The Trans Dimension
How we collaborated with Gendered Intelligence to develop a trans-focussed offshoot of our award-winning PlaceCal Community Calendar.
The Trans Dimension is an online community hub which connects trans communities across the UK by collating news, events and services by and for trans people in one easy-to-reach place. It was funded by the Comic Relief Tech for Good “Build” fund, and builds on GFSC’s existing work on PlaceCal.
We created it with Gendered Intelligence, the UK’s largest trans-led national charity. As a studio led by trans and non-binary disabled people, this was a dream collaboration and hopefully the start for many more exciting projects. Our pilot focussed on London where Gendered Intelligence are active, and we are now planning a UK-wide rollout. Artwork is by the awesome Harry Woodgate and graphic design and logo by frequent collaborator Squid.
Tech wise, The Trans Dimension is a static site created in Elm Pages that feeds in event data from the PlaceCal GraphQL API. This gives Gendered Intelligence full control over the site. We can now use this formula to create other interest-based sites that are independent of PlaceCal’s codebase and branding.
Why is this so important?
People who are trans, non-binary or gender diverse experience:
- Higher levels of social isolation, exclusion & loneliness
- Higher levels of discrimination, shame, abuse & violence
- Greater inequalities in health & wellbeing, especially mental health, and
- Less opportunity in terms of education, training & employment
As a result,4 in 5 trans people experienced transphobic hate crime in 2020. Experiences like these can be a deterrent to finding crucial and life-saving support networks.
Right now, NHS waiting lists for trans healthcare are up to five years long, and there is more pressure than ever on mental health services. If we can support our users to build networks and reduce their social isolation, we hope we can build collective resilience and build a national network of trans-led and trans-friendly groups. Together, they can create safe spaces for trans people and battle the seemingly never-ending wave of transphobia sweeping the UK and the world.
What are the difficulties?
Whilst many organisations and trans community groups maintain their own social calendars, they’re not ‘owned’ by the wider community, nor are their listings as easily discoverable as they could be.
Right now, finding events means knowing where to look in the first place, and then going to each separate website to try to find something relevant to your interests. Facebook can be a good tool but fundamentally pits groups against each other for attention. It also increases the barriers to access if you’re not already well socially connected. There is also a high chance of being ‘outed’ by clicking Facebook links by accident which can be very off-putting for some.
Once you’ve found an event or group of interest, trans people need to carefully vet each event to determine whether it is safe. Even events listed as for the “LGBTQ+” community may not actually be trans-friendly.
If you’re trans and disabled, your work is even harder. Disabled people often have to email, call, or visit venues ahead of time due to a lack of public accessibility information.
These barriers prevent trans people from meeting each other and developing friendships, and in turn prevent us from building the strong, supportive trans communities we need.
How will we make a difference?
The Trans Dimension is a shared, community-owned system which many providers can contribute to—removing the need for cross-checking. It will help people find trans-friendly events and build a wider sense of community. The Trans Dimension will enable even the smallest community groups to have an equal online presence & advertise events alongside larger groups.
We’ve worked with both GI staff and Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People to create a care-based guide to inclusion and accessibility for trans and disabled people. We’re now looking at how best to put this advice into practice and create some cultural change around accessibility.
Listings are moderated centrally by a dedicated staff member at Gendered Intelligence, meaning listings will be relevant and up-to-date. Putting on events is hard and often thankless, and there’s very little support for you out there. We hope that we can use The Trans Dimension to support all these groups and create a network of people working together on trans liberation.
“I am delighted to see the advent of The Trans Dimension. It’s just what the trans community needs. As an organiser of a trans meetup group myself I couldn’t believe how many events were happening each week, most of which I’d never heard of before. This is a great resource and a super way to stay up to date. I can’t wait to see how this evolves in the future.”
Ray Lavery, London Transgender Meetup
We hope that The Trans Dimension will help create a world where trans people of every age and ability can safely access the potentially life saving support of community networks, and where all trans people feel welcome.Find out more