As the transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and genderfluid community grows larger and more diverse, they continue to face a number of obstacles imposed on them by mainstream society. From discrimination and harassment, to outright violence, life can be a real struggle for the population around the world that either doesn’t identify with their assigned gender, or doesn’t identify with the binary concept of gender in general. It’s no surprise that having to confront such difficulties puts not only one’s physical safety at stake, but also their mental health.
Luckily a large body of resources exists that offer the moral and legal support necessary to create a sense of belonging and safety for trans and gender nonconforming folks. There are also apps that can help smooth over a lot of the everyday struggles that trans and non-binary individuals face.
These apps facilitate a trans person’s search for safe spaces to date and network and they offer effective tools to avoid danger on the street or when traveling, specialized therapy on the go, and assistance to those looking to fulfill gender transition goals. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Dating Apps for Trans People
It’s no secret that dating in the 21st century isn’t simple — for anyone. Dating apps can make finding a partner a little easier, since they let you filter down to precisely what you’re looking for. Sadly, they’re never 100% foolproof. You can still run into awkward dates and rude people.
These problems are even worse for the transgender community, who frequently have to deal with offensive invasive questions about their bodies, the status of their transition, nasty insults, and unwarranted, condescending opinions about the topic of gender in general.
Developers have made headway creating options for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, but meeting the needs of the transgender and non-binary community has turned out to be more challenging. They confront harassment and dehumanizing fetishes even from the queer community. It seems harder for people to accept gender norms being challenged, than non-heteronormative sexualities.
Some apps have taken measures to solve these types of problems and provide a more inclusive experience for the greater transgender community. The quest to embrace the entire spectrum of human gender has been slow, but some progress is being made.
This is the newest trans dating app out there. While its main focus is on those who don’t identify with their assigned gender at birth, or with any specific gender, their audience does include people of all sexualities and gender identities. The app provides a platform on which positive relations can unfold between transgender, non-binary, and cisgender people alike. This can include dating, but also social networking.
The app’s policy and security measures ensure a safe space for all users to interact, in order to prevent harassment, trolling, and fetishizing behavior. Users are required to sign up with a phone number and a password—something other apps don’t require. This makes it harder for someone that was previously banned to open up a new account.
Another key feature Fiori offers is the possibility of raising money to fund people’s transition goals. The app makers intend to use their revenue to grant financial support to its users. Their transition goals funding program paves the way for trans people to embrace their right to be who they are and transcend any obstacles in their way.
Considering that Fiori is newly launched, let’s hope that this is the app the wider trans and non-binary community have been waiting for!
With millions of profiles signed up worldwide, Scruff holds claim to being the first trans friendly dating app. An alternative to Grindr, which also only targets men, Scruff doesn’t have the same poor reputation when it comes to trans people getting harassed on the app. So far it seems to do a good job of providing a better user experience for transgender men.
Years ago, Scruff set up a feature to alert any users when they’re traveling in countries where being gay, bi, or trans is a crime. Users get notifications informing them about necessary precautions to be taken in each region, and the details of the laws incriminating queer people. In the same vein, they also receive information from the app’s travel service, “Venture,” which links users to local events relevant to their interests. They can get in touch with “ambassadors” in over 500 places, who will give them insider tips.
This app is the equivalent to Scruff, but for women. It’s one of the best LGBTQ+ options that is inclusive of trans and non-binary people. Its functionality gets positive reviews, although the free plan has a bad reputation for being extremely limited.
One of HER’s strongest features is its community-building space. Hosted events and custom built message boards for interest and identity-based groups encourage positive relationships that don’t revolve around dating or hooking up. But because, like Scruff, its target is so specific, it doesn’t foster a sense of community for the entire transgender, non-binary, and cisgender community.
Health and Safety Apps
A wide range of therapy and safety apps benefit all people, regardless of their sex or gender identity. Then there are those designed specifically to suit the needs of more marginalized groups that are more vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, and violence. Apps that help us stay safe can be used by anyone, but those offering support and therapy often need to be tailored for specific groups, such as members of the trans community.
This app provides support and therapy for the LGBTQ+ community. The therapists working on the other side of this app are familiar with the types of problems experienced by those that don’t fit into mainstream society due to their sexuality, gender identity, or both.
Feeling accepted and understood is a necessity for any human being. It becomes all the more important to those who may find themselves rejected by their own families and society at large.
An app like Pride Counseling allows for members of the trans community to be heard without being judged. Users get matched to a suitable therapist and can then interact through live chats and video messages. Its main drawback is its price — $35 a week, but for many it’s well worth the price.
A mental health app and online support group combined, this platform is designed for transgender, genderqueer, and genderfluid youth. It provides a database of resources relevant to its users’ needs, with reviews on any type of event or venue that might be of interest. Financial and moral support, employment services, and healthcare advice can be found in its list of sources. Emergency hotlines, a “Crisis Text Line,” and trans-specific PrEP modules are also available to the community.
By fusing together resources and expertise vetted by a community of people with similar needs and identities, a strong sense of belonging and safety can be found. Transgender-spectrum youth (TSY), know where they can turn to when in need of advice, resources, friendship, and solace. This free, all-in-one digital tool, tailored for the specific needs of the trans community, shows a lot of promise, but as of now, it has few reviews.
Originally intended for women, members of the trans community find this app just as useful. This app allows users to take preemptive measures to avoid finding themselves trapped in an emergency situation with no way to get help.
When users open an account, their designated contacts receive a message from the app, with a tracking link to follow the user in real time using GPS. Emergency situations are recorded with clear footage, and then uploaded onto the user’s cloud storage account. Security alert messages can be sent to friends and family without even having to touch the phone. One keyword and the system is activated. Users can customize the keywords and phrases for each alert, according to each contact.
Good for both Android and Apple, the app is free, with the option of in-app purchases for extra recording time. On Apple, Covert Alert has received over a thousand positive reviews. While not intended specifically for members of the trans community, it is certainly useful to them, as they are no strangers to getting caught in dangerous situations.
Similar to Covert Alert, users create a circle of 6 trusted friends, who will then receive alerts any time the user is worried for their safety. With just two taps to activate the system, the circle of friends starts receiving text messages with updates on the users’ exact location. Should a difficult situation arise, a “come and get me” message is sent out showing the user’s precise location with GPS.
The app also provides a way for people to get out of awkward dates. With a discreet tap on the phone, someone from the circle of friends calls up the user and gives them an excuse to abruptly leave without the need for confrontation. The app also grants users access to 24-hour national and local hotlines, along with online sexual health resources such as Scarleteen.com.
The app is free, and while initially intended to prevent sexual violence on college campuses, it’s handy for people of all ages, sexualities, and gender identities.
Like the previous two apps, users create security networks who will receive SOS alarms when they’re in trouble. Activated by speech or by pressing a button, contacts in the security networks can track the user’s location at any given moment. Emergency videos are automatically recorded and streamed, and networks can receive requests to call the user as an excuse to interrupt an awkward situation.
With a 3.8 rating out of over 8,000 reviews on Android, and a 3.6 rating on Apple, clearly this safety app has been highly praised but also criticized. It claims to be free, but many feel the desired features are only available on the paid plans, which are about 8 dollars a month to 70 dollars a year. A useful tool for anyone fearing for their safety, trans people may find it valuable.
Designed for “transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals,” with a simple tap, the app provides information about establishments near the user’s location with trans-friendly restrooms. The developers drew their initial lists of places (in the thousands) with safe gender-neutral restrooms from a Safe2Pee database, but now users are making sure to keep it updated.
The free app has received hundreds of positive reviews on both Android and Apple, confirming that the developers have made headway in overcoming one of the greatest obstacles to transgender rights: allowing trans people to lead their lives normally. Something as simple as using a public restroom, is finally accessible.
Gender Transition Apps
Much is left to be done to create apps suiting trans people’s transition goals, but some apps offer useful tools that help.
While one’s gender identity doesn’t depend on taking any specific steps, there are many who wish to undergo a gender transition. This can range from gender confirmation surgery or light alterations to one’s physical appearance, to hormone replacement therapy, changes to one’s name and pronoun in legal documents, and much more.
It depends on the individual. Some feel the need to undergo many changes, while others may not make any. Here are some of the apps out there used by trans people wishing to meet specific gender transition goals.
A digital tool suiting anyone from speech therapists, actors and singers, to members of the trans community, the app helps users change the sound of their voice, which entails analyzing and modifying their pitch and volume.
It’s considered one of the best medical apps out there, with a 4.7 out of 5 rating out of hundreds of reviews on Apple. At only 10 dollars, trans people wishing to change the sound of their voice to more closely align with their gender, have a powerful tool at their disposal to make this happen.
In order to further align themselves with their gender identity, trans people sometimes undergo hormone replacement therapy. Few apps are designed to aid trans people during treatment, but Trans Memo offers a useful tool.
The free app helps anyone from the transgender spectrum, including the genderqueer and genderfluid, to monitor their hormone intake. Users receive reminders for how much they’re supposed to take and how often.
Out of 238 reviews on Google Play, the app has a 4.1 rating, which means most users are content, but some users do complain about buggy issues related to the notification settings.
Binders help people appear to have a flatter chest, by binding their breasts. They’re useful for transgender men and many others.
For those who use binders, the app helps minimize how often they use them. When worn for long periods of time, binders can be dangerous. The free app reminds users to set timers in the morning, before they put the binder on, so they can then be reminded to take it off and stretch every so often throughout the day.
The Future of Apps for Trans People
If there’s one takeaway after this exploration of beneficial apps for the trans community, it’s that we’ve made headway embracing the full spectrum of human sexuality and gender. But we still have a long way to go. Much of the world refuses to acknowledge that the traditional binary categories of gender are simplistic and discriminatory.
We’ve seen that when it comes to dating apps, progress has been made to account for the trans community. New apps such as Fiori don’t just accommodate transgender people, they make their safety and comfort the app’s priority. At the same time, the developers want cisgender allies, along with the entire LGBTQ+ community, to join and help create a thriving community of diverse genders and sexualities.
Mental health apps like Pride Counselling, offer expertise relevant to the trans community’s experience, but clearly there is room for improvement. Safety apps used by any gender provide value to the trans community as well. As far as the future of apps for gender transition therapy is concerned, right now, the current ones existing only monitor hormone intake or help people change their voice. Luckily, there are those in the making, such as Transcapsule and Solace, which promise a more complete platform for transition management.
We can be sure then that the future for a greater variety of effective apps meant specifically for the trans community, is going to be much better than anything we’ve seen so far.