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Queering the Map: Telling Queer Stories From Around The World

Queering the Map: Telling Queer Stories From Around The World

Queer love is beautiful, spanning not only millennia but also continents, regardless of religion, race and gender. Seeking to share stories and celebrate queer identity everywhere, Queering the Map is an online platform for the LGBTQ2IA+ community to archive their stories in relation to physical space. Documenting stories like this is essential. Queer existence continues to be policed, invalidated, and erased. The online community Queering the Map has created acts as a living archive and allows people across the world to share their vulnerable stories and draw parallels beyond borders or religion.

Started in 2017 by Lucas Larochelle, the Map now has over 400,000 stories in 26 languages. People have plotted pins in every continent around the world, and some even in the middle of the ocean. QTM aims to archive spaces of personal significance to people around the world. Beyond bars and bathhouses, this Map traces specific locations where LGBTQI+ life is alive and thriving. 

What sets QTM apart from other online communities? 

A lot of people find that social media disconnects us from one another, creates competition between people pretending to be someone else online - this Map does the opposite. Intimacy and human connection is at the heart of what QTM represents. It's a platform built on sharing memories purely for the pleasure of sharing them. The anonymity the platform allows its users both protects those in potentially vulnerable places, and means that users can offer up authentic and uncurated histories of themselves. Each story is personally moderated by Lucas to ensure self-promotion of any kind is not welcome. No names, addresses, emails or phone numbers are allowed in people’s stories. 

Born on stolen land, founder Lucas is conscious of what it means to find oneself as a settler. 

“One of the primary questions I was working through when I developed Queering the Map was “What does it mean to think about queer space on stolen land?” This project started in Tiohtià:ke, otherwise known as Montreal, on the lands and waters of the Kanien'kehá:ka Nation. So much of theorising around queer space is thinking about the notion of belonging. But as a settler on stolen land, questions of belonging need to be complicated. It is integral to think about non-indigenous queer belonging, or attachment to place, by considering it alongside the histories and presents of colonisation.” 

With the rise of violence against LGBTQI+ people, this archive offers comfort and celebrates individual stores in places where queer life has always existed. Some might make you laugh, plenty will definitely make you cry. Queering the Map is a fantastic resource for the queer community to find parallels in their lives and lose themselves in other people’s worlds. 

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