"I am something else. For now": Exploring youth conversations about gender online.




Walker, Elisabeth M. Mattie

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Although Child and Youth Care research and pedagogy is committed to diversity, as yet this field has produced very little research that specifically focuses on supporting children and youth who do not identify with cis/heteronormative standards of gender. Further, despite that recent media attention to trans issues and gender diversity has sparked questions concerning how issues of gender are approached in practice, there continues to be a distinct lack of consensus on how best to talk about these issues, how to define gender, and how to approach these issues in practice. Through combining Situational Analysis (Clarke, 2005) with aspects of Relativity Theory this thesis makes a contribution towards filling the existing gap in the research. This study provides a descriptive exploration into the many ways language is being utilized by young people to shape, evoke, and construct the diverse understandings of what gender means in their lives by analyzing data gathered through the social media platform, Tumblr. This inquiry shows that these young people create unique terminology to describe, discuss, define and share their engagement with gender categories and identities. The findings of this study suggest that a creative, nuanced, and flexible understanding of the ways in which the language and terminology shape and influences how gender is lived and then discussed within specific contexts both on- and offline, will greatly assist practitioners to support youth with this highly complex topic.



gender, gender diversity, gender variance, youth, young people, gender nonconforming, trans youth, Situation Analysis