New app aims to create gender-inclusive online community

Thu May 21, 2015 12:45pm EDT
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By Maria Caspani

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Frustrated by what he saw as the non-inclusive world of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) mobile apps, a Harvard student set out to create one that would be truly inclusive of all genders.

According to young developer Eric Cervini, most social networking and dating apps that cater to the LGBTQ community rigidly categorize their users by gender identity, sexual orientation and physical appearance.

"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," California-born Cervini said in a statement.

His app "Q" lets users choose from over 20 genders to include all those who identify as queer, a term used by some to encompass the many facets of gender identity and sexual orientation.

In the United States and beyond, a growing movement views gender as a complex, mainly psychological phenomenon in which a person's external anatomy is no longer the defining factor.

According to Cervini, Q is "a community-driven social networking app for humans - of all genders and sexual orientations - who identify as queer."

The app still allows some filtering and requires members to display first names and faces while encouraging them to describe themselves in "memoirs" that have no character limit.

"Q is...about creating a queer community that is devoted to making its members of any gender or background feel welcome," said Cervini.   Continued...

Revellers take a selfie with a mobile phone under a rainbow flag during the 18th Gay Pride Parade in Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo, May 4, 2014. REUTERS/Nacho Doce