Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Alisa Perkins

Second Advisor

Lusike Mukhongo

Third Advisor

Nathan Nguyen


This thesis project is an ethnographic experimental documentary film and reflective essay exploring the queer experiences of the filmmaker, June/Jeode, a black trans woman making her transition journey and recounting the discovery of her sexuality with one major focus: the importance the internet was for that journey. The experiences of growing up closeted in the digital age coupled with the dramatic technological evolution in our social networking and development left a powerful impression on June as to how we create intimacy in our modern world. Whereby the LGBTQ+ community utilizes and celebrates the internet’s freedom of expression and interconnectedness, government restriction and pushback shows that many of these benefits were unintended and condemned. This censorship appeared in the forms of banning words from AOL chat rooms (‘queer’ being listed among AOL’s banned words circa 1995) forums to algorithmic suppression of black queer creators on Tiktok. But as the World Wide Web rose in popularity, the creation of Facebook marked the turning point to the era of social media. This is the internet I grew up with. It is a separate culture, the internet itself. What makes this topic important and timely is our broadly changing communication structures and the social climate of LGBT issues in the West, urging us to take a closer look at how we can feel more connected in an era of constant access. While the internet revolutionized communication for many people, the emergence of new digital spaces has allowed certain communities to come together across the globe. This film and essay demonstrate how these elements create a simultaneous invisibility and overwhelming visibility for queer/trans identities. Further, the thesis uses the internet as a lens through which to examine the social development of queer/trans youth as the internet applies to them in regards to identification, and self discovery. At its core, my thesis is about a medium of communication and its impact upon a specific demographic, as well as how this demographic impacts the internet itself.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted