Transgender 2.0: The Brave New World of YouTube Vlogging (Seminar, 22 May, Leeds)

Transgender 2.0: The Brave New World of YouTube Vlogging
22 May. 4-5.30pm
Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leeds
School of English, House 6, Cavendish Road, Basement.

Co-hosted by the Centre for Medical Humanities and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies.

It is some 25 years since Transgender came to denote a new state between genders, a mode of transitioning (or not), a popular movement that crucially intersected with Queer Theory, a profound question for feminism — and a radical revolution in gender studies. But transgender is not just an object in theory; transgender subjects have long chronicled their own transitions, representing themselves in compelling, autobiographical ways. It’s now time to take account of the difference that today’s modes of representation — in particular Web 2.0 with its ‘bundled’ media of webcams, YouTube and blogging (or ‘vlogging’) — make to the representation of these transitions. What does Trans means now, in the brave new world of Web 2.0?

This seminar showcases current research of the next generation of international scholars of Trans. Dr Tobias Raun, recent graduate of the Department of Culture and Identity, Roskilde University, Denmark, and Eveline Rojas, current PhD student in Sociology from the University of Pernambuco, Brazil, and visiting scholar at the University of Leeds will present their work and dialogue, both with each other and with the audience, on the implications of YouTube Vlogging for Trans. This event will also involve in part remote presentation (so let’s hope the technology really does make a difference).

Tobias Raun, DIY Therapy among trans vloggers on YouTube. Challenging and renegotiating psychological labels and practices.

‘I thought this would be the best way to get it out because I don’t feel that I am able to cry on my own. I have to be able to break down to somebody and it turns out that lucky person would be you [looking into the camera]‘ (Tony, 2009). Many trans people have turned to the Internet for self-representation and for a virtual community, enabling the acceptance and support they often fail to receive elsewhere. This paper focuses on a selection of trans video bloggers, using the vlog as a therapeutic tool in order to document and make sense of what is happening bodily, psychologically and socially when transitioning. I argue that the vloggers draw on interconnected practices like (self-)disclosure, coming out and testimony as tools in an ongoing self-representation and community building, challenging medico-psychological labels and practices.

Eveline Rojas, TRANS-FORMS NARRATIVES OF SELF: An analysis of the transsexual transition on YouTube

In this presentation I propose to understand how transgender subjects (male and female) in transition develop narratives of self to support a ‘radical’ change of themselves through the analysis of personal video diaries (Vlogs) on YouTube. Over the practice of vlogging it is possible to see in each video the experience of bodily changes, the construction and deconstruction of transgender meanings, the process of construction and negotiation of a gender identity realized and expressed by the subjects during the process of transition. Therefore through the self narrative in media I will try to investigate how the body performances – language, gestures – developed during the transition are able to assist in the identification with and production of the ‘desired’ self.

Enquiries to Jay Prosser, School of English.

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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