Hi hi, you fantastic rays of sunshine!
For those of you who have been following us, we are currently in the middle of a crowdsale where we are offering months of spectrum at a discounted price to help fund the final bit of development for believr. It’s been an amazing process and we are so close to our goal.
In an effort to get more people informed about the crowdsale and also learn why someone might not participate, we shot out an email to everyone in our email registry. That’s when we received an email from our friend named Jen who brought up some concerns that were very challenging and enlightening for us as a company. We wanted to share that dialogue in an effort to be true and vulnerable with our community.
As a queer biracial person, I have larger concerns.
Your staff appears to be largely white and cisgender, and your website’s language centers orientation (“who you love”) without focusing on gender identity. Your values post indicates that you will seek to establish an advisory board and hire a diverse staff. I appreciate those measures and your and Brandon’s acknowledgment of your privilege on a recent podcast episode. But it’s troubling that two cis gay white men apparently neither recognized that from the beginning nor actively sought out Black, NBPOC, trans or NB as staff or consultants. I sincerely hope I’m wrong about that! But the perspectives and lived experiences of trans and non-binary folks and BIPOC should be a priority for an app that intends to serve marginalized people, and I don’t get the sense that that is built into believr’s DNA.
Can you tell me why BIPOC like myself should trust believr? How will you be accountable for doing antiracist work? What gender identities and gender expressions will you include for users to self-select? What will your security measures and policies be for blocking and reporting? Will you post your values more prominently on your site and in the app rather than in a blog post?
I say all this because I do believe you are doing the reading, want to listen, and want to do right by BIPOC. I think you have a real chance to get this right and to create the inclusive space that you seek. I look forward to seeing how believr evolves.
Upon receiving this email, Adam called me (Brandon), and we talked through this email, making sure we were being honest and owning where we could do better. Here’s our response:
First and foremost - THANK YOU! Thank you for engaging and beginning the journey in trusting me / us. I can’t tell you how much I value that. You bring up some great points in your email and I’ll address them one by one. I apologize for the length! If you have feedback on any of this, I’d love to hear it.
In regards to the first part of your email, here’s some info that I’d love to share:
Below, you’ll see your questions followed by corresponding answers:
Can you tell me why BIPOC like myself should trust believr?
How will you be accountable for doing antiracist work?
What gender identities and gender expressions will you include for users to self-select?
See the attached screenshots from the app. We wanted to keep it as open and flexible as possible while also managing the tension of being able to create connections (our idea of matches).
What will your security measures and policies be for blocking and reporting?
Will you post your values more prominently on your site and in the app rather than in a blog post?
Yes! Once we get the app out and get the website redesign, we will definitely include our values on the website. It’s actually already in our mockup for version two.
Thank you so much for your email! I really appreciate it. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to continue this dialogue. I really enjoyed it.
P.S. I think this type of information is good for the community to see. I’m wondering if you’d be okay with us posting this as a blog post. We can remove your name — not a problem. BUT if you’re not comfortable with that. No worries.
Thanks for your time!
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