www.ambiente.us   JUNE| JUNIO 2010

FriskyHands.com| Interview with creator Michael Bamford
The ONLY social networking website specifically designed for the Deaf
GLBTQ Community

by Armando Diaz

FriskyHands.com is the ONLY social networking website specifically designed for the
Deaf GLBTQ Community.  The site is specifically tailored for the GLBTQ Deaf and their
friends and admirers to help eliminate the isolation those in the GLBTQ Deaf
Community may feel. It has the potential of virtually uniting the millions of GLBTQ Deaf
& their friends across the world. Users can interact through a live chat, rich web
messaging and even stay mobile (through their iPhones). Yet, this is only the
beginning for this intrepid venture.

“After meeting Martin (Ritchie), I realized that in making our great
leap forward as a community, we had left many of our brothers
and sisters behind”.
                                               – Michael Bamford

Armando| Michael, tell us what were the inspirations that led you to create FriskyHands.

Michael | I attended Telluride Gay Ski week, in a room full of hot gay men and women,
and saw this very handsome guy sitting alone by a fireplace.  Martin Ritchie has an
endearing personality, is instantly recognizable (he appeared on 'Janice Dickenson
Modelling Agency'), and he is deaf.   Despite his obvious


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attributes, Martin was being largely overlooked due to his impaired hearing.  After
hanging with Martin for a couple of days. I came to understand the unique isolation of
many hearing impaired members of the LGBTQ community and determined that
these new friends deserved a whole lot better.

To help Martin find a few new friends that knew American Sign Language (ASL) I went
looking for a social networking site that was focused on the hearing impaired LGBTQ
community . . . none existed.  I had worked on web sites in the past . . . since no deaf
GLBTQ social networking site exist . . . I determined to use my expertise to create one!

Armando | What do you anticipate the reception will be of the site?

Michael | Thus far, It has been amazing . . . we have been contacted by people from
around the world!  From Sydney to Copenhagen, the hearing impaired

Out in the Tropics
June 7-11, 2010
GLBTQs are ready, willing and able to abandon the isolation they've experienced and
build a strong international community.

Armando |  Michael what sign are you?

Michael | Australian . . . from Sydney; now living in the
East Village of NYC.  
I think that makes me internationally GAY.

Armando |  What is your connection or history with
the deaf community?

Michael  | Until I met my first hearing impaired friend,
I had had little of any contact with the LGBTQ deaf
community.  Frankly, like most, I hadn't given it much
thought.  But, after making my first deaf LGBTQ friends,
I found a community that I liked, wanted to be a part
of, and knew to whom I could be of service.

Armando | Where would you like FriskyHands.com to be
in 5 years?

Michael | There are literally hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ
men and women that are hard of hearing, deaf, or interpreters . . .
they are often weary of travel (it is hard to find a 'signer' at an airport or in a gay bar).  In
5 years I hope that this community looks to FriskyHands.com as the genesis of an
international community of signers that travel freely about the world.
Armando | Is there anything you would like to express to our readers about

                     Michael | We all have friends, lovers, and business associates
                            that belong to various groups within the broader gay
                              community that have been marginalized to one degree
                              or another.   Let's reach out and help everyone find the joy
                                in their lives that we have found in ours . . This is my first
                                 effort, there will be others!

                                     In a recent press release, the site’s publicist Austin
                                      Head writes, “FriskyHands.com allows the gay deaf
                                      community (in all English-speaking countries) and their
                                    supporters to interact through a live chat function, as
                                well as, email.  Soon they will add a video-conferencing
                             function.  This stunning new platform will allow the deaf
                            and hearing populations to directly communicate without
                           sign language, in English.  Its search function will allow you
                          to find men or women with common interests in a defined
                       geographical area for social interaction.  No longer will deaf
                     gay people be isolated from full participation in our

Photo: Martin Richie

For more info, visit www.friskyhands.com

CLICK HERE for more Armando Diaz, Jr.

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