Rich Waterworth, General Manager, UK & Europe
One of TikTok's core principles is to celebrate diversity and foster an inclusive community. We now have more than 100 million users across Europe, and are proud of the diversity we see on TikTok every day. People from all walks of life come to TikTok to show the world their creativity and to find joy. It is important to us that we continue to ensure everyone who uses TikTok feels free to be their true, authentic self.
TikTok has become a space where members of LGBTQ+ communities are showcasing their creativity for everyone to see: from @yazdemand spreading awareness of ongoing trans issues; @disabled_eliza creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ disabled community; and @mrspotatoqueen sharing the realities of being Muslim and LGBTQ+. These, and many more, illustrate how LGBTQ+ creators have embraced TikTok as a platform for self-expression, education, community-building and joy, showing the world their unique identity and cultural impact.
February marks LGBTQ+ History Month: a time for us all to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities and reflect on the ongoing campaign for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people. We want to use this important moment in time to honour everyone that identifies as LGBTQ+ by celebrating them on our platform, and shining an even stronger light on their own unique histories, stories and experiences. This is not just for LGBTQ+ History Month but part of a longer term commitment.
Safety on TikTok
This commitment starts with ensuring the safety of LGBTQ+ communities on our platform. Our Community Guidelines define what is acceptable content on our platform - and are clear that we will not tolerate any content or behaviour that seeks to diminish or demean individuals or groups with protected attributes.
In the very early days of TikTok, we fell short of the standard that some minority communities expected of us. Since then we've prioritised listening to, and engaging with, individuals and representative organisations to hear and address their concerns. Through this engagement, we are constantly evolving our approach to how we tackle hateful content on the platform. Last year, we further expanded our policy to strengthen enforcement against content that's hurtful to the LGBTQ+ community, such as videos promoting conversion therapy and abuse targeting trans people.
Announcing our partnership with Stonewall
Our commitment to open dialogue will not end in February - and to that end, we're today announcing a new partnership with Stonewall, Europe's largest LGBTQ+ rights organisation.
Founded in 1989 to fight for equality for LGBTQ+ people, Stonewall is joining TikTok to produce content that will educate and inspire the next generation of advocates and the wider TikTok community. This partnership will see us work with Stonewall on a programme of activity throughout 2021, tackling topics ranging from inclusive education to sport. As an employer in the UK, we're also joining their Diversity Champions programme to benefit from their expert counsel and advice to ensure our workplace feels as welcoming and inclusive as possible to our LGBTQ+ colleagues.
Celebrating LGBTQ+ voices during History Month
Throughout February, we will also be hosting a series of LIVEs featuring voices from LGBTQ+ communities which will give a platform to a range of identities and experiences, helping to better educate our community and celebrate all LGBTQ+ people. Topics for these LIVEs range from growing up queer, to celebrating the intersectionality of queer activism, and highlighting iconic queer activists. More details will be confirmed in the coming days.
Alongside the above LIVEs, we're calling on the TikTok community to share their stories through a series of hashtags:
- #MyIcon - who is your historic LGBTQ+ icon?
- #LGBTQHistory - what's a moment in LGBTQ+ history you didn't learn in school?
- #IAmThe - how do you identify within LGBTQ+ communities and what does it mean to be LGBTQ+?
To learn more about LGBTQ+ history and to get involved with the upcoming activities, head to the Discover Page and click the LGBTQ+ History Month banner, or simply search "LGBTQ+" in-app.
Rich Waterworth (he/him), General Manager for the UK and EU said: "Ensuring everyone on TikTok can be their true, authentic self is incredibly important to us. Through our partnership with Stonewall we want to highlight the stories of LGBTQ+ people to our vibrant community, showcasing all sexual orientations and gender identities. LGBTQ+ History Month for TikTok is not just 28 days of focusing on these communities - we are using the month as a moment to reflect and and continue our journey to becoming true allies. We are honoured to be working with a partner like Stonewall, who have put their trust in us to make lasting change for LGBTQ+ communities on TikTok and beyond."
Nancy Kelley (she/her), Chief Executive of Stonewall said: “We are so happy to be joining forces with TikTok through this partnership. We can’t wait to connect with the TikTok community and spread love, respect and understanding about LGBTQ+ people. With anti-LGBTQ hate groups mobilising against our communities, it’s so powerful and important to be working with TikTok to energise their communities in the fight for LGBTQ+ freedom, equity and potential.”
You can find Stonewall on TikTok under the user @StonewallUK To watch the TikTok LIVEs head to @tiktok_uk. Want to see more from the LGBTQ+ community on TikTok? Download the app for free via the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon.