Being Seen: Video Diaries of Transgender Youth

The New Yorker
March 12, 2013

In researching my article for The New Yorker about transgender adolescents and their quest for earlier and earlier physical transformations, I spent some time on YouTube, where you can find thousands of videos chronicling the gender switches of young people. The videos offer a mash-up of youthful identity struggles, self-promoting confessionals, and thoughtful explorations of gender and its discontents. Often shot in poster-covered bedrooms or in the family basement, on wavering Webcams, they range from diary-like accounts to pop-ballad-accompanied photo montages and practical tutorials on subjects like makeup for M.T.F.s (male-to-females) or binding (compressing breasts) for F.T.M.s.