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Jasmine Morrell - Spirited Tattooing Coalition

“As a trans person it’s hard enough to be in your own body sometimes… but it’s important to feel like you own your body.”

On November 14, 2016 Google unveiled its #transvoices campaign in conjunction with Transgender Awareness Week.

At the heart of the campaign: three short films, linked directly from the Google homepage, each a profile of a transgender leader or business owner. Together, they represent the culmination of a collaborative effort between Lonelyleap, Xpedition Media, Google, and transgender filmmakers Rhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker.

Lonelyleap’s work on Google’s #transvoices campaign involved several weeks of intensive casting research - beginning with a thorough examination of transgender issues and history. Working amidst the swirling controversy of several American states passing transphobic bathroom access laws, we were keenly aware that transgender people are one of the most misunderstood and persecuted demographics in America.

Jasmine Morrell - Spirited Tattooing Coalition

“I am genderqueer and trans and a person of colour, and I was treated differently.”

Jasmine Morrell

We were thrilled to partner with director Rhys Ernst and consulting producer Zackary Drucker. Rhys and Zackary are fast gaining recognition as artists and activists, evidenced by the success of Transparent, the award-winning Amazon Original series for which they are both producers. Their knowledge of the complexities of the trans experience, as well as their previous work on trans equality and history were an invaluable resource throughout casting, shooting and editing the films.

Throughout the casting process we worked closely with Zackary, Rhys, Xpedition Media and the Google Global SMB Marketing Team. Over several weeks, our research team scoured the US to gather the names of transgender individuals who have found success through entrepreneurship. We conducted rounds of interviews with potential candidates and heard dozens of personal stories of transformation and triumph. We sought stories that struck a balance between emotional content, success in business or activism and a clear case for how Google tools had been crucial to their organization’s growth.

The team selected three individuals to be featured: Evan Young, president of the Transgender American Veterans Association, Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, and Jasmine Morrell, owner of Spirited Tattooing Coalition.

Mara Keisling - National Centre for Transgender Equality

“I think the most important work that’s still being done is getting people to understand we’re just folks.”

Filming took place over the course of three weeks of intensive shooting and travel. When bringing on local crew in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Georgia and Arkansas, we made a conscious effort to encourage LGBT people to apply. Before shooting began, the entire crew was given an informal briefing on correct pronoun use. Keeping in mind that our films’ top priority was the advancement of transgender rights worldwide, everyone on set received information about the particular issues in each film, as well as the greater issues at stake for our project.

Mara Keisling

Evan Young - President of Transgender American Veterans Association

“I am a dad, I am a veteran, I am so many more things than just being transgender.”

Evan Young

Our team was truly honored and humbled to have been entrusted with telling the crucial stories behind the #transvoices campaign, and we’re hopeful that the resulting films will help promote transgender rights in the United States and around the world.


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