Communication ETDs

Publication Date



My thesis examines the discourses present in digital video projects created by queer youth, ages 13-20, who participated in The Reel Queer Youth video mentorship program between 2009 and 2012. I used textual analysis, specifically discourse and critical technocultural discourse analysis to explore constructions of identity in youth and experiences present in digital video projects and the contexts these discourses were produced within. I identified three overarching discursive themes: (a) call for more complex understandings of queer youth identities and experiences; (b) concern regarding gender binaries; and (c) change and self-responsibility. In addition to the discursive themes, I identified and discussed four contextualizing elements. The elements consist of: (a) culture, the larger media discourses concerning the experiences of queer youth; (b) environment, the RQY video production workshop where the videos were produced; (c) production, the actual production process needed to produce a digital video project; and (d) platform, Vimeo, the video sharing site that hosts the RQY videos. I placed the themes and contextualizing elements identified into conversation with each other. I was able to identify four conversations: (a) sexual and gender identity labels; (b) unspoken discourses: reinforcing queer universality; (c) cyberqueer materiality and technolcultural space; and (d) queer technological progress. These conversations reveal that culture and environment had an impact on what how the youth conceptualize and construct gender and sexual identities, as well as what discourses are silenced. Production and platform influence what is actually able to be captured and shared through the use of digital video, while platform affects who can access the videos and the potential negative ramifications of making the RQY videos public.




queer, youth, digital video, identity, gender, sexual orientation, discourse analysis, critical technocultural discourse analysis, gay

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Weiss, David

First Committee Member (Chair)

White, Judith

Second Committee Member

Washington, Myra

Third Committee Member

Ramirez de Arellano, Adriana