Introducing a place where queer people can be themselves while chatting among groups sharing their interests
Los Angeles, Calif., March 1, 2022 — Hornet, the world’s queer tech platform with more than 35 million users, today announces the release of Spaces Version 1.0. Spaces enables queer people to build communities around shared passions. Hornet has always been about providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people. Now Spaces takes a bold step closer to that goal by enabling queer users to find — and build — communities around the culture, entertainment, events and interests they share in common.
While LGBTQ people feel a strong affinity for members of their community, they do not always share the same interests. SPACES reflects that diversity and increasing intersectionality.
At its core, SPACES is built around group chat — fun, engaging and free-flowing conversations with like-minded humans. Each Space on the app is a micro-community for a specific slice of the LGBTQ+ community — from gaymers, runners and gay parenting groups to queer Star Wars fans and yoga practitioners. SPACES makes discovery easy, so new users can readily find and join the communities that matter to them, and quickly connect with other queer people who share their interests. The group chat includes announcement posts and the ability to schedule online and offline events. Spaces, events and posts can be made public for greater discoverability or private for invitees only.
But SPACES isn’t just about joining pre-existing communities. Rather, the platform is built specifically to empower SPACES Hosts — everyday people turned into super-users by the powerful community tools loaded into the platform. With only a few clicks, Hosts can not just create a Space for their own passions but also reach sizeable queer audiences to join them. Hosts are empowered to lay out the ground rules for governing and moderating their space.
“SPACES is a place where we can safely gather as a group and band together to resist the stigma we’re facing in a heteronormative world, and even from within parts of the queer community. For us looking to bulk up, it’s great to be able to connect to so many like-minded peers who encourage each other to make progress, and to exchange everyday advice ranging from routines and nutrition to our workout playlists.” —Shon Washington, host of Bulk Products
SPACES’ robust moderation tools are built specifically for the queer community — protecting users by keeping trolls and would-be harassers at bay — one of many priorities on which heteronormative platforms fall dangerously short. Indeed, many community organizers feel their attempts to reach queer audiences on platforms like Facebook are hindered due to inherently discriminatory algorithms, heteronormative moderation standards and selective enforcement on imagery — content that would easily pass heteronormative moderation but is censored away in the context of their queer identities.
“I’m so excited to be able to connect with my fellow LGBTQ+ siblings over Star Wars in a safe, peaceful and fun platform over on SPACES. Homophobia, bigotry and general toxicity have become far too common on other platforms, but on Spaces us queer people can feel free to discuss just how gay Star Wars is in a really authentic way without fear or worry of what harassment may come.” —Bryan Barry, host of Pink Milk
According to GLAAD’s first-ever Social Media Safety Index published in May 2021, 64% of LGBTQ Americans were subject to online harassment and discrimination on heteronormative social networks such as Facebook. As a result, 88% of queer people prefer to spend all or most of their free time pursuing their common interests and passions in queer-run communities. SPACES facilitates this ground-up community building at scale using technology as a force for good.
“Absorbing all the learnings from Hornet’s 10 years serving the LGBTQ+ community, we saw a clear gap in the market for a product focused around community engagement rather than individual profiles,” says Christof Wittig, founder and CEO of Hornet. “Each of our users already sends 30 chat messages per day, so we know this is a format users prefer. Now we’re extending chat to empower our users to organize with other queer people around common passions and interests, while doubling down on our commitment to the safety and authenticity of queer people that has made us so successful.”
“As our team of 100+ cyclists ramps up fundraising and training rides ahead of the 2022 AIDS/LifeCycle, we knew we needed an easy and effective way to communicate with each other, and SPACES was the perfect platform for our needs. Not only can we use SPACES to help share updates with the team, we can also use the app’s events functionality to schedule training rides and meetups and even share team photos among the group.” —Carleen Fernandez, co-team captain of the Funky Monkeys and host of The Funky Monkeys – ALC 2022
“Hornet wants to create a world where there are safe spaces for queer people to be themselves,” says Doug Atkin, adviser to Hornet and former head of community at AirBnB and Meetup.com. “The launch of Spaces is a huge step in making this big goal a reality. People tend to feel they can be themselves when they are around others who share their values, interests and passions. Not only will queer folk be amongst other queer folk on Spaces, but they will be able to find those who also share their passions and interests. I’m proud to be part of this launch of Spaces. It will provide safe spaces for queer people to form communities without fear of marginalization, or abuse that’s all too common on mainstream social networks.”