Trans youth and social media: moving between counterpublics and the wider web

Olu Jenzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Today’s trans youth grew up with the internet and online LGBTQ resources and spaces are important to these communities. This article focuses on conceptualising the digital cultural strategies that trans and gender questioning youth adopt both as social media users and producers in order to cope and thrive. Drawing on ethnographic data detailing a group of trans youth’s engagements with LGBTQ social media counterpublics and the wider web, and their movement between these spheres, in combination with close readings of online material identified as salient by the participants, this article argues that in the face of rampant transphobia and cis coded online paradigms, trans youth respond both critically and creatively. More specifically, I highlight how they resist prescribed user protocols of mainstream social networking sites as well as employ pragmatic strategies for navigating a binary gendered online world, staking out their own methods and aesthetics for self expression and community formation. Having examined the content and style of social media examples highlighted by the participants, the article contends that trans youth’s consumption and production of types of online and social media is significantly more diverse than research to date has recognised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-1641
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Gender, Place and Culture on 13/11/2017, available online:


  • Digital culture
  • social media
  • trans youth
  • youth activism


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