On February 3, Lauren Vlach received $ 8 for Venmo, divided into four $ 2 payments, from a girl she had never met. Each payment contained a block of text; Read together they formed what Cas Stephens, who sent the payments, called Ms. Vlach her “friendship request”.
Name: Cas Stephens
One of the professionals who goes out with her: “Can do a back flip on a snowboard.”
One of the drawbacks: “I haven’t seen Disney films yet.”
Even though she was chasing her on Venmo, Ms. Stephens, 20, Ms. Vlach, 22, found on TikTok, where her videos generated thousands of views. Ms. Stephens, however, did not yet have a profile picture. She assumed that it would be easier to get Ms. Vlach’s attention elsewhere and reached for the Venmo handle listed in her biography.
“Prove that TikTok is the best lesbian dating app,” Ms. Vlach wrote in the headline of their first video together.
This is a common opinion at Lesbian TikTok, a corner of the app that is dominated by funky earrings and references to the indie musician Girl in Red. Like other niches, Lesbian TikTok has its own influencers, cliques, memes and dramas. But it is also a community center where those who discover, question and accept their attraction to other women can find friends, solidarity and even love.
Like other social media, TikTok L.G.B.T.Q. People all over the world. And the impulse to call online only got stronger during the quarantine. According to the market research company Sensor towerFrom March 1 to May 31, around 338 million first-time users downloaded TikTok from the App Store and Google Play.
“Many of my heterosexual friends will say, ‘Why don’t you just meet people in real life? ‘But it is difficult to know if someone is gay at times and it can be a kind of fear to discuss this with people. ”Said Rachael Thompson, 20, who lives in Arlington, Texas, and recently met a TikTok friend from New Orleans.
According to documents from Ad age As of October 2019, 69 percent of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old, which means that many users are too young to sign up for certain dating apps (where potential customers are location-dependent), let alone in bars (by which is the case) always less intended for lesbians). In addition, many teenagers are still in the closet or are figuring out their sexuality. TikTok is a place where you can safely do this.
Such a comradely environment can provoke impressive thirst. Virtually every video of a pretty girl will have multiple comments asking, “Do you hear Girl in Red?”, Gen Z’s female version of “Are you a friend of Dorothy?”
However, this boldness has its disadvantages.
“Nobody should ever be forced to get out,” said Olivia Boardman, 20, who met her friend during the quarantine on TikTok. She said publicly and asked if anyone was gay, “puts people in an uncomfortable position.”
Ms. Boardman, who was outed when she was 14, said that many teenage girls looked for their guide after seeing them on TikTok. (Her biography: “C.E.O. give advice to gays.”)
Unlike Twitter or Instagram, TikTok users scroll through a main feed or “For You” page with algorithmically generated videos from users they may not be following. This ensures a closed user experience: someone can join TikTok. When he searches for, interacts with, or creates lesbian videos, his For You page mainly contains lesbian videos. Influencers in particular like Charli D’Amelio may have droves of followers, but a member of Lesbian TikTok (or other niche communities like Old TikTok, WitchTok or Frog TikTok) could probably never see her.
Avery Blanchard, 20, known online as Avery Cyrus, said she thought Lesbian TikTok was “the only TikTok” when she first joined the app.
“I just didn’t even know there was a regular TikTok site,” she said.
If Lesbian TikTok were a world of its own, it could be divided into many countries with its own national anthems – songs that keep playing in users’ videos. There they are Cottagecore Girls (hymn: Mitski’s “strawberry blonde” or anything from Hozier), the couples (hymn: girl in red “We fell in love in October”) and the aestheticians (hymn: Vivaldi’s “summer” from “Portrait of a burning lady“), among other.
“It reminds me very much if A.O.L. Chatrooms could come to life, ”said Shelli Nicole, an author who wrote about Lesbian TikTok for the queer women website Autostraddle.
Influencers like Ms. Blanchard would occupy the largest territory in the lesbian TikTok world. She joined the app on a challenge last October; now she has 1.6 million followers.
Ms. Blanchard met another TikTok influencer, Soph Mosca, 21, at the popular Creator Convention Playlist live in February. They understood each other and are now involved. Ms. Blanchard said she did not expect TikTok to become a matchmaking site when she first joined.
“I didn’t know that there was potential to be the next tinder,” she said.
“I never thought I would go out with someone from TikTok,” repeated Rachael Espie, 18, who met her friend Sarah Pye, 20, when she came across one of Ms. Pye’s videos in her feed. Their relationship is intercontinental: Ms. Espie lives in Glasgow and Ms. Pye lives in Lake Tahoe, California.
Lesbian TikTok has had a huge impact on Ms. Espie’s life, apart from finding a friend. She said the app inspired her to come out as a lesbian in December 2019.
Ms. Vlach had a similar story: after meeting only men, she said she came to TikTok because she heard that the app contained “this whole lesbian community”.
“I can hardly wait until I experience such a love,” commented an 18-year-old user of one of Ms. Vlachs Videos with Mrs. Stephens.
“I hope you find it one day,” replied Ms. Vlach.