TikTok Lesbian Drama Cultivates Curiosity in Queer Relationships

TikTok, a platform that curates niche content for its users’ personal interests, has risen in popularity over the past two years. This algorithmic personalization has allowed for different circles to take shape within the app, and the part of the platform known as “Lesbian TikTok” has been at the center of recent controversy.

It is widely understood that once someone has a large public following, privacy becomes hard to maintain. This is no less true for TikTok content creators, especially when it comes to lesbian couples who act as important respresentation for young queer girls online. 

Jojo Siwa, a previous member of the Abby Lee Dance Company known for her appearance on hit reality TV show Dance Moms, came out as queer in January 2021. She has since become a significant online voice and advocate for queer youth. However, the publicity Siwa has recieved since coming out has generated its own negative discourse — not only have there been homophobic responses from the usual right-leaning media sites, but there’s also been critique from members of the online queer community regarding her new relationship with Avery Cyrus, another lesbian influencer on TikTok. 

Four TikTok-famous couples that have recently broken up — Sedona Prince and Rylee LeGlue, Soph Mosca and Avery Cyrus, Alissa Carrington and Samantha Michele Miani, and Jojo Siwa and Kylie Prew — have now been thrust even further into the spotlight, with many TikTok users making videos in response to perceived similarities between these influencer breakups. Many fans felt that there was more behind the carefully crafted videos and Instagram stories which broke the news. Thus began speculation from followers looking to find the truth behind these breakups.

Sedona Prince and Rylee LeGlue were the first to publicly announce their breakup to their audience. Then Jojo and Kylie split for the second time, and Avery and Soph, who had been dating for two years, also went their separate ways. Finally, Sam and Alissa quietly announced their breakup. These rapid-succession breakups drew the attention of followers, who began to closely follow the responses of each creator. Avery is now confirmed to be dating Jojo, who was a friend of the couple before they split. Fans then noticed flirty videos and comments exchanged between Soph and Kylie.

TikTok users took to the platform to share their opinions, feeling disrespected on behalf of Soph that Avery had moved on so quickly from the breakup and was already posting about her new relationship all over social media. In addition to followers of these creators, other content creators who were friends with Avery and Soph also voiced their discontent, most notably Dallas Smulson.

Nuanced queer relationships are underrepresented in mainstream media, such as television and film. However, on platforms like TikTok, personalities within the queer community are able to post and authentically share their lives and relationships frequently. Queer communities and relationships share dynamics that differ from their heterosexual counterparts, and these complex dynamics are magnified on platforms such as TikTok, where users often feel entitled to the personal details of creators’ lives. The common ground of a queer identity creates opportunities for a parasocial dynamic to form between queer influencers and their young fans. 

Similar to the closeness queer TikTok users experience with one another, Oberlin creates a shared identity between queer students, which often generates curiosity in knowing who is hooking up with whom, who is dating whom, and who has broken up. Beyond shared identity, the Oberlin student body is a dating pool for queer students. Once students graduate, they’ll be hard-pressed to encounter this many queer people living so closely together. Queer communities, relationships, and dynamics function in a unique way and this can blur the boundaries of privacy both on social media and off.