New York has made strides in building equitable and inclusive policies and programs for its LGBTQ+ community. But there’s still a large population of LGBTQ+ people of color in the city, and an app that addresses that need is being launched this summer.
Generate, an app developed by The Jonathan Center, a leadership platform for more than 10,000 young adults of color (particularly LGBTQ+) and race, was unveiled this week at Brooklyn Museum, where it was created by Andrew Ross Wood, an artist whose work “marginalized African-American youth in and around school” and “affluenza” capitalized on problematic racial stereotypes, according to The Jonathan Center.
The app’s objective is to create a tool to teach LGBTQ+ youth of color about the equality and justice for all of their peers that’s out there. Generationally (and famously), this isn’t an app for “Angels,” though. The project is designed to teach LGBTQ+ youth of color the values of equality and justice, and it’s rooted in Solomon Northup’s The Underground Railroad.
The app provides a curated online resource, a collection of profiles of LGBTQ+ folks from across the country, in a storefront at the New Museum of the Arts, on the Brooklyn Library Square. After using the app to identify LGBTQ+ people of color, it will show users the diversity of their communities and add short informational videos, design-wise, to make them feel at home in their local communities.
The idea, according to Kate Gross, Generationally’s manager of communications, “has always been to connect to queer youth, if only for a morning.” Growing from conversation about a dozen or so ideas submitted to online platform #GeneratebyYoungPeople, it evolved to develop into a new platform. The idea, she said, came to Group Six.
“It was really cool to see the community vote, so we had those discussions with groups who have been involved for a long time,” Gross said. “But it was really interesting to see how they turned into discussion, you know, with a request for help.”
The app will integrate Youth Vouchers, a payroll program that generates bills, which the app is also pushing as a tool for the LGBTQ+ community’s challenges. The application will also give students a seven-day reference point for where they are in school or community service, when they can share their family or friends’ experiences of LGBTQ+ inclusion.
A featured chapter in the app reads, “Immigrants struggle to provide for themselves and family. It’s not uncommon for a child to be homeless and, tragically, seeking education for themselves and their children. Just as we must challenge that privilege, we must reject it.”
Generate won’t be available to anyone this summer, because they want to introduce the app to youth of color, a sizable one, on the possibility that a historic event could occur in the United States. The Jonathan Center plans to bring the app to Oakland next month and in Puerto Rico in September.
“But even with that fear of ruining a dream,” Gross said, “we will do this in an aspirational way so that a young person of color sees there is a platform they can get behind.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a full list of LGBT+ youth of color and instances of cross-honoring.