a sense of community when they may currently be living alone, or with family and/or housemates who are unaware or unaccepting of their LGBT+ identity.
The Movement Advancement Project (July 2019) showed that more than 1/3 of the LGBT+ community identifies as either D/deaf or disabled. So, we must remember that when we plan LGBT+ Prides and other events, that we ensure accessibility and inclusivity is at the centre of the event – at every stage, of both virtual and physical Prides.
The accessibility that is required for the Pride will depend on whether you are planning a small or large, virtual or physical Pride.
When planning the Pride, it is extremely important to remember to include (and add in) accessibility when working out your budget and applying for grants to fund the event. This means thinking about how much you will need to include in your budget in order to have BSL interpretation, closed or live captioning of any material, and any other access required.
In theme with the phrase “nothing about us, without us” – remember to ensure that D/deaf and disabled people are at the lead of planning and discussions on what access is required and how to obtain it. For instance, there may be preferred LGBT+ BSL/English interpreters locally. So, it is important to have D/deaf and disabled people on board. If your budget allows, you can hire D/deaf and disability consultants or perhaps think about access volunteer teams with both D/deaf or disabled people and allies in them to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome. Bristol Pride, for example, have a Deaf co-ordinator who advises on Deaf access!
Similarly, reach out to local Deaf clubs and groups, including disabled-led organisations, to be involved in the planning and access of the Pride. It may be a good idea to have a consultation with D/deaf and disabled people on what they think the Pride access should look like. Make sure there is diversity of participants, such as gender parity, race and sexuality.
Some things to consider:
Ensure that D/deaf people have good visibility of the interpreters – if the event is online, attendees might want to access the interpreter on a second screen. If the Pride is in person, think about reserved seating in view of the interpreter for those who will need that access.
Many D/deaf and disabled people quickly become tired from trying to follow conversation, so it is important to think about how rest breaks will be incorporated into the Pride event. This is also important for the BSL/English interpreters that require breaks – in order to effectively interpret the event.
This is especially important if the event is online as watching a screen for a long time can significantly impact eye strain and blurred vision. One very simple way to do this is to ensure that breaks are included in the programme, so that after each event in the Pride, a 10-15 minute break is scheduled.
Flashing lights and strobe lighting
This can be very distressing for DeafBlind people, autistic and neurodivergent people, anyone who has seizures, or other sensory issues. It is advised to avoid this when possible, and if it is not avoidable to give clear warnings beforehand. For example, in the Pride programme before the day, stating at what times this will be present – as well as verbal and interpreted announcements on the day about when the lighting will start and end. However, be mindful that areas which are dark will be difficult for D/deaf and hard of hearing people to understand what is going on or see the interpreter – so ensure spaces are well lit.
Hearing, guide, and assistance dogs
It would be good practice to think about the welfare of assistance dogs and where they can go to hydrate – such as having a station to refill water.
Ensure that the access information is very easy to find. Ideally, this should be found in less than three clicks on your website.
It is important that this information is provided as far ahead of the Pride as possible, so that D/deaf and disabled people are able to plan whether they feel they can attend the event given the access provided. You should include ahead of time if the event is ticketed, any ticket reductions – including PA/companion or +1 tickets, and if any evidence is required.
For physical Prides, you should include information about the Parade route, and tips for D/deaf and disabled people on dealing with hot summers – such as bringing water, and making known where any seating is.
It should also include about parking and alternative ways of travel – bear in mind that many D/deaf and disabled people may have/are eligible for a blue badge, disabled rail card, and bus pass so think about how they would travel from different modes of transport.
How much should I include for access in my grant application?
A tricky question! This will depend on the size of the Pride and what you are including in your event.
Cost of captioning videos:
Standard Video Closed Caption Creation start from around £2-4 per video minute; so, if you have 2 videos of a length of 4 minutes, that would be a minimum of £16. However, this is an estimated figure, and it is therefore crucial to get a quote from competing captioning companies who can more accurately give you a realistic figure based on your needs and material. For instance, contacting rev.com or capitalcaptions.com to get a quote.
Cost of live captioning/palantypist for the event:
Live captioning can be expensive, so it is vital this is included in your budget and grant applications. Depending on the size of your Pride, and what events you are putting on, as well as the length and which aspects will have live captioning – the price can greatly vary. However, it is expected due to the size, terminology and length of Pride events to roughly cost between £120, and larger events going up to around £250. Again, to gain an accurate quote, please contact them directly so that a more specific figure can be given, tailored to your Pride event. MyClearText, StageText and Otter AI (especially great for Zoom/online events) are companies that offer this.
Cost of BSL/English interpretation:
Unless you have a Pride event scheduled for under an hour, you will need more than one BSL/English interpreter. This is because interpreting is hard work and interpreters need breaks! The estimated cost for a full day (of up to 8 hours) for one interpreter is £280 (more information about interpreting costs).
However, it is important that you request a quote and identify with the interpreters how many will be required based on the specifics of your Pride event before applying for funding so that an accurate figure is reached. This is important to consider too, if for example the interpreters are travelling from outside of your location. You can either go through an agency such as SignSolutions, Language Empire or The Big Word, or a self-employed interpreter found via NRCPD, NUBSLI, and/or SASLI.
Cost of online events and streaming:
If your event is online, think about which platform you will be using. One way to host the Pride is for it to be streamed on YouTube and Facebook (which are both free platforms) to allow for the use of live captioning software when streaming online. For more “social” events, some platforms might require spending money. For instance, Zoom is a great option and allow a multi-pin feature, meaning that interpreters can easily be seen – but is only free for 40 minutes. Zoom has different pricing plans, depending on the features you require and how many people are allowed to enter the call. For instance, a business plan (up to 100 attendees with several access features) is £120 annually, or £20 per month. Before the event, you may need to explain to attendees how to activate any captioning and how they can access this. Be sure to explain which platform and what access is provided for each event.
Booking an interpreter
Before booking an interpreter, it is crucial that you have all the information available. This is so that an accurate quote can be provided, and that the interpreter can be sure to know if they are suitable, and know when/where to go!
- What is the date, start time and location?
- What is the event?
- What is the duration of the event/how many interpreters are needed?
- Will there be multiple rooms or break out groups at the event?
- Who is the point of contact for the event?
Make sure that the interpreter is registered and qualified.
It is crucial to ensure that you book a BSL/English interpreter who is fully qualified and registered with either NRCPD (the National Register for Communication Professionals of Deaf and DeafBlind People), NUBSLI (National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters), or if you are based in Scotland SASLI (Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters).
Laura Driver from NRCPD says:
“NRCPD registration means that NRCPD has verified that the language service professional meets the minimum standards set by NRCPD to practice safely. Being registered also means that they are serious about providing a high quality service for service users. It is important to only book registered language service professionals such as a sign language interpreter for Pride events, because if you book an unregistered professional, there is no guarantee they are qualified to practise. Through working with registered professionals, if something does go wrong in your appointment, you will have recourse through the NRCPD Concerns and Complaints process, where we will support the professional to improve their practice. If working with an unregistered professional, you have no recourse if something does go wrong.”
To verify that an interpreter is registered, you can ask for their name and Badge ID number, and use NRCPD portal to check they are registered. NRCPD also provides useful information on interpreters, such as whether they have interpreted LGBT+ events previously and other qualifications.
Be prepared to share the content of the Pride to the interpreters before so they can prepare interpretation of any information beforehand, to offer a more inclusive experience to Deaf attendees.
For instance, if there are music or drag acts, having the lyrics – or if it is an online Pride and there is a presentation, ensure that this can be shared with the interpreters at least one week in advance. If you will be using video or sound clips during the event, ensure they are captioned and can be made available to interpreters beforehand. Lastly, make sure that all the interpreters are made aware of the programme details of the Pride and any changes to times of certain events.
Promotion & advertising
It is really important to show that D/deaf and disabled people are at the heart of the planning – and a great way to do this is to ask local D/deaf and disabled people to be on the promotion of the event! For instance, you could have one or two Deaf people do a BSL video explaining the event – which could include if there will be a BSL interpreter or any specific Deaf events. This means that D/deaf LGBT+ people have the same access as Hearing (and non-signing) LGBT+ people of promotion videos.
When advertising the Pride and events leading up to the day, it is important to make sure that any physical and media material is accessible. For instance, if in writing can someone easily access a BSL interpretation of the text, large print, and other alternative formats?
It is also very crucial to ensure that an image description and alt text is available when using any image, as well as having captions and a video description for any video clips. If you use any hashtags, make sure you use CamelCase – which means to capitalise the first letter of each word – so it looks like #ThisIsAccess rather than #thisisaccess. Guidance on this can be found on the RNIB website.
On the day
On the day of the Pride, ensure that medical support are available and easily accessible. Often this is a tent of first aiders/paramedics, but it is crucial that all attendees know where to find it so think about advertisement and signs. It is also really important that all attendees are able to communicate with medical staff, so thinking about having a BSL interpreter in close proximity.
Parade and Night life
Parades and Night Life at Pride are notoriously inaccessible for D/deaf and disabled attendees – but there are some ways that they can be made more accessible!
Firstly, by having planned the route to be accessible (think about things like hill incline and duration, as many D/deaf people who have vertigo symptoms may not be able to march for a very long time) and for the pace of the parade to be set by having D/deaf and disabled people lead the march.
Secondly, ensuring that there are plenty of seating throughout the route and end of the march for anyone who is struggling and may need to take a break. It is also important to have visible stewards and interpreters throughout the parade. Many Prides now have access stewards who wear a different colour fluorescent jacket specifically for helping D/deaf and disabled attendees. Another suggestion for physical Prides is to have a quiet area at the Pride, where other D/deaf and disabled people can feel comfortable and more relax compared to more stimulating areas of the Pride.
Representation is important – so think about music acts! Do you have D/deaf and disabled performers? If not, think about reaching out to D/deaf and disabled artists! If the Pride is online, you will have more flexibility of who you can book. For an example of accessible online Night Life, connect with Queer House Party Pride Facebook Live – they had events during the Coronavirus pandemic where there was captioning and an interpreter on the screen. Remember that access doesn’t stop after 5 O’Clock – so think about how D/deaf and disabled people can access any “after entertainment”.
If you have any questions or for further support on ensuring accessibility at Pride, please contact Deaf Rainbow UK at email@example.com