Methodology: Case Studies

Image of Evan while starting T This essay is an analysis of six case studies of video I collected during the last six months of 2009 while researching an earlier work that then took a different direction. These videos of young transmen have continued to intrigue me and have since transformed into this essay. The videos I am analyzing here are only a small part of a huge corpus of material that comprise the many, many trans-diaries on the Web (and especially on YouTube), not all of which involve testosterone or even are much concerned with transition, focusing on the daily life of the trans individual. Of the gathered materials, this particular convenience sample was chosen with several criteria in mind: first, and most important, the videos I archived (then in Flash, re-encoded by me as ogg, webm and mp4 to meet the standards of HTML 5) ideally met the usual patterns of the T-diary as I saw it played out on YouTube:
  1. Pre-testosterone: The young men in transition document the decision to go on testosterone as part of their journey to a more fully realized male gender.
  2. The first shot: Many of the young men who produce T-diaries document their first shot as a major milestone in what they present as their new life.
  3. First weeks and months: The initial effects of testosterone are huge and are lovingly documented including posturing before the camera to present new muscle mass and the growth of hair, especially facial hair, as particular marks of the male.
  4. Ongoing development: Later videos then document the changes occuring at ever increasing intervals often settling down into periods of about a month, with apologies to their viewers for not keeping them in the loop
  5. The compliation video: While this isn't always present, many T-diarists present videos with short clips that serve to document the rapid rate and the magnitude of the physical transformation they have experienced.
  6. Goodbyes: Some T-diaries end with a good bye from the trans individual as they move into their new masculine identity, especially if they choose to go stealth and pass as male without identifying publically as trans.
I also collected individual diaries from men who did not follow the entire pattern above if they had something particularly interesting to say, as in the case of Aiden (who has a girlfriend who knows that he is trans) and "Frank", who documents his transition to stealth status and asked people who know him as trans not to out him as trans after he deletes the channel.

I did not collect MTF trans-diaries. There were, for reasons I do not know, many fewer examples extant, and there were so many examples of FTM T-diaries, I decided to focus on that alone.

In some cases, I have many more videos than appear here; for reasons of brevity, I only included 3 or at most 4 videos just to keep the file size of this project to a reasonable scale.

Note: For this essay, I am going to honor "Frank"'s request not to out him by not including the archived video I have of him or identifying him by name. Thus, in that case study I won't provide any video or audio.