Design For America's Crescent Rainbow Project

In Progress. I plan to update this throughout the year.

Working on a team with Anne-Laure Fayard and team at NYU and Dani Laurence of I Am Your Protector  to research and prototype safe spaces for Muslim LGBT youth in America.

Research Phase

We are in the research phase as well as the ideation phase (see next section for ideation). The research phase consists of finding blogs, papers, and articles written on the subject of LGBTQ Muslims, mainly in the States. This secondary research was followed by interviews with experts (leaders of LGBTQ and Islamic Communities - Imams, professors of Islamic Studies, LGBTQ leaders), users (LGBTQ Muslims), and analogous users (not specifically LGBTW muslims but those who may have translatable experiences and insights, such as LGBTW Christians or other intersectional minorities). 

 

Ideation Phase

The current phase is Ideation (though Research continues as well, see previous section). During this phase we amass the data and insights we collected and find patterns, which then inform our next steps. Currently the next step is more primary research with users via interviews and anonymous polls/surveys using social media groups where the LGBTQ Muslims exist and interact as well as physical fliers in public spaces (such as bathrooms in bars and coffee shops that are likely to be frequented by members of the Muslim and LGBTQ communities. 

Our main take way  so far is that we need to create a space for the LGBTQ Muslims to build more of their own safe spaces. We also learned that anonymity is still very important in this intersection. The idea is not to push these people into the spotlight but to create awareness about the diversity of Muslims and raise the voices of those who do wish to be heard, even anonymously. 

 

Prototyping Phase

We are not yet technically at the prototyping phase but our research includes creation of flyers and surveys that will help us generate more knowledge and insights. Based on the extensive research done so far, we think that our final prototype will likely be some form of co-creation with the users as we are not in a position where we can create the spaces these groups can and need to create on their own to keep them private. Our role will be that of facilitators and our users will be the experts.