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Gay in Sign Language – Video & Image Included

Lead Academy
4 Mins Read

The topic of today: how do you say Gay in sign language? According to Oxford Dictionary, the English word ‘gay’ refers to-

“(of people, especially men) sexually attracted to people of the same sex”

But “gay lesbian”- both these words point out the same thing, i.e. sexual orientation or sexual attraction. Although the term ‘lesbian’ isn’t used for men.

You may have found our site by looking for how to say Gay in American Sign Language ASL. American Sign Language for Gay is different from British Sign Language or BSL. Although the two regions share the same spoken language, their sign languages are entirely different.

So, we’ll discuss BSL today.

Speaking of sign languages, do you know Alexander Leffers? He’s a very prominent name in the deaf gay community. If you look him up in Google, you’ll see him displaying pride flags and gay symbols alongside him.

Let’s start our discussion on how to say Gay in sign language.

Gay in Sign Language

Before we begin, remember that BSL is a two-handed sign language. That suggests you’ll be using both hands to communicate.

However, this is not always true for every sign language out there.

In the case of BSL, imagine one of your hands as a piece of paper. The pen is your second hand. The hand that acts as the pen is known as the dominant hand. The majority of us are right-handed, and that’s our dominant hand. So, if your non-dominant hand is your left hand, it will act as the paper. The base hand is another name for the non-dominant hand.

Never swap your dominant hand while a sign is in progress. Your sentence’s meaning will fall apart if you do so.

So, back to our topic, what is Gay in sign language?

Let’s move on to the videos that follow. Please spend some time watching them.

Watch how to sign ‘gay’ in British Sign Language


Don’t be bothered about their pace. We’ll walk you through the full process step by step below.

Instructor seated in his office room

1. Start with a normal posture.

Instructor seated in his office room and has his hands lifted up to his chest area

2. Lift both your hands up to your chest area.

3. Open up the palm of your non-dominant hand with all your fingers spread out. Your palm will be practically looking up at the sky.

4. Place your dominant hand over the palm of your base hand, as seen in the image above.

5. All of your fingers, from your middle finger to your pinky, should be in a fist. Your thumb will be pointing up, similar to a “thumbs up” gesture.

6. Now sway your thumb a few times from left to right or right to left- whichever is convenient for you.

7. Say the word ‘gay’ as you’re signing it.

But this is not the only way you can say ‘gay’ in BSL. Go through our link above again. There’s another video showing you a second way to sign the word.

Let’s discuss that now.

Instructor seated still on a chair

1. Start with a normal posture.

Male instructor seated on a chair with his right hand lifted up showing his thumb

2. Lift your dominant hand up to your chest and make the same “thumbs-up” gesture as before. Only this time, you don’t have to rest it on a palm.

Male instructor teaching how to sign gay in BSL

3. Now move your thumb a few times right and left, same as before.

4. Say the word ‘gay’ as you’re signing it.


So, that’s how you say Gay in sign language BSL. Keep a lovely smile on your face while conversing with a person. Smiles connect people more than anything else. Also, be careful to make yourself clearly visible to the other person so that your gestures will not be interpreted as something offensive. Since you’re communicating in gestures exclusively, it’s very easy to mistake a sign for something offensive.

So we went through two versions of the word ‘gay’ in BSL today. Whichever one you’re comfortable with, after you’ve learned it, put it into practice on a regular basis. Regular practice will help you remember it.

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