#DeafTikTok: Meet content creators supporting deaf community

September 22, 2021 - 5:49 PM
TikTok on deaf community
Screengrab of TikTok user Melle Belle from TikTok Philippines/Released (left) and TikTok logo on phone by Kon Zografos from Pixabay (right)

A popular mobile video-sharing app is giving the spotlight to content creators who are raising awareness on the local deaf community in honor of the International Day of Sign Languages.

TikTok said that it prides itself in fostering an inclusive environment that makes the users feel comfortable in expressing themselves creatively.

Since the start of 2021, it said that the hashtag “#DeafTikTok” has had over 245 million views and counting.

“In recognition of the International Day of Sign Languages, TikTok would like to honor inspiring creators from the Philippines who help raise deaf awareness through their videos,” it said on a release.

The platform lauded the efforts of sign language interpreter Melle Bee and content creators Michelle Episcope and Kiko Sison in light of the International Day of Sign Languages on September 23.

Melle teaches sign languages on her videos and responds to follower requests wanting her to sign a particular word or sentence.

She also shares educational content to teach her viewers about the deaf community and utilizes the platform’s “duet” feature to translate content into sign language.

@meruzoiteFilipino Sign Language! Spreading awareness as I am hard of hearing too. 🙂 #deaftiktok #deafawareness #hardofhearing #tiktokph #fyp #foryoupage #deaf♬ … is sweaty – Kellan

Michelle, meanwhile, is a content creator who belongs to the deaf community and uploads funny skits and dancing videos to entertain her followers.

@michellel.episcopeMy Nickname Abe & Abby😉 at Name twin #edit #twins #deafsign♬ original sound – Keshia Angeline Abando

Kiko is another creator who is fond of sharing bonding moments with his cousin who belongs to the deaf community.

TikTok said that he and his cousin would bond over conversations in sign languages a lot when they were young.

@kikosisonxHe’s a deaf but he’s capable in all aspects. #cousinbonding #deaf #fyp #foryoupage♬ Dati – Yowshanyourbb

Earlier this year, the platform said that it launched the auto-captions feature which automatically generates subtitles. This allows viewers to read or listen to content and help those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“TikTok hopes to encourage users to make their content more accessible by enabling auto captions, especially this September, which is Deaf Awareness Month,” it said.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared September 23 as the International Day of Sign Languages to raise awareness on its importance in the full realization of the human rights of those who are deaf.

The resolution acknowledges that early access to sign language and services in sign language, including quality education available in sign language, is vital to the growth and development of the deaf individual and critical to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals.

It also recognizes the importance of preserving sign languages as part of linguistic and cultural diversity.