Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


American Studies


Francesca Sawaya

Committee Members

Charles McGovern

Jerry Watkins, III


The isolation following the COVID-19 pandemic had a massive influence on where young Americans chose to seek out community and comfort, namely social media platforms such as TikTok. TikTok’s ability to cater to the niche interests of its users made it a digital space that was used throughout the pandemic for teenagers and young adults questioning their gender identity to find each other and attempt to document and discuss their own lived experiences. A shift in how American society conceptualizes gender is both seen in and influenced by the youth discussion of nonbinary identity and its spread in the form of changing pronouns and new modes of gender presentation. I use the lens of informal theorizing to examine how young nonbinary and gender non-conforming Americans are parsing themselves on TikTok, piecing together their identities through humor, abstraction, and communal discussion.

Available for download on Thursday, April 29, 2027

On-Campus Access Only