Deaf Actress Rose Ayling-Ellis: I Am Disabled Because I Live and Work in a World That Disables Me | The Hollywood Reporter

“I am done with being the token deaf character,” she told the Edinburgh TV Festival in the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture. “I believe that diverse, rich and fascinating deaf stories are ready to go mainstream and that we can do this, together.”

“My reality isn’t always nice,” Rose Ayling-Ellis told the Edinburgh TV Festival in the annual Alternative MacTaggart keynote on Friday.

The deaf English actress (EastEnders, Dancing With the Stars) offered her perspective on the stark realities of life as a deaf person working in television via a 30-minute address and an interview with journalist and producer Afua Hirsch.

“It is not nice when my access is compromised. It is not nice to realize my presence is a token. It is not nice when my favorite TV shows don’t have subtitles. It is not nice to feel frustrated and unheard,” Ayling-Ellis said. “However, let me clarify one thing, it is not frustrating being deaf. Being deaf is my proudest identity. Having a disability is not a barrier. I am disabled because I live and work in a world that disables me.”

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