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This video was presented at the Sigma XI and ACM IDC 2021 (Interaction Design for Children) conference. 

To be defined or not to be?
Addressing internal questions in the online community for gender diverse youth

The online community plays a pivotal role in the transgender community. To better understand how gender-diverse youth equip online communities during their critical stage of gender identity development and body changes, I collected online postings from TrevorSpace, one of the most active forums among gender-diverse youth in the US. While existing research largely focuses on the connectedness and social aspects of online communities, findings from this research illustrate how trans children are using online communities to navigate and explore their gender identity. The thematic analysis reveals two conflicting needs during this exploration process, a desire to identify their own gender identity yet not to be restricted by labels. More specifically, I found that 1) gender-diverse youth use the community to question and understand their gender identity by sharing their experience; 2) and these experiences vary for individuals in regards to the intensity of gender dysphoria and their coping mechanisms; 3) yet, the debate centers around the meaning of trans--for example, whether trans youth need to experience dysphoria or physically transition to be considered trans; 4) the growing impact of trans social influencers is pointed out as one of the sources of such exclusionary perspectives defining trans within the community. Altogether, this research points to the importance of acknowledging the spectrum of the trans experience. The findings from this research can contribute to diverse academic fields, ranging from human-computer interaction (HCI) to gender studies, providing implications to design a more inclusive digital platform for gender-diverse youth.

#Gender-diverse youth

#Trans Community

#Internal debates 


This slide was presented at the Sigma Xi student research conference


This discussion board was used at the Sig XI student research conference.

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