In a first for both the transgender community’s visibility and interests, Bay Area artist, scholar and entrepreneur Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler is seeking donations on GoFundMe to hold the first transgender “hackathon” in the world.
No, the intent isn’t to go around changing pronouns on websites, or to break in and make them fabulous. The event, called Trans*H4ck, is focused on taking sites, apps, programs, and other products, and hacking them together into solutions that tackle the unique issues facing transgender people.
Trans*H4ck is part of Who We Know, described by Ziegler as “a social enterprise centered on economic empowerment for transgender people through entrepreneurship.” Trans*H4CK will be its first public event.
According to Ziegler, the programming marathon, scheduled for September 13 – 15 in Oakland, CA, is being put on because anti-transgender bias and discrimination need to be addressed. One method for doing so is to innovate technology designed for empowerment.
The “About” section of the GoFundme page states, “Imagine if there existed a mobile phone app that helps individuals find trans friendly doctors or an app that profiles safe space job opportunities for trans people across the country? Trans*H4CK is a space in which to turn these possibilities into reality.”
During the 48-hour hackathon, participants—including not just program designers and developers, but activists, entrepreneurs, and other members of the community—“will share ideas and create apps, websites and products that provide solutions in challenging anti-transgender discrimination.”
Ziegler told 429Magazine, “There is so much growing attention to the plight of transgender individuals that many organizations have begun to collect important data that reflects the diversity of the community. At the same time, trans people are creating our own data in the forms of videos, blogs, etc. I believe that we can take all of this information, put it into conversation and create something new and beneficial for trans and gender nonconforming people. We can create technology that saves lives.”
Funds raised for Trans*H4ck will go towards renting a space, paying for guest speakers, sponsorships for participants from out of the area, and prizes. As usual with crowdfunding campaigns, there are incentives to donate; the aim is $6,000, and isn’t planned to end until the goal is reached. Sixteen days in, they’ve already raised $1,550.
Ziegler also has a personal blog, the GLAAD Media Award nominated blac (k) ademic.