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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Rainbow History Class

Gold Honor in TikTok


In Australia, an estimated 4-11% of the population identifies on the LGBTIQA+ spectrum (BWI Research, 2016) (Australian Human Rights Comission, 2014). Despite the progression in LGBTIQA+ rights and acceptance, the community is still subject to homophobia in society, with 80% of homophobic bullying occuring in schools (Australian Human Rights Comission, 2014). LGBTIQA+ youth are one of the most at risk minorities,  LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely to have attempted suicide then non-LGBTI in their same age range (LGBTIQ+, 2021).

How do we foster support, reduce social stigmas and create a community for LGBTIQA+ youth? It begins early. LGBTIQA+ history is rarely taught in schools and the community is still suffering discrimination, violence and social stigma globally. We launched Rainbow History Class - a social media channel dedicated to sharing the queer and trans history you don’t get in school. Rainbow History Class is a home for queer and trans stories from history that inspire, validate, bring gratitude, make you laugh and even help you win an argument. It aims to educate LGBTIQA+ people in their community and teach others that LGBTIQA+ groups have been a part of humanity for centuries.  Our primary mission is to help young queer and trans people feel connected to their community and know they’re not alone.

Strategy and Execution

We launched Rainbow History Class in April 2021, a social media channel run by Snack Drawer, a place to platform diverse voices but engage our staff in the issues that matter to them. Co-created by Hannah McElhinney (She/Her) (Creative Officer & Co-Founder at Snack Drawer) and Rudy Rigg (They/Them) (Content Creator at Snack Drawer) - the team began with research and script writing for educational, researched episodes predominantly hosted on TikTok and included hosts and writers to reflect the diversity of the queer community and experience. 

Rainbow History Class covers the full spectrum of LGBTQIA+ history, dating back to Ancient times telling stories of all gay armies, the legacy of history’s original lesbian Sappho, transgender Roman Emperors and gender bending Pharoahs. Naturally, we talk about the queer liberation movement of the 60s and 70s, but while most queer history stops there, we continue to tell stories in very recent history, including the history that’s being created today, like changing pronouns and neo-pronouns. By offering context to current queer discourse and popular culture, we’re able to validate the changing identities and language young people are creating for themselves every day.

Scheduled content was planned, thoroughly researched and edited by our co-creators and distributed via engaging TikTok videos. Following this, we reached out to LGBTQIA+ voices on the TikTok community and within our local community to host episodes with subject matters they were interested in. The combination of content that was both entertaining and educational and consistency in output led to the fast growth of the page. With a full content schedule, we were able to analyse the factors to success and integrate editing, filming, script and distribution best practices to optimise content output and are constantly testing and trialing content changes. Social is an ever-evolving practice and keeping your finger on the platform and audience insights allowed us to grow the channel substantially. 

Criticism of our content was expected from the anti- LGBTQIA+ and homophobic audiences; however, criticism from the LGBTQIA+ community itself was one of our biggest challenges. We took each comment with serious consideration and an open lens to learning in order to ensure our video content was historically accurate and inclusive.


The biggest success factor was the growth of the channel beyond TikTok, to a media entity of it’s own. The acceleration from TikTok platform to brand within the year of 2022 was most prevalent with the following major milestones: 

In intending to reach the LGBTQIA+ youth we have succeeded in fostering a place which educates and provides a value that is not only online, but a community. 


Video for Rainbow History Class

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Snack Drawer


Entry Credits