As Pride Month comes to a close and we watch corporate rainbow logos fade, the need for safe communities for LGBTQ+ people remains consistent year round. The explosively accelerating growth of Hornet’s brand-new SPACES app as the first and only online platform for the entire LGBTQ+ spectrum to safely and authentically build communities and connect over shared interest shows this need beyond doubt.

A look at the exponential growth of “Hot Spaces” in the app since launch

SPACES is seeing great traction among the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community since its March 1 launch, and is on track to surpass 100,000 DAUs (Daily Active Users) in the coming months. This makes SPACES the first and only app not only calling itself an LGBTQ+ app, but unlike the first generation of queer apps — either predominantly gay or lesbian, and hence at their core basically dating apps — the first and only true LGBTQ+ community online platform.

From GLAAD’s inaugural Social Media Security Index

A majority of LGBTQ Americans (64%) have been subject to increasing online discrimination on heteronormative social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, according to GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index. And now, with over 20% of Gen Z identifying as LGBTQ in the United States, there is a huge gap and need for a dedicated technology company serving this fast-growing, influential, and high earning consumer segment.

“It’s not easy for queer women to find places they feel completely safe — either on social media or in real life — but that’s the beauty of SPACES,” says Fati Rouina, an avid soccer fan who just moved to Los Angeles from Paris. “The Space I host for queer women soccer players is enabling me to find my community online and schedule games and other meetups.”
“Particularly over the last few years, the big social media platforms have become toxic pits of hate and harassment, with the bulk of that harassment being directed to LGBTQ+ people of color,” says Shon Washington, a longtime Twitter user with nearly 50,000 followers there, who currently hosts more than a dozen different communities on SPACES. “So it’s nice to see a new platform far removed from that negativity. I’ve had nothing but positive interactions with other queer people on SPACES, something I didn’t know would even be possible anymore.”
“The Star Wars fandom can be incredibly toxic, especially for queer people, and all the big platforms — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube — don’t seem to have any interest in keeping us safe from hate or trolling,” says Bryan Barry, creator and host of the Pink Milk podcast for queer Star Wars fans, whose same-named Space was one of the very first on the app. “On SPACES I’m able to connect with my fellow LGBTQ+ siblings over Star Wars in a safe, peaceful and fun way.”
Ashlee Marie Preston, instrumental in leading the October 2021 Netflix employee walkout, is a longtime activist for trans and QPOC issues. (Photo: Reuters)

“It’s troubling that mainstream social apps still rely on algorithms to anticipate the need for safety among queer and trans users,” says Ashlee Marie Preston, an American media personality, the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication, and an advisor to Hornet. “Queer folks can’t thrive in environments that deem their expression an anomaly. Spaces is removing those barriers by empowering queer users to grow communities that nurture social autonomy, diverse interests, and authentic engagement.”

On June 26, which commemorated the anniversary of the queer community’s Stonewall Uprising, Apple featured SPACES as the “App of the Day” ahead of the mainstream heteronormative social networks and gay or lesbian-focused queer apps of the first generation. In “What we love,” the Apple team elaborated on their reasons: “The liveliness of the apps’ Spaces, which are basically group text messages connecting people from around the world with common interests; you can ask questions, share photos, and react to posts from other users. Tap members’ names to see their bios, profile pictures, and the Spaces they’ve joined.”