Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Schaffer, Scott


The transgender community has historically faced discrimination and oppression. However, the internet has emerged as a preeminent resource for transgender people to seek community and visibility, with YouTube acting as an especially valuable visual repository of self-representation. The present research is concerned with examining how transgender YouTube creators use the platform for self-actualization through the lens of existentialist and gender performance theory. Employing a qualitative content analysis of gender disclosure videos to explore this problem, this study shows how transgender YouTubers seek personal authenticity and self-disclosure, especially with the help of and in relation to their audiences. Further, having come out as transgender on YouTube, these creators use their content to help others in their community with their self-representation to promote positive change. This research adds to an increasingly rich body of knowledge of the trans community more generally and their use of YouTube more specifically.

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