Finding "Trap Doors:" Trans Memoirs in Print and Digital Spaces

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Erin Rand


Gender;Hypervisibility;Possibility;Race;Trans Memoir

Subject Categories

Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This thesis investigates the trans memoir genre in both print and digital spaces during an era of trans hypervisibility. Drawing from genre studies, trans/queer studies, rhetorical studies, and digital studies, I situate the trans memoir genre within a broader paradigm of trans hypervisibility within popular discourse that allows trans people to navigate spaces of hypervisibility by allowing them to tell their stories in all its complexities. I explore how transness and race intersect within the genre while also expanding the genre to include digital memoirs. To do so, I analyze two emergent trans women’s memoirs, Geena Rocero’s Horse Barbie, and Dylan Mulvaney’s TikTok series “Days of Girlhood.” While trans memoirs neatly fold into scholarship that has critiqued trans narratives for being constrained within medicalized narratives imposed by white, cis-heteronormative powers, this thesis seeks to explore the “trap doors” that emerge within the trans memoir genre that allow trans people to resist this dominant framework, diversifying and further humanizing the trans experience. Ultimately, I argue that the uses of the memoir genre at the intersections of race, gender, and digital media allows trans people to disrupt medicalized and monolithic frameworks while also building and protecting community. Despite the hypervisibility of trans lives within the media and legislative actions being taken to restrict, and in some instances even erase, trans people, the memoir genre offers an avenue of possibility for trans lives and stories to be told.


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