chapter  1
11 Pages

Data, Technology, and Gender

Thinking About (and From) Trans Lives
WithAnna Lauren Hoffmann

For scholars and students interested in topics of gender identity, data, and information technology, the current historical moment is a curious one. The proliferation of personal computing devices—from laptops to mobile phones to “smart” watches—combined with widespread internet access, means that people are producing unprecedented amounts of digital data, leading some scholars and technology evangelists to declare a “big data” revolution. At the same time, issues of sexism and gender inequality have taken on new urgency as women face increasing levels of harassment online, especially on large social networking sites like Twitter. The blame for this falls, in part, on platform owners and developers that fail to thoroughly consider role of design in promoting safety for the most vulnerable users. Finally, the emergence of high-profile transgender activists, performers, and celebrities—from Laverne Cox to Caitlyn Jenner—has brought attention to a minority population of trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people and communities that have been (until now, at least) largely overlooked, often to the detriment of the health and safety of these populations.