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A qualitative study exploring transgender youths’ experiences of using social media

Lee, Xinyi (2017) A qualitative study exploring transgender youths’ experiences of using social media. Other thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Background The rise of the Internet in recent decades, along with social media and communication platforms, has created an opportunity for transgender individuals to seek out a common alternative identity that may reduce the societal pressure of fitting into a particular gender role dictated by biological sex. The developmental period that adolescents go through is accompanied by an array of challenges, more so for a young person whose biological sex is incongruent to their felt gendered sense. Research in social media use within the trans population is still developing, given the growing interest in how social media impacts on our sense of identity. Given the importance of identity development in adolescence, this highlights the need for research into this specific population. This study thus aims to contribute to the existing literature by exploring the experiences of transgender adolescents in using social media. Method A qualitative research methodology was employed, using a thematic analysis approach. A total of 11 participants between the ages of 15 to 18 were interviewed. Recruitment took place at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation trust as well as using snowballing sampling. Results Participants described using a varied range of social media platforms. A total of 3 main themes were developed from the data, with participants describing how social media played an initial role in helping them explore their trans identity, how they find themselves aligning with particular trans narratives on social media and lastly how participants make use of social media to present an image of themselves to others. Discussion The participants’ experiences on social media mirror and intersect with the transitional journey many of them take in changing their gender and this has implications for how clinicians can take into account social media influences when working with young trans individuals.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Xin Lee
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2018 10:41
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 10:41
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21276

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