Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Sociology, MA

Committee Chair

Marshall, Gul

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Christopher, Karen

Committee Member

Christopher, Karen

Committee Member

Morales, Roberto

Committee Member

Heinecken, Dawn

Author's Keywords

transgender; social media; media studies; gender; lgbtq studies; lgbtqia


This study explores how nonbinary individuals represent and express their gender on TikTok. Given the limited amount of research that has been done on nonbinary gender expression in online spaces, this study uses TikTok to observe the ways that nonbinary individuals perform gender. Additionally, given the relative newness of TikTok, this study serves to inform growing research on identity formation through social media. It used a sample of fifty TikToks by nonbinary creators to perform a content analysis. The findings reveal significant variation in how nonbinary individuals "do gender" on the platform, with some individuals identifying closely with binary labels, while others attempted to portray themselves as androgynous or fluid between the binary. Many utilized alternative/goth fashion to achieve their goals. Nonbinary individuals may use online "impression management" strategies to influence how their audience perceives them. This study's results carry significant implications for our understanding of how individuals create and express their gender identities in various ways. By examining how nonbinary individuals use TikTok to showcase their gender expressions, we can gain valuable insights into this expanding community and the ever-evolving dynamics of online identity.