Digital Project Proposal: TikTok its Time for Equity!

High schoolers have begun using TikToks to explain historical events in succinct and effective ways. In six seconds, teenagers have been able to explain some of the most important events in the course of history in fun and engaging ways. I want to use TikTok to represent important moments in LGBTQ+ cultural history within the United States.

Creating a series of collaborative TikToks of important moments in LGBTQ+ history would not only allow for an accurate understanding of the historical struggle to create a culture but also would provide a space for marginalized individuals to interact with other community members. I, nor any individual has an all-encompassing knowledge of every significant event in LGBTQ+ history, so making this a collective project is imperative. Moments important to my identity may omit other, equally important moments to others; thus, inviting others to create allows for my and others knowledge of the shared history to be disseminated. Even those who don’t identify as LGBTQ+ can still learn from and enjoy the content created. 

LGBTQ teens come out on TikTok. (Washington Post illustration; iStock)

Two events that I know I have to include are the Stonewall riot in the 1960’s and the 2015 Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage. The Stonewall riot marked the unofficial beginning of the gay rights movement. Up until then, homosexuality was left out of any discussions on equality. The riot brought attention to the discrimination and oppression gay people had endured up until that point. It was when straight people became interested and involved in equality for other sexual orientations. Equally important, if not more so, occurred in 2015 when the Supreme Court federally legalized same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.This monumental decision forbade states from refusing to issue marriage liscince to same-sex couples. This is crucial to the LGBTQ+ movement because it happened nationwide; it became illegal to reject the marriage rights of gay people. There are of course many more important events, including but not limited to: the election of Harvey Milk in 1978, the complete removal of homosexuality from the DSM as a mental illness in 1987, and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ in 2010.

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Seven influential people in the LGBTQ+ movement.

I have never used TikTok before, so understanding the ins and outs of the app and creation format will be a process itself. Hopefully doing this tedious work will enable me to make the best content that resonates with the most amount of people. If anyone is a regular TikToker with some tips, help a girl out!

One Reply to “Digital Project Proposal: TikTok its Time for Equity!”

  1. This is such a fun idea! I think popular culture is a great way to get young people involved in history, and (as you point out) creates a platform for people of all backgrounds and experiences to get engaged. I also don’t know much about TikTok, but am wondering if you plan to host the TikToks you create on a separate website, or if you will just curate them through a TikTok account? I think it’d be important to have space for people to comment on and interact with the videos you create (which I think is possible through TikTok?), but a website could also be a good way to provide additional historical context, if people want to know more. I also think it’ll be important to pay attention to the tone of the videos you create — I imagine it may be difficult to balance the more serious aspects of LGBTQ+ history with the sillier, trivial nature of TikTok.

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