New app helps users find transgender-friendly businesses, places around Spokane

A Spokane software developer has created an app specifically for transgender people living in Spokane.

‘Spokane Trans Map’ is designed to show users the places and businesses that are trans-friendly, and those that aren’t according to submitted reviews.

“The anxiety in terms of going out and about and being openly transgender is rampant because you never know who is going to take an ugly look at you or even provoke something or go a step further,” said Robbi Anthony, who designed the app.

Anthony said she’s had her share of bad and humiliating experiences in downtown Spokane.

“Some businesses were not willing to serve me, and they were not treating me well.”

Four years ago, the software developer made a website to map out the good and the bad.

“Since our founding, we’ve had about 4,000 unique users,” Anthony said. “It’s been a pretty big success on one metric, it’s sad that it has to exist but people are certainly using it.”

Anthony turned her website into a free app which launched a week ago. It shows where trans people have had positive and negative experiences — anywhere from hair salons to bars, restaurants, even churches.

“Having some sort of resource that does that navigation for us relieves a lot of stress and harmful situations that can occur,” said app user June Sanders.

Businesses can reach out on the app to verify that they are trans-friendly. Locations marked as unfriendly can appeal the rating, Anthony said.

The app also lets users know if a business has a single occupancy restroom. Anthony said if they won’t be marked unfriendly if they don’t, it’s simply another tool for users.

Roughly 100 businesses in the Spokane area have been logged on the app. Anthony hopes the map will inspire app developers in other cities.