‘TikTok Shared Queer Happiness & Sorrow’: LGBTQ Members On App Ban

What does the ban on TikTok mean for the queer community who have used it to talk about gender identity?

Updated02 Jul 2020, 04:52 AM IST
Gender
2 min read

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

For thousands of content creators on TikTok, time stood still when the Indian government on 29 June banned 59 mobile applications, citing ‘threat to security of the state’.

But for the LGBTQIA+content and members on the platform, TikTok was more than a video sharing application – it was a medium of expression. For starters, it was a “safe and accessible” space for the community, content creators tell The Quint.

“It brought in a lot of people from the queer community to express themselves even from far-off remote areas, thus proving that queerness is not something exclusive to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.”
Rishi Raj, LGBTQIA+ Activist

As queer people, members of the community are always in search of platforms to express themselves, says Alex Balakrishnan, asserting that TikTok was ‘that democratic platform.

“It allowed us so much freedom and it allowed us to express ourselves. As queer people, we need internet platforms. The internet has revolutionised the queer movement,” said Balakrishnan, who is a student.

As a platform, TikTok was also more open to people positing queer content – seeing two men embracing each other, make-up on a trans person, to name a few. And despite queerphobic comments, the content had more chances of staying online as compared to other social media platforms.

“As queer people, we would post videos of our lovers, we would be posting queer content and it was going out to the masses, it was making a change on a mass level. It is not good enough to just remain in exclusive circles on Instagram or just on exclusive groups on Facebook. That doesn’t do any change.”
Alex Balakrishnan

Bridging The Class, Caste Divide

Snapshot

Above all, members of queer community on the application collectively said that it bridged the class-caste divide and brought forward voices from slums and rural areas across the country.

“This is not more about the ban on TikTok than about the local queer and trans-artists from the slum and rural (areas) getting a wider platform in the country. That is now gone with the ban of this app.”

TikTok, as an app may have had many issues. But while it was allowed in India, it was helping in spreading queer sorrows, queer narratives and above all queer love stories.

“TikTok gave everyone an equal opportunity regardless of their class and caste to come and talk about their queerness, express their queerness. Normalised it for people as well because they were getting to see queer people more often.”
Rishi Raj, LGBTQIA+ Activist

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Published: 02 Jul 2020, 02:29 AM IST
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!