I am shamelessly addicted to TikTok. Take a random glance at my screen time and it would validate my obsession and expose me to a daily usage time of three hours (or more). But believe it or not, I’ve gotten something useful out of my TikTok obsession: it’s helped me come to terms with my sexuality.

TikTok’s elusive algorithm has a way of pinpointing a user’s personality traits and then aggressively suggesting more content via the for you page. For me, that very quickly meant moving me off ‘straight’ TikTok (see: the Hype House, Addison Rae and the D’Amelios) and into alt TikTok, where content rooted in trauma, sexuality, gender and mental illness reigns supreme.

@kassidymmmmThere’s only like 700 videos under this rn but it’s all over my fyp♬ tfw ur neurodivergent – hannah e schoen

Whether it’s watching @emmwe bleach her brows, @peachprc candidly talk about trauma or @toughboy_ chat about autistic tendencies, over time, alt TikTok has become my safe haven.

Beyond that, alt TikTok has helped me come to terms with being bi, despite not feeling ‘queer enough’.

I’ve always felt open to the idea of queerness and fluid sexuality, and never weird or embarrassed about questioning my own. I know that it a huge privilege.

But without having much real-life experience to affirm my queerness, I always felt like my questioning wasn’t totally valid – and I’ve always felt a need to ‘prove’ myself in queer spaces.

Lip synching on stage at Thursgays was incredibly euphoric and Mardi Gras parties have always called my name, but I feel like a bit of a fraud when surrounded by people who I felt were more legitimately queer than me.

TikTok changed that. After consuming video after video about real experiences of coming out, analysing internalised homophobia, understanding the concept of queerness and locating queer-centred spaces, I started to feel seen, heard and understood.

This fear of feeling different in queer spaces started fading away and I realised majority of people who question their sexuality also experience the kind of imposter syndrome I felt suffocated by.

Although the female and non-binary TikTokers I found attractive helped confirm my questioning, hearing their stories, struggles and triumphs was the biggest thing for me. Without ever having to be vulnerable myself, engaging with alt TikTok helped me relate from the comfort of my own bed.

This realisation was as equally liberating as it was terrifying, because it meant the walls I’d placed between myself and queerness were finally falling away.

The weird online safe space I had found myself bundling up in affirmed to me that I didn’t need to prove myself before identifying a certain way and that the way I was feeling was totally normal.

Learning all of this, without the darn pandemic standing in my way, maybe I would have felt confident enough to venture into some queer spaces to already affirm my sexual identity. But for now, it’s something I’m going to try to dip my toe into, bit by bit.

Most of my friends and some of my family would know I’ve been pretty open with identifying as bisexual label. Now I guess the internet knows that too. I might identify differently in the future, but that’s the beauty of sexuality – it’s fluid, baby.

Although it’s taken me until now to feel like I can be openly queer on the internet, much of my experience on TikTok reassured me that it was normal to question things and that it was okay if I didn’t have it totally figured out yet.

@nulleinsneunThis is literally my bi a$$ 24/7???????? #bi #pan #lgbtq #patriachy #foryou #fyp #fürdich♬ Originalton – ursula

Persevering with my personal journey towards figuring out my own sexuality, I’m pretty happy I stumbled upon this silly little clock app that has kicked me down the garden path towards figuring it all out.

For all its quirks and dangers (see: life threatening stunts and pranks), and at risk of sounding stupid, I’m super grateful for finding TikTok when I did. I got the societal education I didn’t even know I needed.

And best of all, I didn’t even have to search for it, it came to me.

Lover of people and writer of words, Ruby produces content in an attempt to make some sense of the world. You’ll often find her obsessing over and writing about anything art, design, fashion, culture or internet related. You can find her on Instagram or Twitter.