Meet Christopher Rhodes, a content creator and small business owner from Austin, Texas. We had a chat with Chris about his experiences in the creator space, his thoughts behind brand partnerships, and why trans visibility is his biggest motivation.
Chris’ instagram is a witty, candid and heartfelt documentation of his life and journey as a transguy, peppered with posts showing his love for the outdoors, fitness, friends, and dogs. When he’s not working on his streetwear brand (which he owns with his twin sister!) or recording Queer For It (a podcast he hosts alongside two friends), Chris can be found raising awareness for the issues facing trans folk and rallying support against anti-trans legislation.
Hi Chris! Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Hi! I am a 29 year old content creator based in Austin, TX – I also own a small business, called FLAVNT Streetwear – an LGBTQIA+ clothing line that I started with my twin sister 7 years ago.
As a creator, why is it important to you to be vocal and open on your platform about the wider LGBTQIA+ community but also your own personal identity?
I choose to be vocal and open about my identity because the visibility of trans people before me helped me on my own journey of self-discovery and enabled me to find community and my own truth. Representation is important because it makes people feel like they aren’t alone, it broadens understanding and acceptance; visibility is an incredible tool that can be utilized and I have the privilege to be able to share my journey to help further the voices, rights, and position of LGBTQIA+ folks.
The LGBTQIA+ community is still heavily under/misrepresented in mainstream media. What changes would you like to see in terms of the way that trans people in particular are represented and portrayed (in ads, film, tv)?
There’s a large disparity in the amount of cis gay folks in media (and in content creation) versus trans folks, and additionally a large disparity in the compensation and recognition of trans folks vs. cis folks. As far as representation in mainstream media, there have been strides but there is still a shortage of gender nonconforming and trans folks visible on tv, in film, modeling, singing, etc. The things I want to see portrayed are more authentic stories — we have seen a lot of the same storylines around trans characters, and we see the same 3 trans actors, the same types of folks become popular and successful because they fit a mold of what is popular and successful outside of the sphere of trans people, but in society in general.
What is your philosophy for working with brands?
I try to exclusively work with brands that make it a habit to work with LGBTQIA+ folks year round — and brands that do not condone or support politics or people or companies that are anti-LGBTQIA+. If a brand is aligned with my morals and my community, and if it’s a brand I either genuinely enjoy or think my audience could benefit from, then that is a brand I’m stoked to work with. On top of that, brands that go out of their way to give back are the brands I really push to work with.
Based on your experiences, how can brands continue to support LGBTQIA+ people, post-Pride month- all year round?
Pay queer creators the same way you’d pay any other creator – donating to an organization in lieu of paying them isn’t support, it’s disingenuous. And that being said, include queer creators and queer initiatives year round- we exist in every month, not just June. Utilize our voices and our platforms, and don’t just pigeon hole us to rainbow campaigns!
If you could give any piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
My personal mantra is “be the person you needed when you were younger.”
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