Hashtags, Images, and Identity: An Interdisciplinary Qualitative Approach to Analyzing Transgender Latinas’ Use of Instagram
Abstract: Social media and media culture have significantly impacted how we understand ourselves, our communities, and our society. Marginalized groups have utilized social media as an effective outlet for self-expression and connecting with others. This project sought to understand how transgender Latinas use Instagram to present their identities and experiences using #TransLatina. The interdisciplinary team represents the fields of social work, photojournalism, and counseling psychology. This diversity of backgrounds and perspectives allowed us to qualitatively analyze the presentation of self of transgender Latinas by analyzing their posts, including images, captions, and hashtags. This paper seeks to discuss the strengths and challenges of utilizing Instagram as a source of data and the rich analytic process that emerged from such a diverse group of researchers. This interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial to understanding communication processes and social media’s role in the expression and understanding of underserved populations.