Syrmor Takes a Look at the Hard-of-Hearing and Deaf Community in VRChat and Their Own Version of Sign Language Used to Communicate In-World

Still image taken from the first video below

Syrmor, whom I have blogged about before, is well-known for his YouTube video interviews with various people in VRChat.

Yesterday, he released a new video about the hard-of-hearing/deaf/Deaf community in VRChat (abbreviated to d/Deaf/HoH). For those of you who are not aware, a distinction is made between lowercase-d deaf, which refers to the medical condition of hearing loss, and capital-D Deaf, which is the term used to refer to the culture, society, and language of Deaf people, which is based on Sign language. (Deaf is capitalized just as American or Canadian would be, since it is a unique culture.)

And yes, there is a version of Sign language (capital S, because like English and French, it is considered a proper language) used in VRChat! Actually, there are several versions: one for users of the Valve Index hand controllers, which allow for individual finger movements, and another is intended for users of hand controllers without individual finger movements.

Here’s a six-minute VRChat Sign language introduction, showing you some common signs:

The video states in a disclaimer:

All signs are based off of American Sign Language, however due to the limitations of VRChat, most of the signs have been changed and/or combined with similar words. Always look up the proper sign before using anything taught here outside the game.

Here is Syrmor’s video, which was posted yesterday, and has already had over 215,000 views as of this morning!

Symor first stumbled across this community when he encountered a Sign language interpreter at an in-world church service (as shown in the video). Through this contact, he discovered a VRChat world called Helping Hands, where you can teach yourself sign language, including some signs which are unique to VRChat (for example, the use of the portal sign to refer to “world” rather than the ASL version of the term).

More information about Helping Hands is in this document, including links to some d/Deaf/HoH VRChat worlds.

Helping Hands Mission and Vision Statement

Syrmor is doing an absolutely inspiring job as an embedded reporter and documentary filmmaker in VRChat, giving people an opportunity to present their stories to the wider world. Syrmor actually earns a living from advertising on his popular YouTube videos (he currently has 697,000 subscribers to his channel) and from his Patreon supporters (here’s a link to his Patreon page if you want to throw some financial support his way). In fact, he was even the focal point of a real-life meetup of his fans in Toronto, Canada, dubbed Syrcon 2019, which people attended from around the world!

Gee, where can I find some groupies? I’d like a convention, too! 😉

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“The Beyoncé of Virtual Reality”: VICE Interviews VRChat Video Maker Syrmor

VICE interviewed Syrmor (a.k.a. Canadian VRChat video maker and livestreamer Sherazee Syrmor) in a recent episode of VICE News Tonight:

If you’ve never heard of Syrmor before or viewed his work, this video is an excellent introduction to who he is and how he got into the habit of interviewing various people he encounters on the social VR platform VRChat.

Syrmor actually earns a living from advertising on his popular YouTube videos (he currently has 647,000 subscribers to his channel) and from his Patreon supporters (here’s a link to his Patreon page). He is also an active livestreamer on Twitch. He was even the focal point of a real-life meetup of his fans in Toronto, dubbed Syrcon 2019, which people attended from around the world!

The interviewer and he share a joke in this VICE News video that he has become “the Beyoncé of Virtual Reality”, because he is now so well known for his video interviews that he can’t venture out in public without getting accosted by his fans! Syrmor tells the interviewer that he receives thousands of emails from people who want to be interviewed for the videos in his series.

If you are interested in reading more about Syrmor and his work, there is an excellent March 27th, 2019 article on the Kotaku website, which I would encourage you to go over and read in full. Here’s an excerpt:

Syrmor notes the most memorable experiences he’s ever had in VRChat and the subject of one of his most recent videos. The subject explained that he was a kid suffering from epidermolysis bullosa, or “the butterfly condition,” a lifelong genetic disorder that makes your skin as “fragile as a butterfly’s wings.” (In some cases, it can even lead to amputations.) Everything, from crawling on your hands and knees to taking a bath, can be very, very painful. He told Syrmor a story about daily battles with the disorder through the guise of a sprightly Piglet avatar.

“What really got me is that he talked about his dad very highly, because his dad is his caretaker. I said something like, ‘Your dad sounds like a cool guy,’ and he actually got his dad on the microphone,” says Syrmor. “Having this very burly, 40-year-old male voice coming through Piglet in virtual reality, talking about his son’s disease, and what life was like for him, was just not something I ever expected to encounter in video games.”


Thanks to Wagner James Au of the blog New World Notes for the heads up!