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Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences

#GirlsLikeUs: Trans advocacy and community building online

By Sarah J Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles, 2017

In this research, we examine the advocacy and community building of transgender women on Twitter through methods of network and discourse analysis and the theory of networked counterpublics. By highlighting the network structure and discursive meaning making of the #GirlsLikeUs network, we argue that the digital labor of trans women, especially trans women of color, represents the vanguard of struggles over self-definition. We find that trans women on Twitter, led by Janet Mock and Laverne Cox, and in response to histories of misrepresentation and ongoing marginalization and violence, deliberately curate an intersectional networked counterpublic that works to legitimize and support trans identities and advocate for trans autonomy in larger publics and counterpublics.

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