BSL Act Now!

British Deaf Association

The BSL Act Now! campaign was set up and led by the British Deaf Association (BDA) on 18th March 2021 during the BDA’s annual Sign Language Week (SLW), 18 years after British Sign Language (BSL) was recognised by the UK government as a language in its own right. The campaign called for BSL users to write to their MPs, asking them to introduce a BSL Bill in the Private Member’s Bill ballot.

Nearly 90% of MPs received a letter from constituents who use BSL. In June 2021, Rosie Cooper MP’s name was drawn. By coincidence, she is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) – her parents were both Deaf and her first language is BSL. To take the campaign forward, the BDA set up a core group of organisations to support the Deaf community to influence the passage of the Bill through Parliament. These organisations represented the diversity of the Deaf community, united in calling for a BSL Act to achieve legal status for BSL as the primary language of the Deaf community. The BSL Bill received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022 passing into law as the BSL Act 2022 and came into force on Tuesday 28th June 2022.