One of my favorite parts of being on the Google.org team is working with organizations that are advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world. There are truly inspiring people in our community doing important advocacy work, and it's an immense privilege to be able to provide support to them.
This Trans Awareness Week, we wanted to spotlight two organizations working to uplift trans folks: TransTech Social, an incubator for LGBTQ+ talent which received grant funding from Google.org, and trans-owned clothing brand Life on Mars that has grown by using Google’s online tools.
Supporting trans people in tech
When the pandemic hit, Nikita Washington knew it was time for a change. She left her job in education to pursue a career in tech, and soon discovered that user experience design allowed her to combine her love of both creativity and analytics. There was a problem, though: Nikita quickly realized she was often the only queer person of color in the room. She found herself craving the support and community of other trans people working in tech.
That’s where TransTech Social came in. It’s an organization working to increase the representation of trans people in tech through training, an annual summit and an online community. “Attending the TransTech Summit revealed my purpose, which is to live in my authenticity as a Black trans woman,” Nikita says. “It was so empowering for me to see such a large representation of trans folks of all ethnicities and backgrounds thriving in tech.” From that point on, Nikita started to participate in TransTech’s online community and training, and now sits on their community advisory board.
Since successfully applying to a recent Google.org Impact Challenge, TransTech has received $350,000 in grant funding and participated in an accelerator to help with organizational capacity building. This has helped them launch their GROW Program, which combines a structured training program with one-on-one mentorship to help trans people create and achieve personal and professional objectives. GROW is now on a path to equip 1,000 trans people with the skills and tools they need to enter the job market within the next three years.
Helping trans small business owners succeed online
Mars Wright, a trans artist and activist, is the founder and CEO of clothing brand Life on Mars. When Mars first moved to Los Angeles, he was disappointed by how often job interviews seemed to focus on his gender identity as a trans man rather than recognizing his artistic talents. This is what motivated Mars to use his YouTube channel to talk about trans visibility and acceptance, building a community rallying behind the idea that "trans joy is resistance." In 2020, he decided to start his own business online with just one product — which sold out in less than an hour.
Since then, his online following has converted to loyal customers helping him spread trans joy. With the help of tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads, Mars has been able to reach even more customers and grow sales: “Being a small business owner can be tough, but Google’s tools give us confidence,” Mars says. “Having so many digital tools and being able to reach an international audience, I’m able to have a personal experience with these customers.”
Through dedication to his authentic style and a commitment to collaborating with his customers, Mars transformed his passion and creativity into a thriving business.