Hayden Kristal is a Brooklyn-based former zookeeper who gave up a lucrative career in salamanders to pursue comedy and public speaking. Speaking on the topics of diversity and intersectionality Hayden has spoken to colleges and organizations across the country including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the Connecticut Supreme Court, and TEDx. Comedically, Hayden was a semifinalist for Stand Up NBC a finalist for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’s Comedy Writing Mentorship, a featured performer at the Limestone Comedy Festival, and has opened and featured for Maria Bamford.
Hayden’s show went great! The students really enjoyed it, and Hayden was such a pleasure to talk and interact with!
Program Manager, Student Activities & Orientation
GaySL: A Crash Course in LGBTQ American Sign Language and Intersectionality
This highly interactive, variable, and hilarious workshop teaches its participants LGBTQ-related American
Sign Language signs while fostering a group discussion about Deaf culture, intersectionality, accessibility
and more. During the presentation participants will be encouraged to sign along as we learn the signs for
GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, QUEER, GENDER, ALLY, COMING-OUT, PARTNER,
BINARY, DRAG KING/QUEEN, IDENTITY, RAINBOW, PRIDE, etc., as well as requested signs. The signs
serve as jumping off points for discussion about the intersection of Deafness and Queerness. (Example:
ALLY- how does Deaf culture perceive LGBTQ people? How are the Deaf received by the LGBTQ
community? What can you do to be a better ally to both groups?) The goal for this workshops is not that
participants will leave fluent in ASL. The point is to get people thinking about Deafness, disability, and the
struggles faced by LGBTQ people who are also Deaf or disabled; to inspire people to learn more, and create
accessibility to allow ALL LGBTQ people to utilize their resources and participate in their events.
GaySL has been presented at a wide variety of LGBTQ, disability, and diversity conferences across North
America, including the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference, the Northeast
LGBT Conference, LGBT in the South, the LGBT Leadership Conference, IvyQ, the Mid-Atlantic LGBTQ
Conference, the 5 College Queer Conference, the Asterisk Transgender Conference, and more. This
workshop has been presented to groups ranging from 15-400 participants and can be tailored to the skill
level and time-frame your event requires. This workshop has been presented for RID CEUs.
Lessons on Ability from my Deafblind Dog
Heartwarming and unique, this multimedia keynote address talks about the lessons to be
learned -about love, trust, and how we define "ability"- from Hayden's journey with his
deafblind dog, Bitsy. Born completely deaf and blind, many recommended that Bitsy be
euthanized as an puppy, citing concerns about her ability to function and her quality of
life. Could Bitsy adapt? Could she survive in a world that was not built for her? Three
years later Bitsy is not only surviving, but thriving; she does therapy work, participates in
dog sports, swims, hikes, camps, plays fetch, and is an avid canoer. But how does what
the world expected for Bitsy translate to how we perceive disability on a larger scale?
How do we confront the ableism we've internalized, even as people with disabilities?
What does it mean to "accommodate" someone?
The Importance of Intersectional Accessibility
This keynote address explores what it means to live life at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities
and why acknowledging the complex and multifaceted nature of human identity is critical to any kind of
social justice work. An abridged version of this keynote was presented as a 2016 TEDxMU Talk.
Laughing Out Loud: Bridging Social Gaps Through Comedy
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