A new campaign of adverts has launched in Washington DC, with a view to increasing awareness and understanding of the “non gender-conforming” community of the city.

The campaign, the first of its kind in the US, was launched by the Office of Human Rights, in collaboration with the trans advocates, focus groups and LGBT organisations, MetroWeekly reports.

The Office of Human Rights describes the campaign as “the first government-funded campaign focused exclusively on the betterment of transgender and gender non-conforming people.”

Mayor Vincent Gray, addressed the launch event, prior to the official unveiling:

”You can’t imagine how good it feels to do the right thing,” He said, ”and, frankly, the right thing doesn’t always get done.

”We know that an ad campaign is not the cure-all or the panacea, but it is a step in the right direction,” The Mayor said, ”It is saying we are going to step out; we are going to be in the forefront; we are going to send the message that people who are transgender have as much a place in the District of Columbia as anybody else.”

The campaign features two trans women and two trans men, and one person identifying as genderqueer. Each contains personal facts about those featured, with the hope of helping people to identify with the subjects.

Gustavo Velasquez, the director of the Office of Human Rights said: ”We don’t have right now the kind of funding that would allow us to do commercial advertising,”

‘We are utilizing the resources at our disposal that are free or semi-free. We are approaching the Department of Transportation to do some billboards, some space in the transit authority. We are hoping that by partnering with national groups, like GLAAD, that they can help, especially in the area of social media, reach as many people as possible.”

Mr Velasquez said that he had hopes that the campaign would reach many, especially through use of social media. The campaign is using the hashtag #transrespect, and observers are encouraged to share the ads themselves.

He said that he knew the ads might prove controversial to some, but said that he believes they will have a positive impact.