The Supernova Project: Tackling Domestic Abuse in the LGBTQIA+ Community

“Supernovas occur when a large star is coming to the end of its life. Just as it’s nearing its end it explodes and gives birth to what looks like a new and brighter star where they dispel all the material of the old star out into space. This event can also help with the formation of new stars in the future. It is an incredibly important, wonderful and beautiful cosmic event. The word ‘nova’ means new, and this is a creation of something new and beautiful from something which was coming to the end of its life.
This is what the Supernova Project is about. It’s about finding energy again, it’s about being able to identify domestic abuse and be empowered to come out the other end shining brighter than ever…
…It’s also not a complete coincidence that we chose something full of rainbow colours!” — Michelle Parfitt, Supernova Project

Chayn Labs proudly presents the Supernova Project, a global effort using open knowledge to provide resources and support to LGBTQIA+ people experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

Created by and for the LGBTQIA+ community and well-versed allies, the Supernova Project recognises that resources to help survivors of domestic abuse often focus on heteronormative and cisgender relationships, and fail to acknowledge the ways in which our gender identities and sexualities intersect with how we experience violence.

But as Michelle Parfitt argues, domestic abuse is absolutely a queer issue. A National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted in the United States in 2010 found that 45% of gay men experienced “psychological expressive aggression by an intimate partner”, in comparison to 32% of straight men. The survey also found that bisexual women are particularly vulnerable to abuse, with 61.1% reporting experiencing rape, violence or stalking from an intimate partner. Another 2010 survey by the Scottish Transgender Alliance found that 80% of participants reported experiencing emotionally, sexually or physically abusive behaviour from partners, with 73% reporting that the abuse was transphobic.

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We created the Supernova Project to address this imbalance. Despite the lack of research, there are a number of organisations across the globe working to provide support for LGBTQIA+ communities experiencing domestic abuse. The Supernova Project aims to act as a signposting service for both local and global organisations and resources that acknowledge all parts of our identities. We want to empower our communities to stand up to domestic abuse and oppression, and provide information with practical and emotional advice that helps them to make those steps.

The Supernova Project is a voluntary, community led platform, and we aim to create an open, inclusive space to share experiences and advice with each other. We very much encourage our users to contribute their ideas for the website, including suggestions for additional resources or improvements. In particular, we are looking for resources and organisations supporting trans, non-binary and bisexual people and resources looking at the ways in which race, class, disability and migration intersect with LGBTQIA+ experiences of abuse. We also highly encourage the submission of non-english resources.

All of our content is also hosted on a Creative Commons Public Domain license, so please share to your heart’s content.

Finally, the Supernova Project team are always looking for more hands, no matter how experienced. If you’re passionate about supporting survivors of domestic abuse, and can volunteer 4 hours a month, please consider joining our team!