‘Really sad’ Strictly’s Rose Ayling-Ellis speaks out on ‘lack of respect’ for deaf people

Strictly: Rose Ayling-Ellis discusses performing on the live tour

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Rose Ayling-Ellis, 27, made history last year as she became Strictly Come Dancing’s first ever deaf contestant, going on to win the show’s coveted Glitterball Trophy. Now Rose is continuing to raise awareness about the issues members of the deaf community are faced with.

She is supporting a private members’ bill in parliament which is seeking to make British Sign Language (BSL) an official language in the UK.

Rose said the language not being recognised was “really sad” and shows that the deaf community “don’t get the respect we deserve”.

The Strictly champion emphasised the richness and diversity of the language, which she branded “beautiful”.

In an interview with the Big Issue yesterday, Rose explained: “I’m backing it because this is my language.

“The fact that my country doesn’t see it that way is really sad and means we don’t get the respect we deserve and the language deserves.

“BSL is not an official language, legally, in this country.

“Which is outrageous. Because it is such a beautiful, rich language with its own structure, its own grammar, its own slang. It’s even got accents.”

The actress said BSL becoming an official language would be an “emotional” moment for the deaf community.

Rose continued: “If it becomes an official language, which we’ve been fighting for all these years, it will be so emotional for us.

“Because of the massive interest in BSL recently, a lot of people don’t realise how much of a fight the deaf community have had.”

The EastEnders star also issued a plea for BSL to be given legal status last week during an appearance on This Morning.

She explained she had been in touch with Labour MP Rosie Cooper about her Bill.

Rose said: “I have heard so many stories about deaf people going to a doctor appointment and they ask for an interpreter and they don’t refer them one.”

“So they end up needing their child to translate, or a family member. That shouldn’t be.

“Because it’s not an official language, we can’t do anything about it.”

Introducing her Private Members’ Bill last summer, Rosie explained that BSL was her first language because both her parents were profoundly deaf.

She said: “I know first-hand the difficulty that deaf people face every day.

“So often they are ignored, misunderstood or have to fight for attention.

“Acknowledging BSL as a language is a simple, principled step towards ensuring the needs of deaf people who rely on their language are met, and met correctly.”

Rose and Giovanni competed against 2012 Bake Off winner John Whaite and pro Johannes Radebe in Strictly’s final before Christmas.

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