By Allyson Watkins
TikTok, a popular social media video-sharing platform, has gone far beyond sharing trendy dances and silly videos. It has come to serve as a support system and community for many people, including the LGBTQ+ community.
As TikTok grew in popularity since its launch in the U.S., it was inevitable that there would be an LGBTQ+ presence on the app, but it has actually become a serious platform for support and visibility.
“I believe the platform has allowed for growth within the community,” said Emily Castro, a popular LGBTQ+ TikTok creator.
The LGBTQ+ is constantly fighting to have visibility in popular media, but this is becoming easier in platforms intended for younger generations, like TikTok. In recent years, the world has become increasingly accepting, but this is not everyone’s experience. This makes platforms, such as TikTok, very important.
Both Castor and Kristin Kern, a popular bisexual TikTok creator, expressed that they don’t only make LGBTQ+ related content. This adds to visibility because, when users like a video, they tend to go to the creator’s page and watch more of their videos.
Visibility in this form also allows for people in and outside of the community to learn in a safe environment.
“I believe TikTok is helping LGBTQ+ visibility because it is such a huge platform right now,” said Kern. She also pointed out that what users see is based on their activity, so LGBTQ+ people are probably more likely to see that type of content.
This led to a discussion on the connections that TikTok provides for the LGBTQ+ community. If what users see is, in fact, based on activity, it would allow easier access to other people with similar interests and content the users relate to. Based on personal use, this seems to be the case.
“TikTok allowed me to meet so many people from across the world,” said Castro when asked about the connections TikTok provides. The fact that this is a global app allows people to connect that may have never had the opportunity without it.
Another necessary aspect of TikTok to explore is the separate experiences of being a creator and being a viewer.
As creators, both Castro and Kern expressed that they aim to produce content that people can relate to and possibly make them laugh.
“Seeing all of the LGBTQ+ content makes me feel all the acceptance I didn’t have,” said Maddie Jordan, a 26-year-old TikTok user. “It also makes me happy to know that the younger people in the LGBTQ+ community have a way to know they aren’t alone.”
Jordan is not alone in experiencing positive feelings. Several users have expressed similar feelings.
“TikTok is one of the only places I can be out and seeing content from other trans people gives me so much comfort,” said Matthew Hill, 19.