People Going Through Transgender Transitions Are Increasingly Turning to Pinterest

The company made its internal gender transition guide public

Since May 2018, there have been four times as many searches for those transitioning from male to female than vice versa Pinterest
Headshot of David Cohen

Searches for “transgender transition” on Pinterest skyrocketed 3,919% since May 2018 after beginning to rise dramatically that month.

Pinterest said in a blog post that the May 2018 spike may have been related to transgender issues and moments that were in the news at that time.

Since that month, there have been four times as many searches for those transitioning from male to female than vice versa, and other trending related searches thus far in 2019 include:

  • MTF (male to female) before and after transgender, up 65%: Pinners are exploring the experiences of other trans people during their transitions.
  • Transgender comic, up 144%: Pinterest said in its blog post, “Comic strips can put a helpful spin on challenging issues and weird situations faced by people exploring gender identity.”
  • Transgender captions, up 621%: These short stories help people going through transitions know that they are not alone.
  • LGBTQ coming-out ideas, up 310%: Pinners share creative ways that they have come out to their loved ones, such as parties.
  • Nonbinary fashion plus-size, up 196%: Fashion ideas that fit in more ways than one for Pinners who don’t identify as male or female.
  • Genderqueer wallpaper, up 79%: Special backgrounds for cell phones enables genderqueer Pinners to send themselves a message every day.

Trans and nonbinary icons trending on Pinterest during the same time period include: Ezra Miller makeup (up 338%), Indya Moore (198%), Andreja Pejić (98%), Ruby Rose (766%) and Sam Smith aesthetic (312%).

Pinterest quoted one of its employees in the blog post: “Among other things, I’ve used Pinterest during my physical transition to explore and visualize my style. How do I see myself and how do I want others to see me? How much do I want to blend in or stand out? Timeless or trendy? Rugged, preppy, minimalistic, edgy or athletic? Sure, I had asked these questions before transitioning, and I had exclusively worn clothes made for guys for going on 10 years, but I started to find that I wanted to ask myself those questions more often because the answers were beyond anything I thought possible before transitioning. Pinterest has been a great source of not just inspiration for what I want to wear, but of self-actualization. It’s helped me see what’s possible for me during a time of immense growth.”

Speaking of Pinterest employees, the company also detailed its inclusion efforts in a separate blog post.

Pinterest noted that it signed a friend of the court brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in July by Freedom for All Americans, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Out & Equal and Out Leadership.

The company added that it rolled out custom gender field options for new users in June 2015, and it scored 100% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.

Pinterest wrote, “Making Pinterest’s employee culture safe and supportive for people who are transitioning is an important part of living our values. We are deeply committed to creating and sustaining a work environment where everyone—regardless of sex, gender or gender identity—feels valued. We approach this commitment through employee resource groups, insurance medical coverage policies that are fully WPATH-compliant (World Professional Association of Transgender Health), paid family leave and, now, a clear process to support employees who are transitioning.”

On that note, Pinterest made its gender transition guide available to the public. The guide includes a roadmap for transitioning employees to follow, along with resources for managers, human resources departments, teams and allies.

A Pinterest employee said in the blog post, “There was no employee transition guide or defined path for transitioning at Pinterest when I told my manager I had started testosterone and would soon start using male pronouns. Yet, every single person I came out to was either cool about it or enthusiastically supportive. Feedback from everyone really amounted to, ‘I’m happy for you and I support you. Go for it!’ From then on, the issues I encountered were solely logistic and not even related to insurance or red tape nightmarish things you might expect (thank you, people ops!). For instance, my old legal name was already auto-saved in everyone’s contacts, and there wasn’t a way to override it. That name also showed up on a desk move list that was sent to a whole lot of people. These are the kinds of things that, well, happen in the world outside of work, too. Some of these issues will persist, but I was happy to work with the inclusion and diversity team on developing the employee transition guide and seeing how far we’ve come as a company in supporting our current and future employees going through or considering a transition. The supportive culture was there. Now, we have something tangible that can evolve with our needs.”

Pinterest concluded, “We’re honored that people who are thinking about their gender identity and expression turn to Pinterest for inspiration. As we build a product focused on exploring interests and planning for the future, we’ll continue making decisions and products that are inclusive for everyone who creates and uses Pinterest around the world.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
Publish date: November 18, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT