Dylan Mulvaney Is Not Going to Let Conservatives Stop Her From Being Her Full Self
By Sassafras Lowrey
If you’ve spent any time on the internet in the last year chances are you’re familiar with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer who has shared her life and transition journey with her millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram. From talking with President Biden about transgender rights and access to healthcare, to sharing her “days of girlhood” day-to-day journey of her experience starting hormones. With her signature humor, Dylan has shared her journey as a young woman exploring fashion, and identity while being a ray of light and positivity on the internet as an advocate for LGBTQ+ people. Unfortunately, her fame and success has caught the attention of anti-transgender media and politicians.
With 13 million followers on social media, Dylan was already well known, but she went viral to a new level when she partnered with the beer brand Bud Light on an ad during March Madness. Although alcohol companies have long partnered with LGBTQ+ influencers and pride festivities, Dylan’s partnership with Bud Light surprisingly hit a nerve and unleashed a conservative media firestorm. Conservative politicians and celebrities lashed at the transgender community and at Dylan. What started as a simple influencer ad became breaking news people felt the need to respond to and Kid Rock shooting cans of Bud Light with a machine gun, or people boycotting the beer company suddenly became breaking news.
Dylan’s Empowered Response:
For the last several weeks, the conservative media has worked itself into a frenzy over Dylan and the trans community at large. The message seems to be how dare transgender and nonbinary people exist, be public, be out, proud, visible, and take any space in society. There has been a disturbing and calculated attack on transgender people in state houses and legislatures to the media. Late last week, Dylan broke her silence on social media by returning to talk with her fans and followers. In a video posted to TikTok and Instagram, Dylan spoke candidly about what it has been like being in the center of a national attack on transgender people. “It was so loud that I didn’t even feel part of the conversation. So, I decided to take the back seat and let them tucker themselves out.”
Dylan explained her return to social media wasn’t about the haters, it is for the 13 million of us who have supported her and her creative work and followed her on social media. Dylan candidly spoke about how she’s doing better, but that the last three weeks while she has been offline have been difficult. She noted people are talking about her in ways she doesn’t even recognize. Dylan also spoke honestly about how privileged she feels to have a family who still loves and accepts her even though she was raised in a very conservative family, and how she’s leaning on that experience and her faith which she’s “really trying to hold onto right now.” It is her faith that in part was the foundation for Dylan wanting to love everyone even though as she explained the backlash against her just for existing hasn’t always made that easy. Dylan then thanked her followers who see her humanity despite the noise, even if those followers can’t fully understand or relate. Dylan also expressed she’s looking forward to getting back to creating content and making people laugh again.
Lessons For Us All:
Regardless of if you’re a super fan of Dylan’s social media and advocacy work, or you just support her as an out trans person, there is no denying Dylan’s response has been admirable. Just watching the tidal wave of anti-trans hate can be overwhelming and can bring up feelings of fear, discomfort, pain, and frustration, especially for transgender and nonbinary people. Dylan’s candid and honest response to the hate being directed at her by conservative media and social media is empowering. Despite having her identity, life, and message distorted and weaponized by anti-transgender conservatives Dylan’s returning to social media with hope and positivity. Her message is a reminder to everyone that influencers, celebrities, artists, and creators are real people with feelings and emotions, but she’s also a role model for how to overcome hate in our own lives. Though she has every right to be scared, sad, and bitter, Dylan is coming back to the internet to live her truth and connect with her fans. May all of us find ways to be as brave in the face of the waves of anti-LGBTQ messages and lies being told about our community.
About the Author:
Sassafras Lowrey’s novels and nonfiction books have been honored by organizations ranging from the American Library Association to the Lambda Literary Foundation and the Dog Writers Association of America. Sassafras’ work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Sassafras has taught queer writing courses and workshops at LitReactor, the NYC Center For Fiction and at colleges, conferences, and LGBTQ youth centers across the country. You can find more of Sassafaras’ written works, including an edited collection exploring LGBTQ+ youth homelessness entitled Kicked Out, at www.SassafrasLowrey.com.