Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

First Advisor

Megan Sinnott

Second Advisor

Amira Jarmakani

Third Advisor

Julie Kubala


In June 2015, Caitlyn Jenner created waves of excitement with her coming out announcement on the cover of Vanity Fair: “Call me Caitlyn.” From the perspective of critical trans politics, however, the heightened visibility of trans people in mainstream media does not call for unequivocal celebration. Though trans women of color, such as Laverne Cox and Janet Mock, are more visible in mainstream media than ever before, mainstream media still largely depicts trans people through white constructs of what it means to be trans, namely medicalized binary transitions. Many trans people who deviate from mainstream media’s depiction of trans people are creating their own media on YouTube to voice their lived experiences. I argue that while YouTube is a particularly accessible platform for trans people to challenge transnormativity, the reach of trans YouTubers’ messages are highly limited by the medium’s design and genre conventions.