Front Page A&EPride in the Media

Brilliance in the Digital Realm

TikTok creators do their part for Houston’s LGBTQ community.

 

TikTok is flourishing as a venue for queer connection as its algorithm not only promotes but creates niche subcommunities for each user. OutSmart introduces you to a few of the LGBTQ creators who are making waves.

Sunny Daye

Sunny Daye

@thesundaye on TikTok, with 74.1k followers on the app

“HTX. Queer. Musician.”

How would you describe the content that you make for TikTok?
I make content for the queers! All queers of all colors, ages, shapes, and sizes. It’s important for me to feel like a moving part of my community. I want to use whatever platform I have to be an advocate for us, and also showcase representation and relatability for those who need it.

How did you first get involved with posting on TikTok? What do you enjoy about the platform?
I kind of just started making videos. I got on the app much later than most people and felt a little lame at first, I’m not gonna lie. But as soon as I found my niche, I couldn’t get off of it. I really enjoy how versatile it is; it can be informative, inspiring, or it can just be a good way to release some serotonin and pass the time.

@thesundaye Hope this helps! #fyp #lgbt #lesbiansoftiktok #blacklesbiantiktok #femsoftiktok #androgynous #queertiktok #HTX #thesundaye ♬ original sound – Sunny Daye

 

How do you think TikTok helps the LGBTQ community connect with each other?
TikTok helps connect the LGBTQ community in ways we’ve never seen before in terms of mutual aid, finding fellow queers in the area, or even finding your soulmate. It can connect you to queers on the other side of the world simply because you both like cat videos. It’s honestly remarkable and a little scary.

What is your favorite part of the LGBTQ community in Houston?
My favorite (and consequently least favorite) part about the LGBTQ community in Houston is its weblike connections. Houston is a gigantic city, but almost every queer you meet is only two or three degrees separated from you already. Let me explain: you meet a really cute girl, and you start dating. You tell your friend about said girl, and your friend says she and the girl used to be in a promo group together. Always almost connected.

What’s your favorite spot in the city to visit?
My absolute favorite spot is the Montrose area. It’s just so stinkin’ cute. There are gays frolicking everywhere, rainbow flags decorate every porch, and the restaurants are to die for.

Emma Weyand

Emma Weyand

@this.iss.emma on TikTok, with 42.3k followers on the app

“We’re out here in H-Town!”

How would you describe the content that you make for TikTok?
I would describe my TikTok content as coming from a place of self-expression. Growing up, I felt like I couldn’t be myself—which I think is what many people go through in the community. I was constantly judged by the way I look and the way I act. My content is a representation of self-love, self-expression, and self-confidence that I couldn’t have when I was younger. It took a long time to be comfortable in my own skin. Being able to now be comfortable with myself and post on TikTok is a beautiful thing.

@this.iss.emma Just ignore the fact that I’m only 5’4☠️ #lesbian #lgbt #gay ♬ Big Boys – cshsznxo!

 

How did you first get involved with posting on TikTok? What do you enjoy about the platform?
I started posting on TikTok during COVID. Once everything shut down, I moved from Chicago back to Buffalo, New York. I had little access to LGBTQ friends and events, so I decided to build a community on TikTok through videos and live streams. I really enjoyed being able to talk to new people and get to know them. I made so many friends through live streams. I actually got to meet a lot of them in person when I moved to Houston.

How do you think TikTok helps the LGBTQ community connect with each other?
I’ve never felt like I was a part of such a close-knit community until I became active on TikTok. During COVID, it helped me make friends and find like-minded people. Now it’s connecting everyone in the real world, as well. All across the world, everyone has their own communities and now we can showcase them on TikTok, which makes me feel more connected to the rest of the LGBTQ community.

What is your favorite part of the LGBTQ community in Houston?
How friendly everyone is. I’ve never met a community that is so welcoming and so judgment-free. There is an endless amount of support in all aspects of the community, and everyone just wants to hype each other up. It’s so full of love, happiness, and support. I’ve never felt more at home than I have here.

What’s your favorite spot in the city to visit?
My favorite spot is Pearl Bar Houston. It is the only lesbian bar in Houston, and it is the best place to be. I’ve been working there for two years. You can catch me behind the bar Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Even when I’m not working, I stop by a lot of the time because it is such an inviting and friendly place. I mentioned how I’ve never felt more at home than I have here, and Pearl Bar plays a huge role in that. It’s a safe space that everyone in the LGBTQ community can go to be themselves. Pearl Bar has changed my life for the better and is a home away from home for many people, including myself.

John Fuller

John Fuller

@_johnnyelvis on TikTok, with 36.4k followers on the app

“Constantly stressed, but simultaneously blessed.”

How would you describe the content that you make for TikTok?
All of my content, for the most part, is about experiences in the Houston area. I’ve promoted bars, restaurants, retail stores, local businesses and charities, fundraisers, immersive pop-ups, as well as just info about the city itself. I’m a transplant to the city who moved here in May of 2019, and I found myself lost trying to navigate HTX. So I want my content to be for people who are genuinely trying to fall in love with living here, as I have.

How did you first get involved with posting on TikTok? What do you enjoy about the platform?
TikTok came into my life just like it did for most of us: the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. I was playing around with the in-app effects and posted it for my measly three followers. Around 2 a.m., I started hearing a bunch of notifications coming from my phone in the other room. It was TikTok notifications. I couldn’t believe the first video I ever posted was on the For You page. The next day, I talked to many friends and family about it. They very much convinced me to ‘run with it,’ so I did. I made four more videos within the week (all about Houston), and each of those went viral, as well. I had garnered millions of views and 10,000 followers within a two-week span. I truly am lucky that my content stuck like it did at the beginning. That’s the hardest part of being a content creator: getting seen!

Once businesses began reopening, I took my content out into the real world and off the green-screen in my closet. I was fortunate to meet RTB Event Group through the grapevine. They were crushing the club promotion game, so I made many colleagues and connections through them. They opened many doors for me as a little content creator, and I hope they read this so they can see how thankful I am for them. From there, it just took off and I ran with it. Many restaurants and bars later, here I am now: nearing 40,000 followers, almost 1 million lifetime likes, and millions of views. I feel blessed in every way.

@_johnnyelvis Did i forget any of your favorites? #foryou #fyp #foryoupage #houston #htx #houstontx #houstonfood #houstonfoodspots #houstonspots #greenscreen ♬ original sound – John Michael

 

How do you think TikTok helps the LGBTQ community connect with each other?
The fact that TikTok had a small hand in me meeting my now-husband should speak volumes. I never saw myself getting married or falling in love, and this app handed me the man of my dreams on a silver platter. I think the fact it’s so niche in its algorithm and what content you see makes it a special social-media platform. I’ve made so many friends in the LGBTQ community through TikTok locally and abroad. On top of that, this ability to connect and be [vulnerable with] people about your struggles, wants, specific interests, lifestyle, etc. can be valuable to many LGBTQ people. As someone who grew up in a small trailer park in a small conservative town in Louisiana, having an app on my phone that would show me people who are just like me would have saved me many years of guilt and shame that I ultimately had to face when I was older.

What is your favorite part of the LGBTQ community in Houston?
The history of the LGTBQ community in Houston. HTX was making waves in the world for queer people years before the other big cities in Texas. That’s something that should be noticed and respected by the rest of the state. Also, the diversity—which I know is a basic answer, but it’s a noticeable feature of our community that most other cities don’t have. And in my opinion, it makes us so much more glamorous, even if we don’t get enough credit for it.

What’s your favorite spot in the city to visit?
That’s an ever-changing answer for me. Just when I think I have all my favorites picked, something comes along and completely changes my list. I absolutely love Rivas for brunch. BAE for ice cream. RAXX for vintage shopping. Tacos Tec for authentic Mexican food. Brass Tacks for coffee. Burger Bodega for lunch. Miyakos for sushi. MAD for birthday dinners. And Pergola is the newest restaurant on my list that’s grabbing my attention.

Comments

Morgan Gage

Morgan Gage is a staff writer for OutSmart Magazine.
Back to top button