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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

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Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

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Volume 2019, Issue 256


Discourses of transnormativity in vloggers’ identity construction

Lucy Jones
Published Online: 2019-01-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2018-2013


This article investigates the construction of two transgender vlogger personas, providing insight into the prevalence of normative discourses which may be drawn on when constructing transgender identities. Many transgender people around the world rely on the internet as a source of information and guidance, with online video diaries (“vlogs”), in which young people record and chart their experiences of transition, playing a particularly important role. In this article, discourse from two popular transgender vloggers is critically analysed. It is found that the vloggers index identities which are broadly in line with what Lal Zimman terms the archetypal “true transsexual”, an ideological model of what it means to be “authentically” transgender. This corresponds with heteronormative, essentialist expectations of binary gender. The vloggers are shown to authenticate their own experiences by stating what is “typical” and positioning themselves as “experts”. Ultimately, it is argued that the version of transgender identity and experience that they put forward reproduces prevalent discourses of normative gender and sexuality.

Keywords: transgender; transnormativity; identity construction; heteronormativity; vlogs


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-01-22

Published in Print: 2019-02-25

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2019, Issue 256, Pages 85–101, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2018-2013.

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