How can straight, cisgender LGBTQ allies do their part to support the queer community? Content creators like YouTuber and musician Alex Aiono know firsthand that the answer to that question involves knowing when to stand up for what’s right—and when to let others take the reins and tell their own stories.
Aiono has teamed up with GLAAD and The Phluid Project, the world’s first completely gender-neutral clothing store, for “Her,” his latest single and music video. Mila Jam, a transgender pop singer, stars in the video alongside Aiono and Nick Pauley, an L.A.-based choreographer.
In a behind-the-scenes video and roundtable discussion about “Her,” Aiono shares that GLAAD was consulted for the creative plan, which includes Pauley’s character playing with his gender expression and Mila Jam—a “proud, unapologetic trans woman of color”—serving as his “muse.” That’s no small feat for a straight YouTuber with 5.9 million subscribers and counting.
“I wanted the video to leave the character that is ’her’ up to interpretation,” he says. “I want to leave the interpretation open so that any of my fans, or any viewer who watches along the way, can relate.”
Mila Jam and Pauley offered their input on LGBTQ representation and allyship from outside the community, joined in conversation by The Phluid Project founder Rob Smith, GLSEN Youth Programs Manager A.T. Furuya, writer and editor Kurt Osenlund, and NewNowNext editor Sam Manzella.
In a NewNowNext exclusive, find the full roundtable discussion below, and head over to Aiono’s YouTube channel for the music video for “Her.”