VeeR VR, one of the biggest virtual reality/360 content platforms, has put together some interesting social experiments with LGBTQ folks. Based in Beijing, the platform collaborated with the Beijing LGBT Center on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, to produce a couple videos to test if people would support the community.
The first one, titled “Free Hug in Beijing,” shows a blindfolded young woman wearing a shirt that says “I am a homosexual” in Chinese. During the duration of the VR video, she holds her arms out and numerous people come up and hug her to show support. It’s really simple and really sweet.
Because of the 360 aspect, I watched the video twice. First, I watched it facing the blindfolded woman to see her reaction to every hug. Second, I watched it from her perspective and saw the people walk by as well as the expressions of the people who were walking up to hug her. It was cool to see a new angle on these social experiment videos something that’s only possible through VR.
The second video, titled “Can You Take a Photo of Us?” shows two men wearing the same “I am a homosexual” shirts. Bystanders would walk up and take a picture of the pair with their sign. As the video goes on, people start joining in on the picture rather than just using their camera.
Chinese activists have worked hard to change China’s cultural attitude towards LGBTQ people and it’s awesome that they can utilize this new technology to document those efforts and their successes.