Ripley Olmstead

Student NameRipley Olmstead
Faculty Mentor NameAdrienne Strong
CollegeCollege of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Research InterestsIdentity formation, gender identity, sexuality, inequality, digital cultures, counter culture, queer studies, linguistic anthropology, cultural anthropology
Academic AwardsSumma cum laude Graduate of Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate Highschool (2017), Bright Futures Scholarship (2017), Dean’s List (CALS, Spring 2018), Dean’s List (CALS, Summer 2018), University Scholar’s Program (2020)
OrganizationsGator Anime Club/Swampcon
Hobbies and InterestsCosplay, Drag, Illustration, Fiction Writing, Competitive Gaming, Tabletop Gaming,

Research Project

Trans Cosplay: Costuming as a Tool for Identity Construction and Performance in Transgender Individuals?

The purpose of this research project is to investigate the relationship between cosplay and the gender identities/performance of trangender individuals. It will investigate this primarily in terms of what cosplay means for the construction of identity for transgender people, and what it means for the performance of those identities. The information to be gained from this research has many implications. Trans people, especially those outside binary, explore and perform gender in a way that is nonstandard on a daily basis. Investigating their experiences within a space that is so fundamentally subversive of gender norms can provide a new perspective on how they experience gender. Exploring how trans people perform and construct their genders can further teach us about the construction and performance of gender in general, and further, the construction and performance of identity itself.

Throughout the course of this project I will be engaging in participant observation within the cosplay community. I will go to the multi-genre conventions that act as the main stage for cosplay as hobby and community, and observe behavior of trans cosplayers within these spaces. Outside of these events I will be taking time to sit down and interview trans cosplayers that I personally already know, and trans cosplayers I will meet throughout my time observing in conventions.