While I was at Refinery29 I really wanted to get more trans voices onto the site and use the platform to get information out to people who needed it. These ideas came together in TransAmerica, which was intended to be a sort of “Trans State of the Union.” We did extensive research into the legal and cultural situation in every state to create an interactive map, and we profiled a lot of trans millennials, including an in-depth piece with Gavin Grimm, who was then a largely-unknown seventeen-year-old taking his state’s bathroom laws to the Supreme Court.
For this video, we had a bit of an argument in the office. I was pretty insistent that we not use an influencer or an activist. I wanted to show an ordinary person just living their life. I managed to prevail and the result is this piece with Hannah Simpson.
TransAmerica has lots of flaws. We didn’t involve enough trans people in the conception or planning of the project, and I don’t think anyone who was involved on the Refinery29 side was trans. Not a great example of real representation, especially for a project partially about representation. Still, I like to think it chipped away at the great cis edifice of media at least a little.