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The Hensley/Harvard Test

Nowadays in Hollywood, the number of #DeafFakers, hearing actors playing deaf roles, continues to increase. And that’s frustrating for the deaf community to take in. Now, there is a new test called the Hensley/Harvard Test which focuses on deaf characters. This is presented by Erin Karll, an author for OnStage Blog. It’s based off of the “Bechdel test”, and is used to see if films are portraying deaf characters in the most authentic way possible.


The Bechdel test was created by Alison Bechdel, and it focuses on female characters in TV and film. Is content portraying women in the right way?


Now, this new test has been named after deaf actors Amelia Hensley and Russell Harvard. It aims to answer three questions: is the character written as deaf or hard of hearing? Does the character have to hear? And how can you make production accessible? This can mean including interpreters or closed captions. These questions can make a huge difference in film, tv, and stage.


What do you think of these three questions? We have an interview coming up with Amelia to get her perspective on #DeafFakers in Hollywood. So stay tuned!


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