There’s many considerations that go into maintaining this site. Despite many “offers” by volunteers and organizations over the last decade, no consistent help has ever materialized. The admin maintains it alone. As a result, the site is structured to run as independently as possible, with ad revenue to pay for its server cost (literally tuned to just cover it), and a moderation system that allows members to police the site themselves for inappropriate content. This works surprsingly well most of the time.
Unfortunately, during the summer of 2022, an article in the most read newspaper on Earth was written about transgender care with a mention of the site by a journalist who did not reach out beforehand. Traffic immediately 10x’d and then 100x’d. Dozens of people contacted the admin: some overwhelmed with relief to find the resource, others absolutely terrified that it was now more widely known.
At the same time, the site admin’s father was dying of cancer. To make matters worse, a famous trans streamer was the focus of a targeted harassment campaign that led, after weeks of intense and dangerous struggle that itself made international news, to the takedown of a significant site that organized and supported attacks on trans people and resources.
So, the article was not great timing, to say the least.
Out of an abundance of caution in that risky climate and lowered ability to attend to the site, the admin chose to take the site down entirely. Was that the right choice? It’s hard to be sure: it meant no access to those who needed it, but also no access to those looking to harm us.
In September the same year, months after the traffic spikes had decreased to nothing, the admin’s father died. The busiest months of the work year followed. Now it’s two months later in December, and after some consideration, the admin has taken the site out of maintenance mode.
Just as taking the site down is a choice that can’t please everyone, bringing it back up is also rightfully controversial. There will never be a 100% risk-free way to present the resources on this site. Even if we switched to removing broad access and began hand-approving every new member to the site, the reality is that someone who identifies as trans today may not in months or years from now, and may not be motivated to protect these resources in the future.
The goal of the site was to maximize access to information about our experiences getting care, and that means a much looser screening process than you’ll find in other private groups. Sharing on this site is an incredibly courageous and generous act that hundreds of trans people have done over many years. Each one of them is potentially sacrificing their privacy so that someone else can benefit. When you use this site, when you share it, when you discuss it in articles, you should ask yourself: have you made a sacrifice to your community equal to that sacrifice? Are you honoring what was done for you?
The admin is still committed to the site, but there is no way to promise it will be up or even should be up forever. It may be that in the years to come, private groups on Facebook or Discord, even with the inevitable data loss that happens as they change over time, is preferable to a site at a fixed address. Time will tell.
If you are able to code and can contribute to feature development, especially in security, please reach out (use our normal contact mechanisms).2022-12-05 23:29:50 -0500
We released a bunch of changes, but we hope you don’t notice some of them!
A lot of the changes are “invisible” ones to keep the site up to date. We upgraded from an older version of Ruby (the programming language most of the site is written in) to a newer version. This was to keep up with security updates with our cloud provider. We also added support for running our development environment using docker, which should make it much easier for volunteers to set up and contribute. Thanks volunteer C for this addition!
We also made a few changes we hope you do notice:
- The “Filter” control is “fixed.” When you add filters, they will persist when navigating back and forth between individual results and the results page. When the site was first designed we saw the Filter as something to run on a single page of results you’d already gotten to from searching. But that’s not how users used it. (Duh! Sorry!) It was a very frustrating experience for users to not have the control persist as they navigated. Now hopefully it works the way you expect!
- Procedure names and Surgeon names have enforced uniqueness controls. We have often seen Procedures get duplicated because users used different cases to describe them. That won’t be possible anymore. Likewise, Surgeons must have a unique first and last name combination to be added. This doesn’t prevent duplication due to misspelling but is a start.
- The comment notification mailer was pointing to the unsecured (http) version of the site. We changed it to secure (https). We also now distinguish between comments and questions so posters know what type of reply they got.
- Captions on images are now allowed to be much longer, which should reduce time out errors. This was thanks to a volunteer contributor, thanks A!2021-04-04 12:03:49 -0400
We were featured on as one of the Top 5 support sites for transgender people! Whoa!
Happy Transgender Day of Visibility to all. Please feel free to Tweet us things you’d like boosted today.2021-03-31 20:16:55 -0400