Christian Wilkins is a rising star and the son of famed entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins and he is already leaving his prideful mark on the industry.
Wilkins has appeared on Dancing With The Stars and is a model and presenter and like most millennials does a little bit of everything. He is fast becoming his own brand and carving out his own path and honestly, he isn’t pulling any punches.
Last week Wilkins called out The Daily Mail over a headline that referred to him as, “Dude looks like a lady!” He was biting, honest and fierce!
Wilkins said: “It’s completely homophobic and misogynistic statements like these that cause anxiety and fear in many LGBTQI people. Yes, I know I’m in a dress and celebrate my femininity, but come on, ‘Dude looks like a lady!’”
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It’s the kind of confidence that is affirming to see in the Australian media landscape, one that use to be firmly dominated by white straight men and is now very slowly becoming more and more diversified.
Still, considering it’s Mardi Gras week, a time Wilkin refers to as, “A time to celebrate joy and acceptance,” it seems like the perfect opportunity to chat with him about how the media can still do better in terms of the representation of queer people.
It might sound cliched but we still have a long way to go, because while Mardi Gras is no longer just a protest and has turned into a celebration of pride, there’s still a lot to be done.
Wilkins told B&T, “I still think we just need to normalise seeing LGBTQI+ people in media, often at times there’s visibility but it still feels a little tokenised.”
This makes sense when you consider often queer people in the Australian media are guest stars and never the leads. For instance, they might appear on a Morning Show to offer their opinion but they aren’t one of the main anchors.
Then, of course, you need to consider the fact that LGBTQI+ people might also not feel safe enough to want to become part of the media and it’s a consideration that Wilkins understands, after all, it’s easy to be pigeonholed as a queer person.
Wilkins explained: “I think there’s a very flippant attitude towards LGBTQI+ people at times, but we can wear tiny pink mini dresses and have something important to say. the two facts aren’t mutually exclusive!”
And then, of course, there’s the more blatant discrimination, even Wilkins, who has arguably more privileged than most as he is from a show business family, isn’t exempt, “I remember being told quite young by someone quite famous in the industry that I’d have to hide my sexuality and definitely do something about that voice.
“At a young age that really affected me and I became very ashamed of myself, I always knew I wanted to act, present and perform but thinking I’d have to do that at the expense of being truly me was very saddening.
“These days I realise my pride for the LGBTQI community is actually the thing that motivates me to do what I do,” Wilkins explained.
This brings us to why Wilkins is so proud of his stint on Dancing with The Stars, “I made a point of referring to myself as a queen person in every episode.
“I had a lot of young LGBTQI+ people and a lot of parents of LGBTQI+ kids reach out saying they appreciated the little bit of visibility I was giving the community. I’m not going to act as though it was a huge step forward for us but it still felt good to be doing my bit.”