Informatics Department

Donald Bren School of Information
and Computer Sciences

University of California, Irvine

Gender transition on social media

Social computing technologies, such as social media sites, often privilege people who fit within expected, static categories. Thus, designing technology and social media flexible enough to allow for representation of complex identities that emerge as people embark on major life transitions, such as changing gender, is a particular challenge. Because little is known about how transgender people navigate gender transition on social media, this work seeks to understand challenges and opportunities related to this experience. Examining the relationships between issues including disclosure, self-presentation, mental health, and support on social network sites for these particular users can inform technology design that will benefit people who struggle with navigating a wide range of major identity changes online.


Anne Bowser, Jed Brubaker, Elizabeth Churchill, Lynn Dombrowski, Blake Hawkins, Gillian Hayes, Courtney Loder, Eddie Melcer


Building an Online Community of Care: Tumblr Use by Transgender Individuals
Blake W. Hawkins, Oliver L. Haimson
GEWINN / Gender & IT Conference, May 2018

Digital and Physical Barriers to Changing Identities
Oliver L. Haimson
XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students, Winter 2017

Changes in Social Media Affect, Disclosure, and Sociality for a Sample of Transgender Americans in 2016’s Political Climate
Oliver L. Haimson, Gillian R. Hayes
ICWSM Conference on Web and Social Media, May 2017
[acceptance rate: 14%]

Digital Footprints and Changing Networks During Online Identity Transitions
Oliver L. Haimson, Jed R. Brubaker, Lynn Dombrowski, Gillian R. Hayes
ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 2016
[acceptance rate: 23%] [Best Paper Honorable Mention]

Online Inspiration and Exploration for Identity Reinvention
Oliver L. Haimson, Anne E. Bowser, Edward F. Melcer, Elizabeth F. Churchill
ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 2015
[acceptance rate: 23%]

User Response to Facebook’s Custom Gender Options
Oliver L. Haimson, Jed R. Brubaker, Courtney Loder, Lynn Dombrowski, Gillian R. Hayes iConference, March 2015

Disclosure, Stress, and Support During Gender Transition on Facebook
Oliver L. Haimson, Jed R. Brubaker, Lynn Dombrowski, Gillian R. Hayes
ACM CSCW Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, March 2015
[acceptance rate: 28%] [Best Paper Honorable Mention]

Understanding Gender Transition on Social Media to Design Technology for Changing Identities
Oliver L. Haimson, Gillian R. Hayes
CHI Workshop on Designing Technology for Major Life Events, April 2014