By Sarah Neilson
California-based lesbian couple Alissa and Sam met in Florence four years ago, a romantic story if ever there was one. They are TikTok and YouTube creators who set out to create a safe space for young queer women to see themselves reflected. Through fun and humorous content like tags, vlogs, and fitness and plant-based lifestyle, the pair have garnered over 220k followers on TikTok.
“I think our relationship resonated with a lot of young people,” says Sam. “We try to always be ourselves, and never anything else. As an LGBTQ lesbian couple, we want to give young people something to look up to that we didn’t have when we were younger.” Alissa and Sam say they receive many messages from their viewers about gaining the confidence to come out to their families and appreciating the positivity the two bring to their social media presence.
In addition to filming their relationship, Alissa works as a model and is currently working with JC Caylen’s clothing brand, TIXXO. The two are also passionate about eco-conscious living and the rights of trans athletes. “More than two dozen states seek to exclude transgender youth from interscholastic sports, depriving them of community and confidence-building skills,” they say. “It’s devastating and such a huge issue that needs and deserves to be fixed.”
Alissa and Sam see TikTok as a community where there is room for all LGBTQ creators. “It’s important to not just support LGBTQ women, but all people that identify as LGBTQ on Tiktok” they say. “Being in the LGBTQ community we’ve always supported other LGBTQ creators, instead of viewing them as competition. At the end of the day everyone is creating content that their audience resonates with, and content that is unique to them.” (@itsalissaandsam)
By Sondra Morris
Building a community on TikTok came naturally for Court and Lex. After losing their jobs during the pandemic, the two 26-year-olds began their social media journey. “Our mental health was deteriorating and our supporters really helped pull us out of a dark place,” the two explain. Through authentic portrayals of their experiences as an out and proud lesbian couple raising three children, Court and Lex crafted a safe space online where followers feel comfortable discussing mental health, sexuality, and a slew of other topics with one another.
Though TikTok has come under fire recently for downplaying the work of Black and POC creators, Court and Lex crossed those barriers to become queens of #lesbiantok (the “side” of TikTok filled with content by sapphic creators.) With over one million followers, their videos reach those who may have otherwise felt alone. In a video about anxiety and bed-wetting, followers thanked Court and Lex in the comments, expressing relief to find that they weren’t alone in having similar experiences. Comments like these are common across their videos, with followers often sharing how the couple’s content aids with prioritizing their mental health. When asked why they’ve been so successful on TikTok, Court and Lex explain, “We let people know that it’s okay to have ‘flaws’ and still be successful and amazing.”
Court and Lex use their voices to spread positive messages and encourage those who interact with their content to just be themselves. They post videos about eschewing the “femme” and “stud” labels in favor of simply wearing what they want. Building on that freedom, they’ve even launched their own tea line called “No Label Tea” based on the idea of “living outside of the labels society tells us we have to fit under.” (@CourtLex_)
By Clare Mulroy
If you’ve ever seen Hailee and Kendra on TikTok, it’s likely one of their viral videos where 27-year-old Hailee surprises her fiancée, 24-year-old Kendra, with a flirty pick-up line. With Kendra’s hilariously emotive expressions and Hailee’s creative one-liners, followers come for the jokes and stay for wholesome love.
Engaged in 2019, the pair went viral in 2020 and has amassed a following of over 7 million on TikTok. For Hailee and Kendra, there are “infinite reasons” to support LGBTQ women on TikTok, one of the most important being for LGBTQ youth.
“There are too many kiddos who, when coming out, are met with many misconceptions, such as they will never be able to have a wedding, have children, enjoy a healthy relationship, or be a doctor,” says Hailee and Kendra. “We are living proof that those are untruths.”
The future Mrs. and Mrs. are based out of Saint Louis, Missouri, and say they feel lucky to be a resource to followers that ask them for advice on how to be a better partner or better ally. Hailee and Kendra have also worked with organizations like the Trevor Project as activists passionate about suicide prevention and combating homelessness and depression.
“We remember being young and feeling different and alone,” the pair say. “We want to do our best to remind anyone struggling that different is beautiful, that they are so loved, and that they are not alone. We are here, we believe in them, and we are so proud to share this community with them.”
The power couple will be getting married by the end of 2022, but for now followers can expect the same kind of content that skyrocketed Hailee and Kendra to TikTok fame in the first place — the perfect balance between raunchy comedy and aww-worthy couple moments. (@haileeandkendra)
By Sondra Morris
Despite all the success the LGBTQ community has made over the years, we still struggle for acceptance in too many spheres. For 27-year-old Texan Lolo Daniels, that fight entered a new frontier on TikTok. Out, proud, and unflinching in her celebration of her lesbian identity, Lolo grew her TikTok to over 48,000 followers and has made her living as an influencer on the app since 2019.
In late 2020, trolls began attacking Lolo, her moderators, and her followers on TikTok. The trolls also reported her page, tricking the algorithm into identifying her page as one that posted inappropriate content. Those actions caused Lolo’s main account, @thelolodee, to be shut down for “violating community guidelines.”
Instead of giving up, Lolo took part in a petition demanding that TikTok change their algorithm. “It’s important to support LGBTQ women on TikTok because we face suppression by society and the app as a whole. We have to stick together and support one another to have our voices be heard,” she says. Now—just months after shutting down her original account—the trolls are back, attempting to have Lolo’s newest account removed from TikTok as well.
Whatever happens, Lolo’s audience isn’t going anywhere. “I am very outspoken when it comes to my sexuality, so people that are questioning theirs or already have come to terms with theirs, feel it’s a safe place not to be judged,” Lolo explains. That’s important to her, as she advocates for LGBTQ acceptance. “I’m passionate about this because I didn’t have that, and it would have made my coming out experience so much better mentally and emotionally,” she says. Lolo will continue advocating for LGBTQ awareness on her Instagram, the YouTube channel she’s launching soon, and within her clothing line. (@the_lolodee)
By Sarah Neilson
Mari Taren is a Los Angeles-based actor and comedian who grew up in Chicago, where she performed sketch comedy and graduated from The Second City Chicago Conservatory. She also studied Fine Arts in college with a focus in painting and ceramics, and even did glass-blowing as a teenager. Now, she makes queer comedic content on TikTok and Instagram, and is set to star in the third season of Apple TV’s show “For All Mankind.”
Mari’s page where she makes videos in which she asks her parents about queer terms, makes queer welcome kits, and generally creates funny content has amassed over 160k followers, and Mari is now doing standup in person around Los Angeles, CA. But Mari’s passion extends far beyond social media. “I am very passionate about protecting trans youth. Pride was started by Black trans women and we cannot forget that,” she says. “It is important that we keep the trans community safe and do everything we can to support them through any means necessary.”
Mari also sits on the board of her family’s charity, Lucy’s Children’s Fund, which focuses on assisting and giving opportunities to low income and underprivileged children around the world. She also supports Stacey Abram’s foundation A Fair Fight, which aims to fight voter suppression, and the anti-gun violence organization Everytown.
With her comedy, she says, “my goal will always be to make people laugh, but I’ll also accept groans due to my bad puns and dad jokes. I am here to make my new followers feel like they’re not alone and that they are loved for exactly who they are. And who they are is usually a Uhaul-ing, Subaru driving, iced coffee drinking, queer.” (@mtaren)
By Becca Damante
When 28-year-old Megan Mitchell was in high school, she decided she wanted to become a news anchor. At the time, she was passionate about sports, theatre, politics, science, pop culture, and producing videos. She then realized that a journalism career would allow her to cover all of those areas. Now a reporter and anchor for WLWT-TV in Cincinnati and a TikTok superstar with more than 1.5 million followers, Megan has covered stories on a variety of issues and made queer people in Ohio and across the world feel a little less alone.
Since joining TikTok in 2020, Megan has posted numerous videos showcasing what it’s like to be a queer newscaster. Her most popular video to date has 16.1 million views, and shows her sporting a bright yellow suit and her signature undercut.
Before joining the team at WLWT-TV, Megan spent several years as a news anchor in North Dakota, where she broke the story on the Standing Rock Reservation’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. During that time, she also wrote and produced an award-winning documentary on Two-Spirit Native Americans.
When asked about why she thinks she gained such a large following on TikTok, Megan says that people who don’t live in progressive areas like Hollywood or New York City are still seeking queer representation.
“The[se people] live in the Ohios of the world and their loved ones who they might be afraid to come out to do too,” explains Megan.
The next time you visit her TikTok, you’re guaranteed to see “authenticity and vulnerability” as well as her latest news stories and some fun dance moves and lip-syncs. (@megan.mitchell)
By Sarah Neilson
Mena (they/them) and Kris (they/she) actually met on TikTok when it was still Music.ly, five years ago. Since then, they have moved in together in California (Mena is from Ontario, Canada and Kris grew up in Southern California), grown their respective pages, and started on new projects. Mena runs a minimalist inclusive clothing brand called “All About Perspective Apparel,” and Kris is growing her tarot reading business on her second TikTok page.
“Before we got together, Kris started gaining a following from their transition videos while Mena gained a following from their singing videos,” they say. “When we first started talking, we were long distance and people started to get invested in our relationship.”
Mena’s content includes tattoo videos, challenges, and fun content with Kris, while Kris’s includes dancing and talking about parenthood and their spiritual journey. Both are passionate about mental health both within the LGBTQ community and more generally. “Mena was a part of a mental health advocacy group in high school and has worked with the Trevor Project,” they say. “We are both very firm believers in advocating for mental health. While Mena worked with learning and acknowledging how mental health affects us, Kris works on the spiritual end of mental health with their tarot readings.”
Both are excited about the future, as they are getting married this summer and are each expanding their online businesses. In the wider TikTok community, they say, “we think it’s important to support LGBTQ women on TikTok because very much like the outside world, our voices and our content were very much being suppressed. Not many people realize that it is so important to be able to have a community and a safe space to be heard and seen.” (@imjustmena, @imjustkrxs, @mystic.kris)
By Clare Mulroy
17-year-old activist and creator Ve’ondre Mitchell created her TikTok account with a mission — to increase representation of trans women, especially Black and Latinx trans women.
The Seattle native is known across fyp’s— also known as For You Pages—for her eccentric facial expressions as she sings along to popular TikTok audios and songs. She is also passionate about representation and inclusivity within the fashion industry. Ve’ondre’s videos combine fashion, beauty, and activism and inspire her nearly four million followers to be proud of who they are.
“As trans women our voices are constantly silenced just for being who we are. Our presence makes others uncomfortable because we are so confident that it threatens others and brings out the world’s insecurities,” she says. “Our confidence should be praised because we are very brave in the action of just coming out.”
Though Ve’ondre admits she often gets hate under her videos, the overwhelming support system of her followers and friends lifts her up. Ve’ondre has been out for a decade, and regularly shares comedic and relatable content about the realities of being trans.
“I think I gained a following quickly because in this day and age it’s very rare for someone to be trans as young as I am,” she explains. “Coming out at seven has always been a shock to most.”
Aside from a massive following on social media, Ve’ondre is also a normal high schooler. She is the Vice President of her high school’s Black Student Union and is passionate about racial equality and erasing the presence of microaggressions and blatant racism in everyday society. She is also a dancer. Ve’ondre regularly posts dancing videos and is on her school’s dance team.
Between daily videos and a YouTube channel on the horizon, it’s clear that there’s no stopping her. (@veondre)