One mission is at the heart of everything SPACES does: building a world where LGBTQ+ people feel they have safe spaces to be their most authentic selves. The platform Hornet Networks is building with SPACES is a place where every slice of the LGBTQ+ spectrum can share their experiences and connect with a community that understands and validates their life.
Those life-affirming connections between users are key to what we’re building, but they can only happen in truly safe environments.
The heteronormative social media platforms have officially abdicated their duties to protect queer people — 84% of LGBTQ adults feel mainstream social platforms aren’t doing enough to keep them safe, and 66% of LGBTQ people have experienced harassment online — and, to be perfectly honest, that’s unacceptable.
With SPACES we are building the safest social platform in existence for LGBTQ+ people, but don’t take our word for it. Here’s what five SPACES Hosts have to say about the current state of social media and what our platform offers them:
“Representation is vital to spread a positive message and be supportive towards those in need. How can we do so when social media is constantly obscuring news about our community? As an event organiser and active member of the LGBTQIA+ family, I have had my posts removed when sharing queer people simply kissing without any nudity involved.
“Denying visibility for simply existing and spreading a loving message makes queer people feel unsafe online. Even worse, queer people are victims of major bullying online, which is not regulated at all by social media. Words like ‘gay’ and ‘LGBT’ are being flagged, whilst harmful and harassing words aren’t. I still cannot get my head around this.
“SPACES offers a place in which the community can express and be themselves, as well as meet other like-minded people. Most importantly, they can do it in an environment in which they know that who they are will be respected. SPACES has taught me how essential it is for online places like this to exist. Queer people from London who perhaps have just moved to the city and don’t know many people have joined my Space and made new friends. Seeing these connections happening both in URL and then in IRL makes our group The Queer London Network so important and even more special.”
“One of the absolutely wonderful things about the internet and social media is that it’s provided an opportunity for queer folks to find each other — people who were once isolated, living in rural places, or afraid to take the first step in going to a physical space suddenly have access to a broad, beautiful community of people who can relate to thoughts they’re thinking and feelings they’re feeling.
“The unfortunate flipside of this, though, is that people with ‘phobias’ (well, that’s putting it kindly — what I should say is ‘people with hatred’) have also been able to find each other. These people now feel emboldened to say outwardly hateful things all across social media, sometimes even going out of their way to find content or comments from queer people and threaten or intimidate them.
“This bullying, which often goes unchallenged by the big platforms, is, at best, draining, and, at worst, sincerely damaging to the emotional wellbeing of the queer people using these channels.
“When people talk about the value of queer physical spaces they often talk about how they provide freedom to be oneself; to fully embody who they are, and not feel the need to dim their light for fear of being targeted or singled out by those around them.
“SPACES has provided me with this same freedom. I don’t have to overthink what I am putting out in the world because I know I am in a safe space. I don’t have to look over my shoulder or triple-check what I’m writing for fear it will be pounced upon. This is hugely liberating.
“I love the sheer diversity of conversations that I’m having on the app. Having different designated Spaces means that I can easily find groups of people to chat to about comics, veganism, working out, and lost queer spaces!”
“I think social media is extremely hostile towards queer people today, especially towards trans and non-binary people, and that social media platforms don’t particularly care about queer people and their safety. Overall it can be extremely unsafe, especially when homophobic and transphobic people dogpile on queer people, which often leads to extremes like doxxing and death threats.
“SPACES can help solve a lot of the hostility by creating a safe environment for queer people to discuss interests in a safe space. It’s already been helping reach queer people with similar interests in topics that have been more hostile on other platforms, like with DC Comics or the MCU. It’s amazing being able to talk about queer characters without worrying that the wrong person will see your tweet or message and start harassing you.
“I’ve really enjoyed using SPACES. It really feels like a safe space for the queer community to connect. I think since SPACES is a queer app by queer people, it allows for better moderation compared to other social media platforms.
“I feel like the current landscape for LGBTQ+ people on social media is split in half: We’re safe in the sense that we can express ourselves as freely as we choose and in whatever way, shape or form we desire, but at the same time that also comes with judgment, ridicule, and hatred from ignorant, closed-minded people. I feel like social media today doesn’t take these offenses as seriously as it should and could.
“SPACES is bringing more like-minded queer people together on a platform where we can discuss, talk and just enjoy each others’ company on the things we love. It gives us an opportunity to show parts of ourselves we don’t typically show — even in our own LGBTQ+ communities if what we love isn’t popular among the broader community. This makes me and I’m sure others in the app feel comfortable and safe.
“As soon as I joined the app and started to navigate my way around, I felt how unique and different SPACES is compared to other platforms. SPACES literally feels like it was made for me, focusing on community, my own interests and interacting and communicating with others to geek out and get nerdy but not feel like we’re being ‘too much.’”
“Recently, hostility against LGBTQ+ people from sociopolitical Christo-fascists have escalated across the country. They are using legislation to ban the existence of queer and trans people from public spaces and remove children from families. It’s a dangerous landscape on social media, because anyone can become a target of doxxing.
“Safety online is the primary concern. Zero tolerance against harassment and doxxing are the most effective tools. Since SPACES is by design a queer space, I anticipate these issues will be low.”