TikTokers and Pride – Get To Know Them

Written by Alex Shukri

This pride month, I got a chance to sit down with a few TikTok creators that are in the LGBTQ+ community and hear them talk about their identities, their struggles, and how they express their pride not only during this wonderful month but throughout the year, too. Read on and get to know a little bit more about Rynn, Daejah, and Andi! (And if you like what they say, their TikTok handles are right there, ready to be followed!)

Rynn, She/They, @Rynnstar, Blactivist/leftist/Alt side

Alex: What piece of advice do you wish you could give your past self about your identity, life now, or journey you’ve been on?

Don’t be afraid to question what you’ve always been taught and actually listen to people instead of arguing. 

What’s something you struggle with as a queer/genderqueer person on and off the app, and how do you cope with it?

A lot of religious trauma is tied up in it. I spent years not understanding a part of myself because I thought I wasn’t allowed to. Sometimes that trauma still rears its ugly head.

To contrast that, what’s one joy that has come from understanding your identity? 

I’ve found a wonderful community on TikTok and other places online and offline and felt very accepted and free to explore my own identity. I’ve already experienced a lot of shifting identifiers for myself. I don’t identify as non-binary but I do like stretching outside the constraints of the traditional understanding of gender, hence my experimentation with pronouns. I’ve made so many wonderful friends through my mutuals and exposed to so many different cultures and beliefs and educated on so much history that I had no idea about.

How do you feel knowing you have a platform in the way that you do?

It’s intimidating sometimes. I really try to be mindful about what I put out there into the world and try to leave things better than I found them and platform voices that don’t get heard enough. I’m trying to improve on what I’ve put on the Internet or being sensitive to the feelings of others, 

Daejah Woolery, she/they, @DaejahTalksTV / Filmtok (focusing on representation). 

What piece of advice do you wish you could give your past self about your identity, life now, or journey you’ve been on?

I would tell my past self that at some point I have to choose my happiness over the status quo and being out and moving on the journey of self-discovery isn’t easy at all, but it’s way harder to feel like you’re hiding yourself. Take just one step towards being open about my truest self and all the other steps will follow.

What’s something you struggle with as a queer/genderqueer person on and off the app, and how do you cope with it?

I definitely struggle with the realisation that some people will never accept me, even people I was once close to. That hurts, but the important people stick around. 

To contrast that, what’s one joy that has come from understanding your identity?

Understanding my identity has freed me into myself. I knew I was queer for a long time but working through gender and realising I am non-binary has been revolutionary this past year. I spent so much time and effort trying to perform womanhood and a lot of my true self was buried under the performance. But now I just get to live life and see where it leads me. 

What’s one thing you’ve changed in the world (no matter how small you think it is) because of your platform?

Anytime someone private messages me or comments that they decided to start writing or studying film because of me, I know there’s a new person gearing up to bring their unique perspective into the world. To me, that’s the best impact I could have, and I remember those interactions and think about them continuously. I’m amazed to be a part of their life. 

Andi or AJ, she/they, @honeynutt.cheerios – political/comedy Tiktoks

What piece of advice do you wish you could give your past self about your identity, life now, or journey you’ve been on?

Google “gender dysphoria” and read the first five results. Looking back I was always aware of my dysphoric feelings, but I didn’t know how to name it. But I didn’t really know what gender was, and neither did anyone my age. I spent a lot of time wondering if I was gay because that’s what society tells us feminine men are, even though I knew I didn’t like men. But I feel like if middle school me actually knew to look up gender dysphoria and explore what gender is, I would’ve found a way to be comfortable in my skin sooner.

What’s something you struggle with as a queer/genderqueer person on and off the app, and how do you cope with it?

Imposter syndrome. All the time, for my gender and sexuality. I often question if I have enough dysphoria to even call myself trans because it’s not so much that I don’t like masculinity as it is that if I’m going to be seen as masculine at all. I would rather be seen as a sort of masculine woman, rather than a sort of masculine man. Even though I identify as transfemme, I feel weird calling myself a “girl,” because I don’t pass at all. Not passing also makes me feel weird about my sexuality, because I consider myself a lesbian, and at times it feels uncomfortable asking cis women to see me as a lesbian when I often look like a straight man. 

To contrast that, what’s one joy that has come from understanding your identity? 

There’s just something special about transmedia – seeing or hearing your experience… it’s so validating to see other people struggle with the complexity of gender, and watch them slowly find an identity that makes them happy. 

Has being on TikTok given you any sort of community, clarity or positive change in your life?

I don’t know if I ever would’ve figured out my identity if I wasn’t on the app. I’ve also met so many other genderqueer creators and this has formed the first community of genderqueer people that I’ve ever had. It’s definitely been a positive impact on me.

Featured image courtesy of Ian Taylor via Unsplash

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