The Supernova Project
Most information available about domestic abuse, both on and offline, is heteronormative. The stereotype is “a cisgendered woman facing abuse by a cisgendered man.” However, relationship abuse is in no way confined to heterosexual, cisgendered relationships. Charlotte Seeley-Musgrave writes on the new site created specifically to support the LGBTQIA+ community...
In fact, many in the LGBTQIA+ community may have experienced abuse in their relationships. Stonewall shares that almost 49% of all gay and bi men, and a staggering 80% of trans people have experienced some form of domestic abuse. From these numbers, the relationship abuse experienced in queer relationships is actually higher than the UK average, so why are there so few resources for queer communities?
There is a great unmet need for a site which is specifically created for LGBTQIA+ people, aiming to provide specialist relationship abuse support for the queer community. Which is why, Chayn is launching ‘The Supernova Project,’ a website hosting guidance and resources for the queer community.
Former Chayn volunteer, Maryam Amjad, drew on her own experiences of hearing and helping friends who had experienced abuse in queer relationships, and concern about the lack of queer relationships representation in mainstream media led her to start the Supernova Project. “A major flag went up in my mind – if queer relationships aren’t talked about, and no one really knows what a queer relationship is until they’re in one…how do they know they’re in a healthy one?”
We need to not only make support services ‘inclusive’ but to specifically tailor them to service users.
Chayn is an intersectional feminist organisation, which strives to provide projects that consider the numerous oppressions that intersect in relationship abuse and intimate partner violence. However, as current Supernova project lead Michelle Parfitt explains, Chayn too has fallen into the heteronormative trap in the past.
In 2016, Broken Rainbows, the sole charity providing specialist support to members of the LGBTQIA+ community regarding domestic abuse in the UK, shut down due to financial difficulties. Since then, a search for services specifically tailored to the queer community returns very little. Chayn is fortunate to be crowd-funded, volunteer led and therefore uniquely able to focus on projects of ordinarily marginalised people:
Michelle explains “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. 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. We are 100% volunteer run and so we want this to be something everyone can influence and get involved in.”