Since June, a new Instagram account has been featuring the stories of LGBTQ+ people in Asia, discussing topics that range from coming out, gay men’s health, and the arts.
Called The Love Stream (TLS), the stories are recorded live on Instagram about once or twice every week. Founders and hosts Nicholaiv Villalobos, 29, and Dwayne Wang, 32, say they hope these conversations will highlight the lived experiences of the amazing LGBTQ+ individuals among us.
We now turn the spotlight on the two hosts, who are married and live in Singapore, to tell us more about their passion project.
Welcome to asia.gay guys! It’s great to talk to you. Can you share with our readers, how this idea for a streaming channel about LGBT+ individuals came about?
Despite the recent advancements in LGBT+ rights worldwide, there are still many individuals who feel alone, underrepresented and stigmatized, especially in Asia.
We have had the good fortune of finding love in each other and acceptance amongst friends and family, and as such, TLS felt more like a natural calling and a duty to the community. We hope that by utilising our social media network, we can help elevate the stories of amazing individuals around us for the greater good and to increase our collective wisdom. The pandemic and the distance we were all feeling further upped the impetus to deliver some accessible, feel-good content to provide more positive narratives.
The idea for chats hosted on IG Live actually came from a friend who invited us to chat on his (at that time fitness-related) show. We saw how fun, organic and interactive it could be, and decided to replicate that framework towards an LGBT+ slant.
That’s awesome! We definitely need more stories being told about community. What would you say is the difference between what you’re doing versus other “streams” out there? How would you compare yourselves to the new The SG Boys podcast, for example?
TLS is unique in its airing format. By having the episodes recorded live, the audience is able to watch the unadulterated and unrehearsed responses of the guests and hosts, as well as their animated expressions!
The chat function also allows for real-time audience engagement through the form of Q&A and reactions! Once aired, the episodes are archived on the IG @thelovestreams for future viewings, whilst highlight reels from each episode are captured on the FB group for further discourse.
I bet you must have had some amazing guests! Who’s the most memorable guest you’ve had on so far?
That’s really difficult to choose! There have been so many great guests and episodes so far.. From Episode 7’s June (The T Project) and her accidental activism for transgender rights in Singapore (+”Sex Work is Work”), to Episode 17’s Ernz from asia.gay coming out for the first time on-air, to Episode 16’s tie in with Victoria Wondersnatch as our host-in-drag lightly grilling Calvin from AfA (Action4Aids) on HIV prevention.
The diverse list of guests is truly long, and each of them have several great gems.
Wow, it sounds like 2020 has been a really fruitful year for you guys. What plans in 2021 do you have for The Love Streams?
For 2021, a key plan is to have more guest hosts! TLS was never meant to be centered around us. Our aim is for TLS to inspire conversations throughout the community on issues that hit close to our hearts, which will be evident when we launch our “TLS Pride Month”.
There will also be giveaways and tie-ins with other socially conscious organisations. Of course, we aim to diversify our guests and stories even further!
That’s awesome! Thank you guys for sharing with us your story! Have a great rest of the year and we can’t wait to hear more amazing, inspirational stories on The Love Streams!