We were queer, here.
April 6, 2018 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Queer moments and lives are marked across the globe, like so many Kilroys, at Queering the Map.

From "About": Queering the Map is a community-generated mapping project that geo-locates queer moments, memories and histories in relation to physical space. As queer life becomes increasingly less centered around specific neighborhoods and the buildings within them, notions of ‘queer spaces’ become more abstract and less tied to concrete geographical locations. The intent of the Queering the Map project is to collectively document the spaces that hold queer memory, from park benches to parking garages, to mark moments of queerness wherever they occur. .... There are no guidelines to what constitutes an act of queering space. If it counts to you, then it counts for Queering the Map.

At this site, little moments and big moments across the emotional spectrum are recorded by visitors onto a map of the world. These moments are everywhere from tiny towns in rural areas to major metros in queer-hostile nations. You might feel a bit of surprise looking at the notes in some places, or a sense of solidarity and community, or a sense of relief that you're not alone, or a moment of recognition and connection.

"I wish I took her hand, but I was too scared. My first crush into a girl, first time I understood that maybe I'm not a hetero." -- somewhere in Russia

"Told her I loved her" -- on the coast of Senegal

(on seeing two young men being affectionate) "I was happy about them and hoping for myself, but I did not say anything." -- translated from a Farsi-language post in Iran

"I met my man!" -- Ho Chi Minh City

"A quiet boy, who was a nurse, took me to a strawberry farm. Maybe it was here; I can't be sure. We walked and picked strawberries and he got me an ice cream. I think I messed it up, and anyway I left New Zealand. But I will never forget how warm and intimate that was." -- in northern NZ

"first place i told someone i was queer without feeling afraid to tell them" -- in the middle of Louisiana

"Two genderqueers slowed a car down to 10mph on a windy highway here so they could frantically search an old iPod for a song called Idaho to blast as they crossed the state line." -- on the MT/ID border

"Aprendi que uno de mis maestros de prepa era gay y por una de las primeras veces en mi vida supe que mi comunidad tenia historia / i learned one of my teachers in high school had been gay and for one of the first times in my life i knew my community had a history" -- outside Monterrey, Mexico

P. S. For me the map loads Montreal. Zooming out from there to see the rest of the map is very tedious, but (IMO) worth it.
posted by wintersweet (18 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Oh god, this is wonderful. It took a while to figure out that if I moved out to the ocean, I could scroll through the map faster.

I added a park bench between dorms that has fond queer memories for me.
posted by mittens at 9:36 AM on April 6, 2018

Neat idea, tragic implementation. I think it's slow on pan/zoom because it simply loads all the data at once when you move past the default view. Once it loads it works OK. (This is fixable!)

Funniest find so far, near Truckee, CA: "This is the forest where the Donner Party ate each other. I got fingered here buy a guy who's in prison now."

Where did they get all the content? Has it just been running for awhile or did they do some campaign for collecting stories? I sure added my story, I like the anonymity of it.
posted by Nelson at 9:38 AM on April 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

My mom and I were having lunch here. She asked me if I was getting fat. I told I was growing breasts. I told her I am trans. She said, "well, at least you don't work at Panera." - Iowa City
posted by theodolite at 9:40 AM on April 6, 2018 [11 favorites]

Now I feel like an asshole for criticizing the implementation. From their Facebook page I learned they launched in February, then were knocked offline by a troll attack. So they added some security (the CAPTCHA?) and moderation and now are back online.

There's a lot of beautiful stuff in there. I really enjoyed adding my own memories.
posted by Nelson at 10:00 AM on April 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

I added a memory, and wanted to add another, but it's not working for me now. I'll just read for a while. This is absolutely lovely.
posted by Automocar at 10:05 AM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is unreasonably beautiful. It's truly wonderful seeing the pins over Sydney & the central coast, looking at the myriad experiences people have had. So many in Sydney about the postal survey for marriage equality and the rallys that took place along the way.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 10:14 AM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

They fixed it! I'm glad to see this is back, thanks for posting.
posted by clavicle at 10:21 AM on April 6, 2018

I'm sitting in my bedroom and reading this, and I'm just sobbing, quietly. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by mishafletch at 10:47 AM on April 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

This really is lovely. I don't think it's my place, but I kind of want to add my neighbors' house from when I was a kid in the suburbs of St. Louis. They were two little old ladies who lived together for my whole life growing up.

I had two aunts who were gay, and they visited frequently with their partners, so I understood and accepted things no problem. But they were young and it was somehow different to me. When I was old enough to understand that these women were lifelong partners, and were now caring for each other in old age, it reinforced the idea of gay love.

They must be long since passed now. I'm glad they lived on our block.
posted by AgentRocket at 10:50 AM on April 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

I just added one of mine. I'll probably add more. This is a wonderful project.

AgentRocket, I think yours would be a beautiful thing to add. I hope you do.
posted by treepour at 11:09 AM on April 6, 2018

I love that I was able to find some queer moments just a few blocks from my house in Vancouver. Realizing you're crushing on someone over tacos - incorporates so many of my favorite things.
posted by helmutdog at 11:40 AM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love this, especially in 20gayteen 😍
posted by ellieBOA at 12:53 PM on April 6, 2018

I really wanted to make something like this, but I don't have the tech skills yet to do it since I'm still learning how to code. But I am so excited that this was made - I think I'll reach out to the creators and ask if I can get involved in helping run this.
posted by yueliang at 2:16 PM on April 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Can't easily access the map. If it's not already there, maybe someone wants to add: the Gerber/Hart Library at 1127 West Granville Avenue in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. (41.99997, -87.671641)

(Henry Gerber published a newsletter ... illegal until 1958 ... and was 'erased from the public record' ... hah! )
posted by Twang at 8:34 PM on April 6, 2018

Don't think it's directly related, but thought this was my geography professor Michael Brown's Queering the Map paper. I'm sure he'd approve of this example of volunteered geographic information helping document queer life.
posted by cult_url_bias at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2018

I just added a bunch of historical sites from my hometown. It was actually pretty cathartic to map out all of the long-disappeared refuges of my queer teen years. I remember watching the Ellen coming out episode in 1997, surrounded by queer peers & elders in a local queer community space. It shut down in 2000.
posted by LMGM at 5:49 AM on April 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I made a remix visualization of their map: Queering the Heatmap. I remapped the data using MapBox GL JS and added a heatmap to it to highlight density of comments. Different aesthetic, but I think it's kinda neat. Performs a little better too. I think I'll mail them and see what they think.
posted by Nelson at 11:37 AM on April 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've added maybe more pins than I'm entitled to, but then I've also shared it pretty widely. This project gives me a lot of wonderful feelings. Something about the way that it visualizes queerness, and makes an invisible quality take up space on a map. It's an infinite series of active moments, not a group of passive identities.
posted by libraritarian at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

« Older Whisked Away   |   Forging The Chain Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments