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Porn Filters Make Accessing Trans Resources Difficult

Frustrated Woman on Laptop

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that trans discrimination and anti-transgender bias has resulted in shocking levels of mistreatment by the cisgender majority. Unemployment rates in the trans community are double that of the general population and soar to four times the national average for transgender people of color.

One fifth of respondents reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives because they were transgender or gender nonconforming. A majority (55%) of those trying to access a homeless shelter reported being harassed by shelter staff and residents, with 29% indicating that they were turned away from shelters they applied to all together.

Accessing the Internet, a critical resource for finding trans-friendly doctors, a job or housing,  is significantly more difficult for transgender people. Those who are forced to rely on libraries or public Wi-Fi networks to access these resources find that filters designed to block pornography invariably block all sites that mention transgender, as it is a popular sector of the porn industry.

Lauren Voswinkle, a transgender software developer states, “Because homelessness and poverty are such big issues in the trans community, many don’t have access to unfiltered, uncensored Internet. These hurdles to accessing information can make it even harder for transgender people to escape poverty.” To help alleviate this problem, Ms. Voswinkle and other trans activists have launched Transgress, a website that allows users to bypass web filters to access sites that address transgender issues.

The Transgress site works by having the user enter the URL of the site they’re trying to reach. Transgress will fetch the contents, verify that the site addresses transgender issues, modify the text and insert symbols in place of banned words, and then serve up an edited page that won’t set off filtering software. In order to be certain that fetched pages are relevant, Transgress scans the pages for keywords and analyzes the text to prevent the site being used inappropriately for trans porn and to make sure they are not blacklisted as a porn-delivery site by filtering software entities.

We are pleased to report that ILoveTS appears to pass with the Transgress algorithm, allowing transgender women looking for love to find the best dating sites, advice, and news from around the world.

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