Nyle DiMarco is an outspoken activist, actor and model who lives at the intersection of his sexual fluidity and deafness. In our cover shoot with Nyle, artist Cacho Falcon has painted ‘I love you’ in American Sign Language across his body in what we hope to be a strong message of support to the queer deaf community. Nyle is one of 25 deaf people in his family, and is now using his platform to educate and inform people of just how inaccessible part of our world remains to hearing impaired people. After becoming the first deaf person to win America’s Next Top Model in 2015, Nyle is fully aware of the power and importance of visibility, and speaks with Gay Times on raising awareness of ASL, and the problems that queer deaf people still face.
“There is a massive number of people, groups of people, who are not being heard or who are overlooked. Despite the power of social media, which could be a useful tool to educate people, we've become so divided and so afraid to open up, listen, and communicate. We need to start listening to each other. How can 466 million people with hearing loss join in on that conversation and find their ‘identity’ if they are denied access to what they're saying? Often there are not interpreters at Pride events for Deaf LGBTQ people and allies. The best solution is to have Deaf and people with disabilities involved in organising Pride events.”