“The Donald” it is not.
On Friday, Netflix will premiere “Deaf U,” a coming-of-age documentary series that follows a tight-knit group of deaf students at Gallaudet University, the renowned private college for the deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington, D.C. The show — which is co-executive produced by Deaf model and activist Nyle DiMarco — promises an “unprecedented, unfiltered, and often unexpected look inside the Deaf community,” according to a press release. And a promo clip Netflix dropped for the show on Thursday seems to deliver on those goods.
In the clip, the main cast breaks down a little Deaf culture for the audience by explaining sign names ― the special signs that are used to identify specific individuals in American Sign Language.
“Instead of spelling the names out,” one cast member signs, “we use sign names based on our traits.”
Several cast members then tell the stories behind their own sign names, which vary from having very blue eyes to being obsessed with candy.
Lydia Callis, a nationally certified sign language interpreter, advocate and child of a deaf parent, explained in a 2015 HuffPost blog post that sign names can’t be chosen by the individual and are given to them by a member of the Deaf community. Your sign name is a “major part of your deaf identity” according to Callis, and because you can’t simply change your own sign name, “these names carry a history and personality all their own.”
“While it might seem like a novelty to hearing people, having an ASL name is very meaningful for those in the deaf community, and it could even be considered an honor,” Callis wrote. “These names aren’t just given out to anyone — they are a [rite] of passage into the deaf community.”
She concluded: “To have a name sign means you are officially part of the Deaf world.”
So President Donald Trump should definitely not be offended whatsoever by his sign name — which the “Deaf U” cast members explain looks like this:
Or, ya know, a comb-over flapping in the wind.
“You can tell if someone’s a Trump supporter — they will spell out his name: T-R-U-M-P,” one cast member explains. “But if you don’t like the man, you’re gonna go like this …” (see above).
He added: “’Cause we all know that man has a toupee.”
It seems like this sign name is generally accepted in the Deaf community. The Washington Post reported in 2016 that if someone wanted to sign Trump’s name in ASL, they should “emulate what might happen if a stiff wind came in contact with Trump’s hair.”
“Deaf people gave Trump a sign name so he should feel honored,” a cast member says in the “Deaf U” clip.
Hey, whether he likes it or not, it does echo his signature look.
Catch the trailer for “Deaf U” below.