The following thesis explores the potential for autoethnography to serve as an enabling method for developing a grounded understanding of literacy, performance, gender and sexuality. As autoethnographic writing insists that even the seemingly most personal aspects of a researcher's character are deeply embedded in larger political and sociocultural narratives, this thesis suggests that writers can productively use autoethnography to enrich their understanding of the matrices of self and other. The first chapter examines some of the uses and understandings of this method in rhetoric and writing studies as well as some of its intersections with other scholarly pursuits. The second chapter continues by offering the author's own autoethnography, centering on his literacy development as a performer and gender-marked person. The final chapter concludes by asserting that autoethnography, at its best, catches writers "in the act" in important ways, resisting universalizing and homogenizing claims and bringing to the fore previously marginalized stories about performance and gender.