Chinese social media app TikTok is a bastion of LGBTQ material.
As The Daily Wire reported last week, TikTok — owned by Beijing-based technology company ByteDance — was the most visited website in 2021, driving more internet traffic than Google. TikTok is particularly popular among children and teenagers, who constitute the plurality of the site’s user base; among American youth, TikTok is now more popular than Instagram and Snapchat.
However, a report from The Daily Mail indicates that content posted by transgender influencers has been seen by millions of young viewers. As of Sunday, videos with the hashtag “Trans” have been watched more than 26 billion times. The outlet also noted that TikTok is locking arms with Stonewall — a LGBTQ organization in the United States — to promote the material.
The Daily Mail provided several examples:
One popular transgender TikTok influencer, Bella Fitzpatrick, raised £20,000 from followers in less than three months to fund private gender-reassignment surgery. The 19-year-old has 700,000 followers and explains the process of transitioning, including her experience of bypassing NHS waiting lists.
Another is Alex Consani, 18, who has more than 680,000 followers. She went viral five years ago when, aged 12, Cosmopolitan magazine featured her life as a trans model. One of her videos, seen 2.3 million times, tells followers they are ‘one oestrogen pill away from a glow up’. A ‘glow up’ is a mental, physical and emotional transformation for the better.
A channel featuring influencer Jaison Jowett shows the process of transitioning and carrying out reassignment surgery. One video includes the caption ‘Heal with me after top surgery!’ — a reference to a reconstructive chest operation.
Another video begins with the words ‘I used to be a good Christian kid’ before showing the transformation to a ‘trans, gay atheist who loves tattoos and chaos’.
“We are honoured that the LGBTQ+ community has embraced TikTok from our very early days, as a platform for self-expression, education, community-building and joy,” A spokesman for TikTok told The Daily Mail. A spokesman for Stonewall added: “Our content allows young LGBTQ+ people to know that they are not alone in their experiences.”
Last year, President Trump considered banning TikTok amid national security concerns. However, President Biden reversed his predecessor’s order in June.
More recently, some doctors have attributed a surge in physical tics among teenage girls to TikTok. According to medical journal articles, physicians observed that the girls had been looking at videos of influencers on TikTok who claimed to have Tourette syndrome. The Daily Wire’s Charlotte Pence Bond explained that the phenomenon “seemed to coincide with the beginning of the pandemic, and pediatric movement-disorder facilities around the United States have also stated they’ve seen a flood of teenage girls with similar symptoms.”
“There are some kids who watch social media and develop tics and some who don’t have any access to social media and develop tics,” Dr. Joseph McGuire told The Wall Street Journal. “I think there are a lot of contributing factors, including anxiety, depression and stress.”