On 28 April 2022, the British Sign Language (BSL) Act was passed by the UK Parliament, recognising BSL as an indigenous language of Great Britain.

This was a momentous day, following years of hard work and campaigning by the Deaf community, led by the British Deaf Association (BDA) and the Core Group of deaf organisations who supported the BSL Act Now! campaign, sponsored by Rosie Cooper MP through the Private Members Bill ballot, and supported by the Minister for Disabled People, Chloe Smith MP.


To commemorate this milestone, the BDA has proposed that the Deaf community now celebrate National BSL Day every year on 28 April.

Scotland will have its own celebrations on 17 September to mark the passage of the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 and 22 October to mark the Royal Assent of that Act.

The Northern Ireland Assembly is working on its own legislation to cover the two sign languages used in Northern Ireland: BSL and ISL (Irish Sign Language).

Calling all Deaf Poets!

Don't miss your chance to become the UK's BSL Poet Laureate!

We are excited to announce that DeafZone Glastonbury has kindly sponsored a total of £800 prize pot, with £500 going to the winner, £200 to second place, and £100 to third place.

You don’t have to be an experienced poet or actor. You just need to have a beautiful BSL and lots of ideas. Poetry can be any kind of creative expression in BSL: a visual poem, a performance, or storytelling.

Please complete the entry form below, then send us a video clip of no more than 2 minutes of you signing your original creation on the topic of British Sign Language to bda@bda.org.uk by Friday 15th March

We can’t wait to see your contributions!

BSL Poet Laureate 2024: Enter now

Please complete the form below, then send your BSL video clip to bda@bda.org.uk


The BDA’s Strategic Vision, “Taking BSL Forward”, which takes as its starting point the passing of the BSL Act in 2022, sets out what a good quality of life for Deaf BSL signers could look like in a decade’s time.

It’s essential that Deaf children and their families and carers are supported to learn BSL as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Learning sign language does not prevent Deaf children from learning English.

In fact, it’s the opposite – Deaf children need a strong language foundation while they are young to ensure that they can learn other languages, such as English, later.


It doesn’t have to be either/or. Hearing aids and CIs are no substitute for learning a language.

There is some confusion about what BSL is and isn’t.

British Sign Language is not “English on the hands” – it is a rich, expressive, signed language with its own grammar, vocabulary and conventions.

Sign language is not universal: there are hundreds of different sign languages around the world and sign languages also show regional variation in a similar way to spoken languages.

British Sign Language can do everything that English can do – and more!

We invite you to discover Deaf culture in BSL and celebrate with us this National BSL Day.