Dylan Mulvaney talks transition journey, life online in sold out Rainbow Alliance, PPC event


Ethan Shulman | Senior Staff Photographer

Dylan Mulvaney waves off stage at a Rainbow Alliance and Pitt Program Council event in the William Pitt Union on Wednesday.

By Julia DiPietro, Staff Writer

On Day 374 of girlhood, Dylan Mulvaney, a trans actress and content creator, joined Rainbow Alliance and Pitt Program Council (PPC) for a Q&A lecture in the William Pitt Union on Wednesday night to kick off Pride Week events at Pitt. Students lined up early for the sold-out show, and there was a standby line for people who did not get a ticket.

Mulvaney has 10.8 million followers on TikTok, where she highlights her experience as a trans woman in a series titled “Days of Girlhood.” The series received more than 750 million views in less than 100 days. Along with being an internet celebrity and actress, she also holds a BFA in musical theater from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Mulvaney discussed topics such as her transition, life online, recent live show Day 365 Live!, love for musical theater and the upcoming ‘anti-trans’ events on Pitt’s campus. 

About 450 students gathered for the hourlong event during which co-moderators Annabelle Cotton of PPC and Devin Brown of Rainbow Alliance asked Mulvaney questions. Rainbow Alliance, the longest running LGBTIA+ student organization on campus, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and reached out to PPC to assist in their upcoming pride week events. 

At the Wednesday night event, Mulvaney said some of her most empowered moments come from opening up on TikTok and feeling reassured by others about her insecurities during her transition. 

“Some of my most vulnerable videos early on when I had a full beard doing laser hair removal are still one of my favorite videos ever made because I took my power back,” Mulvaney said. “This is what makes me most embarrassed about myself and I’m showing you this right now and being vulnerable, and now it’s not as scary to me. It really brought me closer to these human beings from behind the screens.” 

Mulvaney also said she chose to keep her birth name when she transitioned and encourages others to stay true to their own transition.

Dylan Mulvaney spoke Wednesday at a Rainbow Alliance and Pitt Program Council event in the William Pitt Union. (Ethan Shulman | Senior Staff Photographer)

“I think what’s interesting about transness is there’s not one way to do it. And I think we cannot compare ourselves to others, there’s no rulebook, there’s no set thing that has to happen, and my name was something that I didn’t have dysphoria over,” Mulvaney said. “I think we can let go of this idea that you have to change your name, but I celebrate the people that do.” 

Laura Stravach, a senior film major and president of Rainbow Alliance, said members of the organization were very excited about the partnership and turnout of the event, which had about 450 people in attendance.

“It’s been really exciting, I don’t think we were expecting as many people to be interested in the event as they have. I knew it was going to be a good one, but the fact that we did have tickets sell out is really fun and surprising as well,” Stravach said.

Annabeth Collis, PPC’s lecture director, said that, as a senior, this event was a great way to wrap up her time at Pitt, and she hopes the audience took something meaningful away from listening to Mulvaney speak.

“I joined PPC as a freshman, so it’s cool that Dylan will be one of the last events I’m a part of with PPC. Being in college is a very fluid, transformative time,” Collis said. “She’s persisted, her experience in entertainment, any advice that Dylan wants to share, I hope students learn something and maybe feel more inspired after the lecture.” 

Mulvaney said she wants to return to acting in the future and is pushing to see more inclusive shows in the mainstream of Hollywood and Broadway and more prominent successful roles for trans people. 

“I still haven’t played a female character yet — that’s something I really want to do. I want to figure out how we can infuse this trans joy into shows,” Mulvaney said. “I want to see a trans woman falling in love, and see trans people succeeding in scripted content. That’s how we’re gonna make what’s happening now in this country a little bit better.” 

According to Mulvaney, while there are people out there who are not accepting of her, she still respects them and is very grateful of the women who have welcomed her from the beginning. 

“When a woman makes me feel a part of the conversation or that I hold value in this world, there is nothing that I am more grateful for,” Mulvaney said. “I still try to respect them because they’ve been doing this longer than I have but it also breaks my heart, I want to be there to support them. The best part has been the women from day one who see and welcome me and I love them.” 

Stravach said they felt Mulvaney would bring some hope to Pitt’s campus in light of the ‘anti trans’ speaker events that are to take place in the upcoming weeks

“Dylan is a very inspirational person. I do hope that we can walk away with hope from this speaker event, considering I don’t think a lot of trans students and LGBTQIA+ students on campus feel hope right now,” Stravach said.

Students can support more pride events coming up in the next three weeks, such as a benefit concert hosted by Pitt Tonight and Rainbow Alliance’s 21st annual Panther Drag show.