The “Thrive 365” application allows users to interact, ask questions, access resources and indicate any food insecurity or housing need. Thrive SS is planning a soft launch on November 2 and a full launch on November 15.
“This app will connect same-sex loving black men not only to the resources they need, but to each other,” Thrive SS Founder and Executive Director Larry Walker told Project Q Atlanta. “It provides a safe space to receive affirmation around our myriad intersections and interests and provides an outlet to express ourselves freely. “
The app has been in the works for about a year. The band members directly inspired him.
“They noticed how dangerous Facebook and other social media can be, especially for black SGL men living with HIV, and wanted a space that we can control,” Walker said.
“THRIVE seeks to stay at the forefront of innovative support, advocacy and empowerment,” he added. “We believe the Thrive 365 app will serve as an essential tool in achieving our goals.”
Thrive SS was launched in 2016 to support health equity for gay and bi black men living with HIV in Atlanta. The non-profit organization organizes health events and forums and provides many other services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed new challenges and exacerbated those that already existed for members of the group.
“We heard from members who couldn’t pay their bills, get an appointment to see the doctor, get medication, or even contact someone to get their questions answered,” Walker said.
Housing insecurity has become more widespread. Stress and anxiety increased.
“Fortunately, a lot of agencies were able to correct the course quite quickly,” Walker said.
Thrive SS has partnered with Georgia AIDS Education & Training Centers and Theratechnologies to deliver training for patients and providers to address issues. He also introduced a COVID-19 emergency fund to provide micro-grants for clients to take care of the essentials.
“Overall, through the challenges, I think COVID has forced us to provide better and more comprehensive services,” Walker said.
Lil Nas X is coming
The group got a boost in their mission from none other than internationally acclaimed gay rapper Lil Nas X last month. The Atlanta native has included Thrive SS and two other local HIV and LGBTQ advocacy groups on a “baby registry.” Fans have been encouraged to make donations to celebrate the release of his 2021 album, “Montero”.
Lil Nas X also stopped by the Thrive SS office in East Point in October to show even more love.
Next, Thrive SS joins several other groups for the Trans Masculine Sexual Health & Wellness Ball on November 19 at 840 ATL in the West End.
“The event is a fundraiser for the participating organizations and will not be like any House Ball competition before,” Walker said.