Meet Upstander DJ Lina

This celebrated transgender turntablist celebrates positivity and shares words of wisdom about how to stand up to bullying.

Portrait of DJ Lina

We are all excited for the Black and Gold Halloween Ball at The Asbury. Do you have anything special planned for the event to get the crowd moving?
Thank you very much. I’m very excited, as well, and I love the family at the Asbury hotel. For the music, I approach it organically. I feed off the energy. We’re gonna have a wonderful evening.

A percentage of proceeds from the Black and Gold Halloween Ball will go to The Tyler Clementi Foundation which does important bullying prevention work.  Why is the issue of bullying important to you?
We are all on this planet together. It’s important for everyone to be able to live and be in their own truth. There’s no room for anyone to judge you or harm you because they’re uncomfortable with where they are in their life.

DJ Lina Tile

Recently, the CDC released numbers showing the devastating numbers of LGB youth who are bullied and the ramifications (avoiding school, depression, etc.). There hasn’t been an equivalent set of data specifically about trans-identified youth. What do you think people should be doing to create safe space in schools and work for trans-identified individuals?
I believe that it all starts from the ‘get-go’. We aren’t brought into this world with hatred. That is all taught. We all know high school is difficult as it is, but there needs to be assemblies (like those where they take the #Day1 declaration) letting children know that bullying will not be tolerated. It needs to be affirmed throughout every type of interaction, from cyberbullying to physical, that there are consequences.

You started a YouTube talk show speaking with LGBT people called “In the Dollhouse with Lina” with great guest stars like Justin Vivian Bond and others who run the gamut of fashion and performance but all proudly embrace their unique selves. How important is this to you?
It is such a gift to be able to do this show. It’s been a lifetime dream. I have been a huge doll collector since the age of four. My Barbie room really lent itself as the perfect backdrop. My show is for everyone who can love themselves, who wants to laugh, who wants to be enlightened, and even who wants to get schooled. That’s huge for me. It’s always been who I am, and now, I’m able to share that with people who may only know me as a DJ for the last 20 years. They now get insights every Thursday with influential people from every walk of life.

On social media, celebrities have often instigated and developed Twitter wars and hostilities that courted press and riled fans. As an all-star and celebrity DJ, how do you feel about these exchanges?
I have never been about affirming hostility. It takes more energy to be ugly and nasty than it does to be nice. No one wants to read all that. It just starts eating at you, and eventually, you become the disease. I’m not about that I’m energy. I’m a princess of light.

Do you think bullies can change?
We’re human. I’ve seen people change. I don’t believe that being hostile and rude to people. In order to try to make them change, sometimes killing them with kindness goes a long way. They realize down the road when it’s time for them, and then they do. No one likes to be miserable. We all want to be loved and accepted in the end.

If you could do one thing to stop all bullying, what would you do?
Stop feeding the cold. Don’t respond to it. Don’t be a part of it. Keep yourself around good positive energy and light.

We all need some positivity and support at times. What song do you turn to when you need to get lifted up?
Music is such a beautiful tool in life. I don’t get down. I’m a very upbeat person, but if I need a life, anything by Led Zeppelin always gets me going.

Follow DJ Lina on Facebook and Instagram.

The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.