Although I’ve been creating content on Instagram since I was 14, I was initially hesitant to post on TikTok because it had little popularity in the early stages.
But in 2019, while working full time as a debt collector, I started posting on the platform. My videos usually featured a transition from male to female, allowing me to showcase my quirky artistry through makeup and fashion. It also created a space for me to explore the fluidity of my sexuality at a time when I was struggling with feelings of dissatisfaction about my body and identity.
I received a lot of comments from viewers that I guess there were two different people in the video and I couldn’t believe both versions were me. I think society is very accustomed to labels and gender binaries. Therefore, if someone does not follow these rules, it can be difficult for some people to understand.
Since then, I’ve posted about my life as a gender-neutral parent and introduced my young daughter in some of the videos that resonate with viewers. I grew my platform to more than 180k followers and my videos got nearly 4 million likes. While I am pleased to be able to provide more queer representation, the journey hasn’t always been easy.
At first, I wasn’t sure about posting about my one-year-old daughter, Mila, because I was concerned about her privacy and security. But being a father is an essential part of my life and I always aim to be authentic as a content creator. I decided it was important to be open about my experience of becoming a parent as a gender flexible person. In February 2021, she posted the first video with her dancing to Carrie Underwood’s “Church Bells”, then posted a video in high heels pushing her stroller and writing “We are the future.”
However, the video that actually became a hot topic was her ‘Get Ready With Me On Father’s Day’ video, showing her taking care of her child while grooming her makeup and hair. I noticed the video was playing when my phone went into odrive mode with constant notifications for comments and likes. It was completely surreal. As a father, not gender, it was just an ordinary morning broadcast, but it seemed that many viewers were surprised, surprised, and perplexed by the appearance.
The video received 9.2 million views and 1.6 million likes. At first the interest seemed like a surge in serotonin levels, but the influx of new followers, messages, comments and likes was also overwhelming.
Some comments expressed “concern” that I “mistook” Mila for my feminine presentation, but many came to my defense by expressing how much Mila should be treated as a kind parent. Some added that they are excited to see the results of a future generation that will accept so much.
For me, the answer reaffirmed the importance of educating people about the fluidity of sexuality and sexuality while challenging the traditional parenting archetype. After becoming a father, that became very important to me. I want to show people that parenting is not limited to straight people. It is for everyone. We are also parents and active members of society.
Despite some pitfalls, I’m glad my platform offers an opportunity to increase visibility for people like me
Last year during Pride month, I posted a TikTok video that shows me receiving anti-LGBTQ hate at a train station. It went viral and garnered over a million views.
The event was a frightening and traumatic experience, and while I received the overwhelmingly supportive response, it became overwhelming, too. People started coming up to me on a road that was extremely difficult to navigate and felt overwhelming.
Anubhav changed my perspective and I realized that the millions of views and thousands of comments on my videos were no longer just numbers on the screen, but real people. I’ve been lucky enough to develop a nice and supportive community of followers on TikTok, with occasional negative comments and reactions, but those commenters may have been educated by hate.
More importantly, having a platform and going viral time and again attracted young viewers and showed them the existence of non-gendered people. We are just ordinary people.
As a sexist working-class child, I had no rep and didn’t think it was possible to have my own child. So it’s magical for a young queer to see and express themselves in my experience.
I will be happy to be working class for the rest of my life. However, we are glad that the success of TikTok has enabled us to pursue content creation full-time and provide other opportunities on the platform. (I was recently a participant in Season 4 of the BBC Makeup Artist Competition Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star.)