FOLX Brings Healthcare To The Queer And Trans Community
by Rudy Sanchez on 02/02/2021 | 4 Minute Read
Telemedicine, the practicing of medicine remotely from patients, is still in the early days, seeing inroads in niche fields such as mental health and dentistry. But there are other instances where the nascent platform can provide healthcare, especially to underserved patients like queer and trans folks.
Living outside of a big city makes finding specialists difficult, and visits often require long traveling times. Privacy and safety concerns also loom large, in addition to the discrimination many in the Queer community face. FOLX leverages the advantages of telemedicine to provide healthcare that meets the needs of queer and trans patients. For a brand and visual identity to match its mission, FOLX founder A.G. Breitenstein worked with the agency Red Antler to form an entirely queer design team, lending authenticity to the company's identity, a critical component when it comes to health providers.
FOLX focuses on providing health services such as hormone therapy, PrEP, STI testing, erectile dysfunction treatment, skincare, and hair loss, specifically serving the LGBTQIA+ community. Available today in 11 states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington—FOLX is also launching a knowledge library as a free online resource for all things queer and trans health, written by FOLX clinicians, team members, and the community, answering questions and addressing concerns on an array of topics like what to expect from hormone replacement therapy or even helpful tips on how to negotiate the health care system.
Everything ships to their customers discreetly, and they have unlimited access to the brand’s experienced clinicians. Better still, according to the company, it all comes without “the judgment” or “having to explain yourself.”
“For everyone at FOLX, this is more than just a company. It's a very personal topic that has come from experiencing years of discrimination and discomfort in healthcare,” explains A.G. Breitenstein, founder and CEO of FOLX.
“I felt that it was a necessity to work with a design team that also understood that and was able to bring that to the core of every [part of] FOLX’s design,” Breitenstein adds. “I wanted to create something that wasn’t just about healthcare, but a brand that was sexy and embodied what it feels like to live and love freely. By working with a queer-led team at Red Antler, we were able to speak openly about what we could accomplish and what we needed to do that.”
“FOLX is such an inspiring business. I’m sure anyone would have done amazing work for them, but because we had a personal understanding of the FOLX audience and what they are looking for, we were able to be bold and brave with the branding in a way that maybe others wouldn’t have. It made the whole experience more special,” said Emily Heyward, co-founder and chief brand officer at Red Antler.
The design team understood in a more profound sense all the inherent biases that exist all around us, heteronormative elements placed in plain sight by designers with a narrower vantage point.
“In order to define examples of how design is inherently exclusive or hostile to LGBTQ people, we have to recognize that all design is created by people, and people make design decisions that tend to reinforce the hierarchies of bodies intentionally or unintentionally,” says Theo Swanson, brand designer at Red Antler, referring to the author and activist Sonya Renee Taylor, adding, “when a fashion company designs a website that ascribes gender to their clothes and reinforces the gender binary, that is a design decision. When a major media outlet does not put the headline that 44 trans people were killed in 2020 on the front page of their newspaper, that is a design decision.”
Inspired by the brand’s mission and armed with a personal understanding of the unique needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, the Red Antler design team gave FOLX an inherently inclusive and proudly queer brand identity.
“We internally nicknamed the ‘x’ at the end of FOLX an ampersex. It’s meant to be a stand-in for whatever you want it to be a stand-in for—anything can go there. It provides the opportunity for inclusion and evolution. Queer people are constantly evolving language to be more inclusive and representative. We wanted the brand identity to have the same expansiveness,” Swanson said.
“The color palette is inspired by all of the flags and colors that make up the queer community and also serves as a contemporary expansion on the more typical, mainstream rainbow colors. It feels flashy and expressive, but also ownable and trustworthy in order to support the brand’s underlying medical offering,” Theo says.
As the traditional models of healthcare continue to get disrupted in the US, FOLX is providing a new standard for the LGBTQIA+ community, one that can genuinely improve our existing system and do so with an awful lot less hassle.