In recent years, the power of digital media has given rise to an extraordinary community of diverse voices, and among them, LGBTQIA+ content creators have emerged as catalysts for change and sources of inspiration. Their fearless commitment to authenticity has not only shattered stereotypes but has also provided a safe haven for individuals around the world seeking understanding, representation, and a sense of belonging.
Today, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dean Lin, a content creator on platforms like Instagram and Tiktok, who is an active member of the LGBTQIA+ and AAPI communities.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as an LGBTQIA+ content creator? How did you get started in this field?
My name is Dean, I’m originally from Queens, New York. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 17 and for college! I got started as a content creator honestly out of curiosity to really get in touch with who I was/my identity/getting rid of the anxiety I had around being my whole self around people. I think vulnerability was a big aspect in terms of me starting to create content and the invisibility of people who look like me in the industry. I honestly started off a few years ago, and more recently have gained traction most in part to my consistency and not focusing on vanity metrics.
What impact do you hope to make through advocating for the community through your content/work/job?
I hope that in using my social platforms, I am able to bring joy and entertainment to my communities whether that be AAPI or LGBTQIA+ because I think comedy is extremely healing, especially whenever I’m going through a mentally hard time. But also, in light of the comedy my main goal was to create a platform for myself so that I can gain the audience who will listen to when I have important things to say. I am not sure how to define ‘making’ it as a content creator but I know for a fact that I hope when someone sees my content who looks like me–they feel like they can be themselves unapologetically and feel that they belong.
Have you faced any obstacles or negative experiences as an LGBTQIA+ content creator? How have you dealt with them, and what advice would you give to others facing similar challenges?
I believe every content creator will go through some struggles with obviously weird random internet trolls/haters–but in terms of being an LGBTQIA+ content creator, there has definitely been some negative experience/obstacles when your content shows up on peoples algorithms that don’t necessarily align with their beliefs. Obviously homophobia but beyond that, some xenophobia during the COVID era (unfortunately) and I think because I’ve been therapized … haha, that I am able to distance myself from the hate/phobic comments. I also think that there is definitely a push for more diverse and lgbtq+ inclusive content now and going forward but I think trying to make noise/being seen as an LGBTQIA+ creator is more difficult because you’re already put in a category and people have expectations of your content, etc.
Dealing with these obstacles I would say, first dealing with the mental aspect of how all of it is affecting you personally as you’re putting yourself out there. Always make sure you’re safe, but also realize people exude hate not because of your worth or you, they do it because they are projecting something in their life onto you (still doesn’t make it okay for them to do that though). I would also tell others to just continue making content. Never let another persons opinions prevent you from putting yourself out there. It’s always going to be the same people who judge you and hate on you that later on (when you’re successful) will tell you, “don’t forget me when you make it!” or just asking you for a favor.
In what ways do you engage with your audience, especially LGBTQIA+ individuals, and build a supportive community around your content? Why is that important?
I engage with my audience LGBTQIA+ and beyond by being myself and present. I think it’s very important to be vulnerable because yes, obviously there are highlight reels on everyones social media but there is something about being real that I think resonates with my audience. The realness is how you connect to those around you in your community and that’s honestly why I think some of my content has taken off. I try to tackle with comedy but my message at the end of the day always tries to lift up my community.
Pride month is an important time for the LGBTQIA+ community. How do you celebrate and honor this month through your content? Are there any special projects or initiatives you undertake during this time? Why is it important to you?
Pride month is important to our community because obviously it’s a time we can all celebrate ourselves. However, I think creating pride month content exclusively only for pride month isn’t really my thing–ONLY because I think that pride should be celebrated 365 days a year 24/7. I think that we shouldn’t be limited in celebrating the way we love, our identities, and who we are into one month out of the year.
This year, I ended up joining the board of a nonprofit organization called WayOUT and that has been really wholesome to be part of–especially marching in the LA Pride Parade.
Why is representation, rather it be AAPI or LGBTQIA+, important to you within the entertainment field?
Representation of AAPI and LGBTQIA+ in entertainment is extremely important to me because like I said, never seeing people who looked like me in the media affected the way I view myself but also how I initially felt about putting out content. Being AAPI and LGBTQIA+, I’ve experienced outside of creating content– racism within the dating space and in general that made me feel unseen/affected my worth and that directly translated into my motivation to make any content. So I think really getting to the root of issues and talking about them without any filter really is important to me personally so that the next AAPI LGBTQIA+ content creator will have less obstacles that I had to go through.
What inspires you to continue making content?
The thing that inspires me to continue making content is my philosophy from day one. If I can help one person, change one persons mind, inspire/motivate one person, make someone feel like they’re not alone– that is enough. I could lose all my engagement tomorrow but that won’t matter because as long as I continue pushing out content, I am also healing myself.
The fight for equality among all communities is still an ongoing battle, and people like Dean make huge differences in exposure and inclusion in said communities. Although pride month is over, it is important to remember to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQIA+ all year long!