Trans vlogs beyond the transition process

transnormativity, visibility and controversy in Kat Blaque’s True Tea Videos


  • Danielle Rudnicka-Lavoie Ryerson University


On YouTube, transition vlogs can be incredibly helpful for folks curious about or currently undergoing a gender transition process, contributing to affective counterpublics on the platform. However, the visibility created by transition vlogs also contribute to stereotypes that presents gender transition as a linear process that begins in one gender and ends in another, reinforcing binary gender stereotypes and medical transition as both achievable and accessible to all. Despite extensive literature on gender transition vlogs on YouTube, there remains a gap in understanding how trans YouTubers’ everyday lived experiences are depicted in vlogs. Against this backdrop, this paper investigates YouTuber Kat Blaque’s series “True Tea” as contributing to a disruption of transnormativity on the platform. Considering much remains unknown about QTBIPOC creators on YouTube, this study highlights how Blaque’s vlogs address both subversive and mundane aspects of intersectional identities. Drawing on a Critical Feminist Discourse Analysis of 10 videos selected from Blaque’s series “True Tea”, I show how vlogs about topics other than transition by trans YouTubers contribute to dissipating stereotypes about trans folks’ lived experiences by decentering medicalizing discourses. Themes in her videos relating to passing and transnormativity; pronouns and woke culture; and romance and sexual attraction reveal that Kat Blaque’s vlogs contribute to a decentering of transnormativity. These findings are significant to the literature of trans vlogs on YouTube, as they highlight the diverse and intersectional nature of Black trans womens’ lived experiences. This study finds that increased attention into the intersectional identities of trans YouTubers aids in resisting the notion of neoliberal logic of the individual by situating their experiences as singular and contributing to the trans creative vernacular of the platform.