HEWeb #SMS5: Train gone sorry: Deaf representation on social media

Monday, October 9th, 2023

Monday, October 9, 2023, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM EDT 
Aimee Whyte – Rochester Institute of Technology

“Train gone sorry” is a sign language idiom used by Deaf people that is akin to “missing the boat.” There is an abundance of Deaf and DeafBlind people and communities on social media — and this includes content creators, influencers, social media managers, organizations and schools. However, these groups are often misrepresented, marginalized or downright excluded. This presentation aims to change this narrative by spotlighting prominent Deaf and DeafBlind folks on social media and highlighting some important examples of social media activism, hashtags and campaigns led by Deaf and DeafBlind folks/communities. Examples of inaccessible social media practices will be shared along with demonstrations of best practices for being accessible and inclusive to these specific people and communities, with the goal of reducing audism on social media.


  • First – great job to the individual translating the sign language into vocal speech for the audience. They are doing an outstanding job communicating not only the words, but also the tone of what is being covered.
  • “Train gone” is similar to “missed the boat”
    • A disconnect with the hearing community who is missing out on the deaf and deafblind influencer community.
  • New terms:
    • audism (the oppression of deaf people)
    • vidism (the opression of blind people)
    • distantism (keeping distance from deafblind people) coined by John Lee Clark
  • Aimee grew up in to a deaf household. Had the privilege of a family with understanding and amenities (captions on tv, lights for doorbell)
    • Most deaf children grow up deprived of communication in a vocal household.
  • Children born to hearing families often have their first interactions with doctors who push a medical route. Which is fine, but it often ignores learning sign, or being part of the deaf community.

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