The world’s first community-driven, gender-inclusive queer app — known simply as “Q” — is on its way via a Kickstarter campaign that has raised nearly $15,000.
“When we log on, we’re constantly told to be a man, to have a perfect body, to act or to talk a certain way, to be someone other than who we truly are,” Cervini said. “We deserve better.”
Q, to be released to members only, allows users to choose from 20+ genders. Membership comes with access to the Q Forum, where users can suggest, review, and comment on new features, privacy measures, and community guidelines before they’re made public.
“Q is open to anyone who identifies as queer, and we rely on our members to tell us how we can be as inclusive and user-friendly as possible,” Cervini said.
While still allowing members to connect, filter, and chat with members around them, Q emphasizes some important differences. The app requires members to display their faces and first names, so that everyone is chatting on an equal playing field. Users are also encouraged to express themselves in “memoirs,” which have no character limit.
Meanwhile, the app’s patent-pending Micro-Q feature allows users to connect with Q members in the same bar, club, or cafe using battery-saving Bluetooth technology.
After growing up as a closeted student in Texas, Cervini was glad to find a large, supportive queer community at Harvard. But after experimenting with queer mobile apps, he was disappointed to find that they were not conducive to inclusion or positivity.
Additionally, Cervini said, users of today’s apps have virtually zero control over privacy policies or community standards, resulting in apps that foster exclusionary and often dehumanizing language.
“Public comments about masculinity or race are all too common, and they shouldn’t be tolerated. The only way to moderate it is by giving users more power to create their own ideal queer community.”
Cervini perfected the app’s design over the past year. After graduating from Harvard last summer, he worked with software engineers to create a prototype for iPhone.
“The prototype is just the starting point. Q is much more about creating a queer community that is devoted to making its members of any gender or background feel welcome,” he said.
Now writing a PhD dissertation on LGBT+ history, Cervini launched the Kickstarter campaign to fund a polished version of Q for release.
If the campaign is successful, Q will launch on iPhone and Android in time for nationwide Pride celebrations this June.
Supporters can become Founding Members of Q here: http://kck.st/1IdsfmG