Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Peter Simonson

Second Advisor

Lisa Flores

Third Advisor

Jamie Skerski

Abstract

Through analyzing videos from five trans men’s YouTube transition channels, this thesis amplifies the voices of trans men, arguing that trans men on YouTube engage in a project of queer worldmaking. Each chapter traces one mode of queer worldmaking. First, documentation of transition via YouTube constitutes a complex temporality where past, present, and future intertwine to disrupt a normative, teleological understanding of transition. Second, the counterpublic nature of the transmasculine YouTube community allows for the constitution of alternative gender norms, which in turn allow for trans men to be intelligible through, rather than despite of, their transness. Finally, the transmasculine YouTube community can fulfill needs of trans men left unaddressed by transphobic structures and institutions through an ethos of care. This thesis adds to a growing body of scholarship on rhetoric and queer worldmaking, highlighting both rhetoric’s contributions to understanding worldmaking and queer worldmaking’s contributions to understanding rhetoric.