Hack4Equality LGBTQ Online-Only (Global) Hackathon
*** Prizes will be updated periodically. ***
** Register for this Online-Only hackathon if your team WILL NOT be physically present to demo in-person at the Science Fair Demo Day @ Grindr HQ in Los Angeles on Sep 25. **
* Live Demo (Los Angeles) teams register here: hack4equality2016-livedemo.devpost.com *
Hack4Equality brings together the global technology community to combat LGBTQ inequalities. Our seven-week hackathon is based in Los Angeles, but we're inviting the world to participate. Let's work together to spark change for millions around the world.
We want your brilliant minds to craft technology-based solutions to critical issues affecting the global LGBTQ community in the four challenge sets below. Important to keep in mind is Grindr's commitment to the cause and willingness to help: where appropriate, projects may benefit greatly from leveraging their tremendous reach and scale.
Homelessness isn’t just sleeping on the street or in public parks; it’s couch-surfing, moving from shelter to shelter, living in a car, trading sex for places to sleep, or, finding temporary housing a few days at a time. LGBTQ homelessness in the U.S. is at epidemic levels, accounting for 40% of those living without permanent, safe shelter. One in five transgender people experience homelessness in their lifetime. And this is not just a concern for the United States; in the United Kingdom an estimated one in four homeless people are LGBTQ, who also make up 25-32% of Australia’s homeless population on any given night.
- Finding safe and affordable housing, accessible restrooms, showers, electrical outlets and sources of food are critical for people experiencing homelessness. For LGBTQ people, that becomes more difficult; many service providers are not trained on LGBTQ needs, while some agencies are outright hostile. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that nearly 30% of respondents were denied access to shelter simply because of their gender identity
- Social safety net programs like food stamps, shelters, career training, and other emergency relief can be difficult to navigate and access for a number of reasons. Many agencies work in silos, with limited synergy and shared communication. Services are housed at various levels of government (municipal, county, state, federal), as well as non-profit and charity organizations with little cohesion in their offerings.
- While most people who experience homelessness use their handheld device as a lifeline, many have limited access to data networks and WiFi to be able to access the information and resources they desperately need, often relying on SMS-based options.
Trans Visibility and Economic Empowerment
Lack of legal gender recognition and pervasive discrimination has led to one in four transgender people in the U.S. living on less than $10,000 a year. One in four will also lose a job for simply being transgender. Globally, transgender people experience dramatically increased rates of persecution and violence. Only a handful of countries in the world base identification document/legal gender recognition on the self determination of trans people; Argentina, Colombia, India, Denmark and Malta.
- High rates of discrimination in the workplace and in schools continue to perpetuate unemployment and underemployment within the transgender community. There are few resources for the transgender community to find trans-friendly employers and services, or report harassment and prejudice or overall trans-friendliness of an employer to the community (in lieu of legal protections).
- Locally, there is confusion about the laws and policies that govern identification documents and legal gender recognition across countries and even regions within a county. In some places, different policies may apply to different identification documents. For example, changing the gender marker on a US passport, a driver’s license in New York City, and a birth certificate from New Jersey have different protocols and requirements.
- People who are transgender may require specialized, culturally-sensitive services across many areas be it healthcare (including pharmacists and mental health), legal services, employment services and more. Access to these services is crucial, as is their proliferation.
International LGBTQ Issues
There are seventy-six countries in the world where being LGBTQ is illegal; in ten of those, it is even punishable by death. LGBTQ people who face persecution are often forced to flee their hometown and even their country. In 2016 alone, 2,115 anti-trans murders have already been documented across sixty-five countries. While rights for LGBTQ people are becoming more prevalent, a recent poll found that 68% of global respondents would be upset if their child told them that they were in love with someone of the same sex.
- LGBTQ refugees being resettled in a new country often don’t know where to find safe spaces or direct services (e.g. legal, health, mental health) that are both LGBTQ-friendly and culturally competent to operate in their primary language and engage with individuals from their country of origin.
- Global travel and migration can create precarious situations for LGBTQ people. Cultural insensitivities and oppressive laws in foreign countries are often not fully understood by, or accessible to, those travel from one country to another (or even between regions in the same country).
- LGBTQ people around the world experience discrimination every day, and even though they may live in a country where there is no legal recourse, these stories can be powerful tools for advocates working to drive change. There is currently no easy way to connect these individuals and groups at scale, and with encryption/safety mechanisms where necessary.
Access to Sexual Health Services and PrEP
At the beginning of 2015, there were nearly thirty-seven million people living with HIV in the world. Gay and bisexual men as well as transgender people are among the hardest hit by this global epidemic. While AIDS-related deaths worldwide are decreasing, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia have guaranteed that not everyone is benefiting from our newest tools in this fight. For example, in the U.S., Grindr for Equality’s 2015 PrEP survey revealed that Latino users are ten percent less likely than any other racial group to be on the medication. Black users were twice as likely to have been turned down for a prescription than their racial counterparts. Similarly, for those who are HIV-positive, there is mounting evidence that people with an undetectable viral load have a negligible risk of passing the virus to their partners, but access to treatment to suppress the virus remains out of reach for many around the world. In the United States, 70% of those who are HIV-positive have not yet reached a state of being undetectable.
- Stigma plays an undeniable role in sexual health. It creates barriers to testing, keeps people from self-reporting their status, and often prevents individuals from accessing accurate health information. Digital tools across the spectrum of sexual health services that offer privacy and anonymity are much needed domestically and globally.
- PrEP is a daily pill that prevents HIV, one of the most effective tools to date in the fight against the epidemic. That said, it is still only approved for use in a handful of countries and even where it is
approved, it may not be accessible to LGBTQ people of all social classes where there may be an unwillingness to prescribe, and a lack of education among primary care physicians.
- In some parts of the world, HIV testing facilities operate under the radar from local governments and authorities; should they garner any attention, they can be shut down. This results in less access to information and less awareness about available services among the constituency they serve. This challenge is also found with other health and service providers who cater to LGBTQ needs (lawyers, health care professionals etc).
- Sexual health services are often provided by small groups, non-profits and charities who do not benefit from scale; that is, they don’t enjoy the same access to information and resources as large sized organizations. The opportunities for shared resourcing and community access (think A/B message testing, surveys etc) are endless.
Hack4Equality has access to an enormous pool of open data and Opportunity Project resources such as data.lacity.org, geohub.lacity.org, data.weho.org, and Esri's ArcGIS. Also, for the first time ever, Grindr is making available an exclusive set of anonymized user data.
Hack4Equality Info Panel and Workshop Videos
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$4,750 in prizes
$3500 Online-Only Winner
$1250 Best integration with Grindr
Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:
- submit a ZIP file with your work
- include a link to your protoype demo if available
- include a detailed project description and screenshots/video if available - anything that will help our judges make their decision!
- make sure all members of your team are registered on both hack4equality2016.eventbrite.com and Devpost and are all credited as part of the team in your Devpost submission
- list the technologies, APIs, platforms, and libraries you used to give judges a better understanding of the technical depth and complexity of your project
How to enter
Each individual participant on a team must be registered on Devpost (this site) as well as at hack4equality2016.eventbrite.com. This means everyone on your team must be registered on both sites!
1) Have EVERY person on your team go to hack4equality2016-onlineonly.devpost.com and click "Register for this hackathon." (It will require you create Devpost accounts, which is a quick process if you haven't yet done it.)
FYI, If you need a teammate, visit the Participants page to meet fellow hackers. Don't forget to introduce yourself!
2) One person from each team will Enter a Submission (which is a button you'll see on the hackathon homepage after you Register). Toward the bottom of the submission form, you'll be asked to add your teammates' email addresses. Make sure you enter the same email addresses your teammates used to create their Devpost accounts.
3) Start early by entering what info you can on the submission form, and then save it as a draft. That way you won't be rushed toward the end. You'll be able to keep updating it until the deadline!
People & Culture / Grindr
How will this improve the lives of your beneficiaries?
How easily does this fit into people's lives; is it adoptable?
Creativity & Technical Innovation
How cool is this project?
How well put-together is the project; the team?