Blue hair and pronouns in bio : surveillance of queer BIPOC users and digital identity formation




Desporte, Gabryella

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This thesis is centered around observing the ways in which surveillance cultures, beginning with biometric surveillance technologies along the US-Mexico border, coincide with modern technologies being used by queer and trans, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (QTBIPOC) as forms of gendered, racialized, and sexualized surveillance. I include my observations in the form of an autoethnography to mark my own interfaces with surveillance technologies and logics beginning in the early 2000s to present day to mark my own experiences as a young queer Internet user, and to show how anti-feminist movements from forum sites like 4chan instigate hate crimes against QTBIPOC users. In the first chapter, I detail my previous research included analysis of the US-Mexico border to better understand the forms of biometric prejudice placed against transgender migrants seeking asylum in the United States, and I turn to two trans artists that provide creative interventions in protest of surveillance cultures. In my second chapter, I focus on modern-day applications of surveillance specifically as it regards today’s social media, particularly analyzing social apps like TikTok to uncover antiblack rhetoric and appropriations of Black culture, using Achille Mbembe’s concept of necropolitics. I conclude with envisioning the possibility of a new Internet via the analyzing Kara Keeling’s work Queer OS to posit new Internet futures that address and provide transformative platforms for QTBIPOC users.


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