Sharing your stories with pride. At Paula's Choice We celebrate diversity as we believe it is something indispensable in our world. We believe that everyone has a right to feel good in their own skin, regardless of their sexuality – or gender identity. This Pride month, we’re celebrating the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community and giving different members of the LGBTQIA+ community a platform to dispel widespread prejudices, clichés and myths. Therefore, we interviewed four international content creators on the topic of gender identity: What are common misconceptions or stereotypes that people have about queer individuals? What role can education play in promoting understanding and acceptance of queer identities? What kind of personal experiences do queer people have to go through in their everyday life? Their honest and open answers give an insight into the everyday life and profession of a content creator being a queer person. This year at Paula’s Choice we are very proud to support Pride 2023 by donating $10,000 to ILGA World, a worldwide federation of over 1700 organisations in 160 countries dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people across the globe. ILGA World’s mission is to help fight for those who face discrimination on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. For Pride month We want to hand over the microphone to those who know the most about pride: members of our diverse community. Dimi he/him Tiktok, @dimxoo Instagram, @dimxoo Bio: German LGBTQIA+ educational content creator. Dimi expresses his creativity, individuality and queerness in Berlin, educating his followers online about all things LGBTQIA+. What are some common misconceptions or stereotypes that people have about queer individuals? "Often the LGBTQIA+ community is lumped together because we are 'all the same'. We all have our own history, our own struggles and of course that connects us. But what connects us much more is Queer Joy. We celebrate our freedom to be who we are together. We push each other up when we are not doing well. We can relate to each other's stories and form a little family." Do you think your content helps to educate people on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals? What impact do you hope to have on your audience? "That is definitely my goal and I am always happy when I receive DMs in which people write 'thanks to your videos, I finally came out to my parents today' or 'thanks to you I know that I am pansexual!' Because that's the moment I always think to myself: my goal has been achieved here, and that makes me pretty happy." Zain they/them Instagram, @zaddyza1n Bio: British South Asian non-binary makeup artist and beauty influencer Zain Shah combines their creativity with social activism to fight gender stereotypes and promote queer inclusivity within the beauty industry. Can you tell us a bit about your personal experience as an LGBTQIA+ person and how it has informed your work as a content creator? "Living as a queer south asian can be tough. Often in our communities, sexuality is perceived as a choice - and one that isn’t culturally acceptable. When I started out as a content creator, I desperately wanted to find people that looked like me, people that shared similar stories and struggles. It pushed me to be the representation I never had growing up." How do you celebrate Pride? "Pride is so much more than a parade, or a month of awareness, for me it’s about celebrating the resilience and beauty of the LGBTQ+ community. I celebrate pride by continuing to show up as myself every single day: existing in my authenticity, checking in on my friends and making sure I speak up on issues that affect the whole community. LGBTQ+ rights are human rights." Pascal de Vormer they/them Tiktok: @pascaldevormerr Instagram: @pascaldevormer Bio: Dutch creator, artist and queer activist Pascal de Vormer constantly questions the norm in their work and is not limited by traditional notions of gender. How do you balance advocacy and education with self-care as a queer content creator, and what advice would you give to others in this industry? "Allow yourself to do it your way. People are judgmental, especially online. Stop telling people what they should or shouldn’t do with their queer bodies. It is important that you continue try to listen to your own inner voice. If you need time or simply don't know, know that this is ok. Not all heroes wear capes and sometimes not all heroes WANT to wear capes. Why? Because your queerness doesn't mean you always have to be a role model. I am queer enough when I’m simply at home binging my favourite series and eating a bucket of ice cream." What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with their identity or coming out as queer? "There is so much beauty in struggling. It depends how you look at it. I understand better than anyone that it sometimes feels like you have to make quick choices and that every answer seems irreversible. It’s not. Never. Take your time and do it your way. Only you know what's best for you. You are loved and enough. Take your time, beautiful queer baby." Ethan he/him Tiktok: @caspisan Instagram: @caspisan Bio: A life in constant TRANSITION. Ethan is one of the most important voices in the Italian LGBTQIA+ community, whose narrative and contents focuses on his lifestyle, mental health, and knowing how to accept oneself. Can you tell us a bit about your personal experience as a queer person, and how it has informed your work as a content creator? "Being a transgender boy has and continues to influence how I relate to society, as my gender is a central aspect of my identity and interpersonal relationships. As a queer person, I have faced deeper and earlier introspection, starting to question myself about gender and its impact on my life since the age of 14. This experience forced me to face a reality that often made me feel invisible or crushed me, forcing me to assert my gender and identity within institutions and our society. Unlike straight and cisgender people, who often don't encounter similar prejudices or challenges, as a queer person I've had to struggle to have my identity respected." What motivated you to become a queer content creator, and what are some of the challenges you've faced in this industry? "What encouraged me to share my experience on social media and to inform and disseminate information was my personal difficulty in finding information when I found myself looking for it for the first time, years ago. I thought it would be helpful to have someone tell the story, so once I gathered enough information, I decided to do it myself."