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Being Seen: Video Diaries of Transgender Youth

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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.