Being a lesbian on TikTok means that my “For You” page is dominated by gay creators, something that should be celebrated. However, gay TikTok has created a toxic culture surrounding coming out, the spectrum of sexuality and so forth.
TikTok was released back in 2016 for Chinese markets and was later released in the U.S. in 2018 after merging with the popular app musical.ly.
Users can upload videos with numerous effects and text options. Videos range from dancing and lip syncing videos to comedy sketches and random videos that people have saved on their phone from a funny moment with friends or family. TikTok has grown immensely popular since its first release date back in 2018, gaining 800 million users.
However, just like any other social media app, there will be flaws. TikTok has been slammed in the past for hiding content created by black creators, users who are disabled and people who are seen as ugly, poor or overweight.
However, the flaw that concerns the LGBTQ community is not with the app itself, but with the users posting such content.
Lesbian creators have been promoting terms with negative connotations such as "gold star lesbian," referring to a woman who has only had sex with other women and never a man, and "baby gay," referring to people who have recently come out.
The term gold star lesbian creates not only a negative stigma against bisexuals, pansexuals and those whose sexuality is fluid, but also places value of sex over the person. This term places higher value on a lesbian who is "pure" and negatively impacts women who came out later in life after dating men.
Using the term gold star lesbian can also be seen as transphobic. Dating a trans woman who has not fully transitioned includes different challenges than dating a cisgender gay woman. By using the term gold star lesbian, these creators are completely undermining a part of their own community. Trans women are women, and their partners should not be seen as giving up their "gold star lesbian" status because of who they love and are with.
Along with gold star lesbian, TikTok lesbians have brought back the term baby gay. Baby gay can negatively impact someone who recently came out and make them feel less than someone who has been out for a while. Coming out is a scary thing to do, and for a lot of people, it takes time.
The TikTok lesbians don't realize that not everyone has supportive families who will love and support someone when they come out. Individuals have been kicked out, killed or sometimes even killed themselves over coming out. It is hard, and using the term baby gay only reinforces the idea that there is a right time to come out and when you do, you have to know everything there is about being gay and gay media.
Using the term baby gay undermines a person's journey on coming out and places lesser value on those who are newly out.
These terms divide a community that needs to stand together. They create subsections and exclusive groups. With a community that has struggled as much as the LGBTQ community has, they need to support everyone in that community and create a positive environment. The lesbians who use these terms are only discriminating against people they should be supporting.
TikTok has given the LGBTQ community a platform, but its creators are teaching a new generation of gay individuals how to damage and degrade themselves before they get the chance to know themselves in a new identity.
Kelsey Boeing is a rising senior studying photojournalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Let Kelsey know by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.