Supernova’s first few months — work in progress report
It’s been a few months since we launched the Supernova Project, a global crowdsourced resource aimed at providing support to LGBTQIA+ people at risk of intimate partner violence. We wanted to give our supporters a low down on what it’s been like and who’s been using our platform.
Since launching we’ve had thousands of visitors to the site but the project is still evolving, and there is plenty of room to grow and improve. In this article, we’ll share the successes of Supernova so far, the feedback we’ve had on the guides (and their limitations) and our plans to grow the Project further.
As a result, in July 2017 we launched our website containing three strands of resources:
- Identifying abuse: providing guides for identifying abuse, each written by and for specific groups within the queer community.
- LGBTQIA+ organisations: We cover dozens of organisations across 36 countries.
- Finally, we provide links to other resources that might be useful to queer people experiencing intimate partner violence — from other Chayn guides to legal information, academic studies and news articles.
The Supernova Project acknowledges the ways that our gender identities and sexualities intersect with how we experience violence, and provides guidance specifically for groups within the queer community. So far, the site has four guides for identifying signs of an abusive relationship, designed for four specific groups: transgender women, transgender men, females in same-sex relationships, and males in same sex relationships.
Who’s visited our site so far?
Since launching, the Supernova site has been visited thousands of times, and the global nature of the project is reflected in its users, who so far have come from:
- North America
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
The feedback so far and our plans for growth
More guides, covering more types of queer relationships
Like all of Chayn’s resources, the Supernova Project was launched with the mindset that the project should continue to grow once live. We’re therefore asking users and members of the queer community to call us out on the current limitations, enabling us to expand the content and guides that we’re offering. Supernova’s project lead, Michelle, explains why we’re calling for this feedback:
“Our dream is to host content for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We aren’t there yet, but we’re off to a pretty good start,” Michelle shared. “We want to encourage visitors of the site to engage with the content and site by submitting suggestions of how we can improve it, telling us their own personal story of abuse, or coming on board as a volunteer to help us grow and improve the platform even more.”
So far, the response to our call for feedback has been great, but it’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Queer relationships are already less visible and less valued, and we don’t want to contribute to that by excluding people’s experiences from our guides.
We know, for example, that there’s a need for a guide for pansexual women in opposite sex relationships, since they are statistically more likely than straight women to experience intimate partner violence. We’re also conscious that non-binary people wouldn’t necessarily feel included in the guides we currently have, so providing resources that address their specific experiences is one of the project’s goals. If you think you could contribute any information, advice or experience, please do tell us via our anonymous form.
Centring experience accounts from survivors
Sharing experiences of queer intimate partner violence gives a platform to perspectives not well documented in mainstream media and resources. For users experiencing intimate partner violence, we hope that hearing personal stories from LGBTQIA+ survivors can be just as useful as our practical guides.
Guides in more languages
At present, Supernova is only available in English, but since we’re a global project, we want our resources to reflect that. Our volunteer translation team is on the case, but they always appreciate help! If you can speak another language fluently, get in touch (this form isn’t anonymous).
A more accessible site
Because it matters to us that anyone who needs our resources can have access to them, we are working on improving the accessibility of our website for people with disabilities — for instance by structuring our content to make it work better with screen readers.
Online privacy and safety are very important to us (in fact, we made a guide about how to protect yourself better in cyberspace). We want Supernova users to feel comfortable and safe, and not put themselves at risk when they’re using our resources, so we’ve added an immediate ‘leave this site’ button throughout the Supernova site.
Reaching more people
Studies globally have found that LGBTQIA+ people are at an increased risk of intimate partner violence, so we believe that many more people could benefit from Supernova’s resources. To spread awareness of the project, we’re focusing on three areas:
Making Supernova Project easier to find
First, we’re working on improving the site’s SEO (search engine optimisation — how easy it is to find us on Google), by publishing regular blog content just like the one you’re reading. As well as discussing our own project in our blogs, we’d like to be able to jump to the keyboard when there’s something happening in the wider conversation about LGBTQIA+ IPV. We’re aware that the conversation is neither big nor loud, and we’d like to use our platform to bring more voices to the table and turn up the volume (and in turn, to amplify ourselves). If you’d like to contribute, get in touch at email@example.com.
Second, we’re leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs across the internet, so that if you’re visiting the website of another LGBTQIA+ or IPV organisation, you’ll hopefully come across a link to the Supernova Project while you’re there. We’re trying hard to make friends. We know our guides are more likely to be featured by relevant organisations when they’re as approachable and comprehensive as they can be, which is another incentive to work on the content of the project.
Galop, a UK-based LGBTQIA+ anti-violence charity, has already featured Supernova among its ‘useful links’. We’re also in the LGBT part of ‘Information & advice’ on the website of Reducing the Risk, a charity developing and delivering services for those affected by domestic abuse in Cambridgeshire, UK. If you know of a place where Supernova’s resources might be useful, please do suggest our website and help us spread our breadcrumbs far and wide.
Getting more coverage
Finally, our PR team is working hard to get Supernova featured in the press. As Supernova’s founder, Maryam Amjad, says:
‘if queer relationships aren’t being talked about, and no one really knows what a queer relationship with people looks like until they’re in one… how do they know they’re in a healthy one?’
We want to gently, delicately, subtly nudge that thought process to the front of people’s minds by popping up in their news apps, in their inboxes, on their social media timelines.
The Supernova Project has been featured in Gaylaxy Magazine and on the Not So Popular blog, and will be in the next issue of Diva magazine. The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) also published a call-out on their website to help us gather new organisations to add to the website. We’re really thankful for all the help we’ve had so far in getting the word out, but we’d still like to reach more people! If you’d like to cover Supernova, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, after two months unleashed in the world, there’s been some good work done, and there’s plenty more to do. We’ll report back soon, but in the meantime, you can stay up to date with Supernova and Chayn’s other projects through our monthly newsletter — subscribe at chayn.co/newsletter.
This blog post was written by Chayn volunteer, Alice Primrose.