In a previous podcast episode, we talked about where we stand as a company in relation to Black Lives Matter. As a company, it is part of our mission to always stand with marginalized communities. We stand with Black Lives Matter. To hear more of our heart in relation to this movement, please feel free to listen to this podcast.
The purpose of this blog post is to lay out our anti-racist action steps and plan. It is our goal to be as candid as possible so that we can learn and grow, both personally and as a company. We recognize that we, as co-founders, are two white cis-gendered men. We want to use our privilege, both as co-founders of a company and with being white, to advocate for our BIPOC siblings. We want to learn and grow and do as best as we can because this matters to us. With that in mind, if you have feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at email@example.com. We love hearing from you.
- No racial/ethnic filters — It has always been in the heart of Adam and Brandon to not feed into stereotypes that are experienced within the LGBTQ+ community. This became apparent to us after reading research conducted by Russell K. Robinson. Often, apps will make it so you could “build your own boyfriend,” affirming false narratives of what “true beauty” or the “ideal partner” looks like. From believr’s inception in November of 2018, believr has never had racial or ethnic filters. We have always wanted to make sure our app would break away from these practices and provide a new more equitable experience.
- A Diverse Board of Advisors — believr is in the process of creating an advisory board. On this board, we want to have as much diversity as possible in order to properly represent the community that we are both in and serving. They will be empowered to speak honestly and candidly to us, both to us as co-founders and the company as a whole. They will have the authority to call out decisions and hold us accountable. This advisory board will be published on our website for accountability once it is formed.
- Diverse Employees — While believr doesn’t have full-time employees yet, when we do, we want to have a diverse team. We plan on doing this by engaging in specific communities and reaching out to marginalized communities to make sure everyone has the option of participating and applying for believr. The goal of this practice is not to simply “fill a quota,” but because there is tremendous value in having a diverse team. The community we serve is very diverse, and we would be doing ourselves a major disservice if we didn’t learn from our employees with the unique worldview and insight and strengths they offer.
- Media Representation — When we source images, a lot of what is currently available is white and cis-gendered. We immediately noticed a lack in racial and gender identity diversity. It is our goal to not take the easy road when it comes to most accessible images and try and curate new images from the community — images that truly represent our beautifully diverse community. With that in mind, we are always looking for more images. If you’re a photographer that wants to showcase all the beauty in our community, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to partner with you to change the representation that we have seen on these platforms.
- Research Representation — When we conducted research for believr, we intentionally reached out to diverse identities to help us understand how to build an app with everyone in mind. But we are never done learning.
- Giving Back Donations — It has always been the plan to give a portion of the believr’s income money to not-for-profit organizations that help the community. The company will soon be generating revenue. When we do, the first org we plan on giving money to is the Martha P Johnson institute, an org that protects and defends the human rights of black transgender people. We plan on giving 10% of the funds raised in the upcoming campaign to this organization.
- Personally — While we want to do as much as we can as a company, there are certain things that we, as co-founders, feel it is important to do, personally, participating as citizens rather than as an organization. With that in mind, we have been marching, we have been donating, we have been signing petitions, we are having difficult conversations with friends and family, and we are educating ourselves.
We love this community, every part of it. And if we all are not equal, none of us are. May we never forget and may we always honor the fact that it was black trans women who created the first Pride, and it wasn’t some happy march with colors and cheering. It was a riot.
With gratitude for this community,
- Adam, Brandon, and the believr team