From they2ze: An Interview with Community Advisory Board Member Tapakorn Prasertsith

You may have recently heard of our newest YTH tech innovation, they2ze–an app specifically designed for transgender spectrum identifying youth–but now we’re introducing you to the people who were involved with the early stages of development for they2ze.  We believe in involving youth in all of our projects, every step of the way, so when it comes to designing youth-centered innovations in health, our main focus is you! That’s why we created a community advisory board (CAB) for the app;  to help design, test, and evaluate the prototype themselves.

In this interview with Tapakorn Prasertsith we’ll be giving you an up close and personal chance to get to know one of our they2ze CAB members. Tapakorn (pronouns they / them / theirs) runs the PrEP program at the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (API Wellness), where they work predominantly with young queer people of color and transwomen on access, navigation, education, and advocacy. As a computer science graduate of UCSD, they moved to San Francisco to pursue the Silicon Valley dream, until they found a new dream in public health.

We spoke to Tapakorn about their involvement, their favorite feature of the app, how it can improve access to services and providers, and the advice they’d give to someone who doesn’t’ have access to inclusive services.

YTH: How did you first learn about they2ze? What compelled you to join the CAB?   

TAPAKORN: I learned about they2ze from working on a previous YTH project, PrEPTECH. I love the ideas and motivations for these projects, so I wanted to help in any way I could by joining the CAB.

YTH: In a few words, please describe your favorite functionality of the app and/or your favorite experience of the app thus far.     

TAPAKORN: User reviews and tag-filtering. Countless times I’ve gone to a space I was told could help me with something, say provide support groups for queer youth, and I’d show up and the groups would be out of my price range, not meant for youth, would require insurance, or something else unexpected. There’s a specificity in these care locations on the apps and now that I’m intimately familiar with many of them, can attest to the accuracy of their tags.

YTH: How would you explain they2ze to your primary care provider and/or doctor? In what ways do you think an app like they2ze can improve overall access to services and providers?  

TAPAKORN: I would explain it as a local resource app for trans folk. With providers also participating, it ensures the app is robust and full of real and accurate data.

YTH: There are many people who are unfamiliar with the experiences of transgender-spectrum identifying youth and their challenges in accessing appropriate health care. Think of your own personal experience, and tell us how having a tool like they2ze might have changed your personal journey on the transgender spectrum? 

TAPAKORN: Nowadays, when we’re too tired to explain things to others, we say “Google it.” Which, isn’t the nicest thing, but it’s real!

We can’t always be educators; I would’ve loved to have a tool like this back in the day to just say “hey, just look through this,” for others to educate themselves about gender.

YTH: What advice and encouragement would you give to someone that doesn’t have access to inclusive resources like this?

TAPAKORN: I’d say you’re not alone, and there’s always a way to find what you’re looking for!

Thanks for your endless work, dedication, and work for the community, Tapakorn!

Before you go, make sure to download they2ze to see the great resources, community, and services for yourself. You can find the app for both Android and iOS devices, in the Google Play and App Stores.

 

Have further questions about trans* spectrum youth? See our primer on pronouns. Want to know more about designing with youth? Chat with our program staff, Molly Pilloton, Program Officer of Youth Innovation and co-author of the national report TECHsex, and sign up for our newsletter for more youth-centered health design thinking and tips.