Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




William Fisher

Committee Members

Grey Gundaker

Elizabeth Losh


Tumblr is a social media platform with a large population of LGBT+ people. The primary source of contention between LGBT+ people on Tumblr is the use, creation, and legitimacy of LGBT+ categories. I argue that on Tumblr, LGBT+ online communication processes focus on categorization through labeling and hostile interactions employed to reinforce both labels and ideology. These digital speech acts affirm or deny another person's legitimacy of self through category negation or the denial of the legitimacy of classification. Through the analysis of Tumblr posts, I found two types of categorical conversations: group affiliation and self-generated identity and categorical existence. The primary usage of these conversation types is to discuss confusion around LGBT+ categories to come to a consensus, but they tend to create instead of alleviating confusion. A significant finding from these digital messages is the use of the categories as ways to validate "community" membership. These online discussions of categories are ever-evolving but still important for how LGBT+ categories are constructed, maintained, and changed through social media messages.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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