By Mei-Lan Holland || Contributing Writer
Dylan Mulvaney is a 26-year-old social media icon in the making. Through her upbeat “Days of Girlhood” TikTok videos that document her life as a transgender woman, Mulvaney has amassed over 10 million followers on that platform alone. She has created a positive and safe space on the internet that she cultivates with love, respect, and kindness. To celebrate 365 days of girlhood on March 13th, she had a live special filled with music and special guests to celebrate one year of her transition.
The event was live streamed (with two ASL interpreters) in The Rainbow Room at 30 Rock in NYC. There was an unlimited amount of virtual tickets to the stream so that Dylan’s supporters all over the world could watch while the actual room was filled with her friends, family, and prominent celebrities and influencers in the LGBTQ+ community. Tickets were about $7 with all proceeds going to crisis support services for the Trevor Project, an organization that aids and uplifts LGBTQ+ youth and teens. If you weren’t able to see the stream, don’t worry! I’ll catch you up. 🙂
The show began with a glamorous opening number that really showed off her vocal range and was full of cute nods to her journey so far. The number was enhanced by an all-women orchestra and a trans & nonbinary ensemble that sang with her throughout the night. She even made sure to introduce them as their “trans sibs” and gave each of them a moment to give advice to other trans and nonbinary people. The show itself was an overall journey through her transition and days of girlhood while showing her biggest videos in the last year. The first segment was an emergency round of “Dylan Does Dating” (a segment they do regularly on their TikTok where they discuss their dating experiences as a trans woman) hosted by Jonathan Van Ness, which ended in a Twilight-themed slow dance with the lucky bachelor who won.
She then discussed the more intense parts of growing in her girlhood by showing and addressing haters. They provided a trigger warning prior to showing clips of criticism and hate from bigots which were absolutely heartbreaking. Her graceful response, however, was showing her joy as a transwoman, stating that “The only agenda [she has] is to be happy and healthy and to stay alive.” In a beautiful rendition of “Running Up That Hill,” she expressed that one day she hopes to feel as though she was created exactly the way she was meant to be and even opened up about her religion and trying to maintain it while being true to herself. She moved on to talking about how they feel that being trans means immediately being an activist and how this role still makes her a little uncomfortable. In her words, “I was a musical theater major. Let the girl sing!” The night continued with many appearances and songs with prominent queer celebrities and members of the Broadway community including Dominique Jackson, Sis Thee Doll, L Morgan Lee, and Reneé Rapp. She even had an enlightening conversation with Senator Sarah McBride about the historic nature of this event and what it’s like to confront bigots face to face in the U.S. Senate as a transgender woman. Another musical highlight of the night was their cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman” in recognition of the doctor who did her facial feminization surgery.
The highlight of the entire night was when Dylan talked to the younger generation watching and thanked them for their support and thanked their parents for letting her “be a character in their story,” which led into an inspiring Into the Woods/Sondheim medley. The medley was complete with Dylan’s dad rushing to the stage, to hug her and tell her how proud he was, when she began to get emotional while talking about her journey. “I feel so loved and I wanna thank you for letting me go there in this safe space.” As for future days of girlhood: “[…] more than anything, I feel a lot more comfortable calling myself a woman now and not just a girl. So maybe today is like day one of womanhood.” And with this newfound womanhood she spirals into the what ifs of the future and her ensemble literally picks her up and lets her know she’s “gonna make it after all.” The night concluded with a BIG opening number reprise as the finale, ending in a crowd filled with standing ovations.
After a night filled with gorgeous designer dresses, uplifting music, and inspiring speeches, it was easy to feel the importance of Dylan’s celebration. It was so exciting to witness her commemorate one year of womanhood in such a fun and widespread way. Her joy is completely infectious and was deserving of celebration, given the copious anti-trans laws and bills being passed all around the country. It served as a much needed escape for queer people like myself who are witnessing the erasure of people in our community in real time. Despite this, Dylan is using her fame to inspire, uplift, and advocate while honoring her journey and peace. She is unlike any internet celebrity this generation has seen thus far, and hopefully this is the first of many ceremonies we see in honor of a commitment to self expression and love.
Junior Mei-Lan Holland is a Contributing Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.