For many in the LGBTQ+ community, the internet is a great — albeit often chaotic — help in exploring our authentic identities. If you’re as old as me, that might have meant AIM chat rooms, Gay.com, or connecting with your fav queer band (Scissor Sisters!!!) on MySpace. All these are long-expired internet tools, but the protocols were the same as they are now. We want to find people who share our challenges and dreams, and have a little fun. Wink. Wink.
Today, the LGBTQ+ community has a remarkable opportunity to connect via social media, sharing real-life experiences, in once unheard of dynamic and public ways. While we often encounter trolls, hate speech, and misinformation, there are some amazing bastions of rainbow energy out there for us to learn from, laugh with, and truly love.
Below are some of the creators I’m following, and I encourage you to pursue their content and consider watching too!
Alyssa Al-Dookhi (they/them/theirs)
Queer, biracial, and hilarious, Alyssa Al-Dookhi is a cat-loving (hello Lenny!) comedian and abortion rights activist who draws from all their life experiences to create powerfully quirky and honest humor. What I love about TheDookness is their digital mixture of polished performances, self-promotion, and self-deprecation. And while they’re reaching national audiences via comedy club tours and appearances on Queer Eye and Sing On, they’re still effortlessly Philly. What does that mean to those of you outside of the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection? Check out the Dookness and tell me what you think.
Zach Grear (he/him/his)
We all deserve a little erotica in our social media diet — it’s healthy and natural. Look at Zack Grear, a NY-based queer erotic artist who uses markers and collage to alter found imagery and vintage gay porn. Unique and dynamic, Grear’s work has a modern energy overlaid on nostalgia and classic visuals. His work has featured superstars like James Baldwin, Grace Jones, Aaliyah, Andy Warhol, as well as New York nightlife legends and queer leaders. His art reminds us that “queer can mean rage, joy, beauty and always be punk.”
TS Madison (she/her/hers)
If you are not familiar with TS Madison from her fantastic WeTV series or from her time as a guest judge on RuPaul’s DragRace, then you’ve been living under a rock. Maybe a very straight rock? You can also check her out in the gay rom-com Bros (now streaming). Following this diva on social media is a unique journey every day, with frequent live chats, jokes, and some very fundamental reading. If you like your tea scalding hot with a side of shade, then Maddie’s accounts are the ones for you.
Griffin Maxwell Brooks (they/them/theirs)
“I’m not a man, I’m not a woman, I’m a VIBE!” If you need a dose of #yasssssss to jumpstart your day, Griffin’s the gay for you. This Ivy League swimmer, self-proclaimed bimbo, and 21st-century club kid serves up lewks, laughter, and lunacy while being unapologetically queer. Their fashions range from outlandish to couture, and their commentary is confidently over-the-top, but underneath the drama of it all, you can sense Griffin is pushing their own boundaries as much as they are pushing yours. There is a knowing “wink” to their work — a subtext of “seriously, don’t take me too seriously…” — that lets you know this bimbo has a heart of gold.
A faculty member at the nation’s number one art school, The New School / Parsons School of Design, American Artist makes thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production, beginning with their legal name change in 2013. Their artwork primarily takes the form of sculpture, software, video, installation, new media, and writing to consider Black labor and visibility within networked life. It’s a heady, thoughtful, deliberate and fascinating practice.
Dylan Mulvaney (she/they)
We tend to overuse the term “authentic” in the world of social media. But that’s a fitting word to describe the content on Dylan’s accounts. Other words would be exhilarating, honest, and (deeply) personal. Mulvaney shares her journey as a trans woman with incredible transparency and more than a little humor. I’ve found myself cheering and tearing at her colorful and heartfelt story on the daily. Her boundless energy and unmistakable happiness do not diminish the bravery of her being so very, very public about herself in a world often backlashing against it (hello, Bud Light haters). And if that doesn’t help you better understand and empathize with the challenges facing trans members of our family, then you’re dead inside.
This list is only the smallest tip of the iceberg for the incredible LGBTQ-oriented content on the internet. So whether you’re an activist or ally, boi or gurrrllllllll, queer or here, take some time to search, follow, and enjoy these offerings and other creators on social.