Spokane Journal of Business

Gravity Labs founders launch new news app

Through nonprofit effort, Respite to provide info for transgender community

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Robbi Katherine Anthony and Patrick McHugh, founders of nonprofit project Solace, have launched an app that aims to curate news relevant to the transgender community.

Respite, available for both iOS and Android phones, was released Oct. 15, and was spun off during the development phase of Solace, another app designed for the transgender community that will be released later this year.

McHugh, executive editor of Solace and front-end designer of Respite, says the app originally was going to be included as a tab within the Solace app, but the team decided to make Respite its own app.

McHugh and Anthony founded Solace, a nonprofit project that is fiscally sponsored by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, a 501(c)3 charitable foundation. Anthony’s for-profit software development company, Firedove Technology, handles app development for Solace. The Solace app will be designed to provide a roadmap for transgender people who are transitioning, McHugh says.

Earlier this year, Anthony and McHugh also founded Gravity Labs Inc., which has created the Gravity dating app, in which a user’s matches are chosen by other Gravity users.

Respite was born of a need for transgender people to stay current on news that can affect the transgender community without  having to see stories about transgender people being harassed, assaulted, or killed, McHugh says. 

Those stories, McHugh says, can take a toll on the mental and emotional health of those in the transgender community. 

“Even the discussions and the commentary around those stories online can be really toxic,” McHugh says.

In one section of the app, users see the latest news that could affect the transgender community. 

In another, users can take part in the editorial process of deciding which stories will be featured in the app’s news feed.

Anthony, who developed the app through her software development company, Firedove Technology, says downloads of Respite were in triple digits two days after its release.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the banking and finance industries. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys travelling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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