Stemming from a recent White House gathering of LGBT and tech leaders, a volunteer-led group on Wednesday launched #transneeds — an effort to hear from the transgender community how the federal government and society as a whole could better protect and serve the community.
“The mostly invisible transgender community is finally being seen through pop culture and social media but the reality is that government processes and misunderstanding continue to hamper full participation in society,” said Ginger Chien, an AT&T engineer and participant in the White House summit. “This project hopes to gather new data by giving direct access to the transgender population to speak to their own experiences and needs.”
U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil discussed the launch Wednesday as part of a keynote speech he is giving at the Strata conference in New York.
“In talking with people from the transgender community, it became clear to me just how little data we have,” Patil said. “As we pursue efforts like precision healthcare, making sure we properly represent transgender Americans is critical. I’m excited for the #transneeds project and the data that comes out of it.”
A group of a dozen people from the tech, telecom and LGBT communities has put together the effort, which was among a number of projects that grew out of last month’s White House LGBT Tech & Innovation Summit.
“As a small, all-volunteer team, we are calling on leaders in the transgender community as well as LGBTQ organizations to help us get the word out,” said Jim Halloran, a Twitter employee and another #transneeds organizer. “Our goal is to reach as wide a cross-section of the community as possible.”
Those interested in taking part can post to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #transneeds hashtag or text in their need to 844-876-7637 (844 TRNS NDS).
The effort, to continue over the coming weeks, aims to gather feedback from a broad cross section of the transgender community in order to report back to the White House with a series of recommendations and directions for further study.
Transgender author, speaker and actor Scott Turner Schofield, who plays Nick on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful, praised the #transneeds effort.
“Trans people have been meeting our own needs, innovatively and self-sufficiently, throughout our history,” Schofield said. “But, in 2015, it is encouraging to see the federal government take steps to better recognize and support the transgender community’s continued progress toward full self-definition.”