A collaborative digital atlas and platform that aims to preserve queer experiences all over the world, Queering the Map is beautiful, profound, and heartbreaking all at once.
Two things about people—we love stories, and we love sharing experiences. We love to read or hear about people’s experiences, particularly with love. It’s also innate in us to associate places with such experiences, with memories (good or bad), or with people. If you’re interested in spending a day getting a glimpse into people’s minds, memories, and lives, hearing about their stories as people who live and love and lose, then maybe you should hop on over to Queering the Map.
Queering the Map is a “community-generated counter-mapping project for digitally archiving LGBTQ2IA+ experience in relation to physical space.” It’s a platform that allows queer people from all over the world to place pins on a map and write anything about their experience with love, romance, and queerness.
Founded by artist Lucas LaRochelle, it “functions as a living archive of LGBTQ2IA+ life” through these pins and anonymous entries, sharing stories of love, struggle, coming out, collective action, and so much more. In these stories you find plenty of anger, plenty of loss, plenty of solemn reminders that the world isn’t kind much of the time. But you also find plenty of joy, plenty of peace, and plenty of hope.
IMMORTALIZING QUEER EXPERIENCE
Queer history has always existed alongside and within human history, no matter how much LGBTQIA+ erasure and censorship tries to convince us it hasn’t. In this new technological age, there are a myriad of ways to ensure people, artefacts, and stories are preserved long after we’re all gone. For the people that contribute to Queering the Map, it’s a way to integrate the personal with the collective and to paint a complex, everlasting portrait of queer life.
CATHARSIS, MEMORY, EXPRESSION
People “pin” a queer memory or experience on Queering the Map for various reasons. They may be noting down a significant event or memory because they want to remember, to share, to confess without really confessing, to validate other people’s experiences, or even to find someone they lost.
Recently, Queering the Map has garnered attention due to entries from the Gaza Strip going viral. Amidst struggles and suffering, people look for ways to get what they want to say out into the world, or to have people remember even after they’re gone.
And while it’s easy to fall into the trap of romanticizing the tragedies that the queer community experiences, we should keep in mind that Queering the Map is an effort of remembrance and of resistance.
ENTRIES FROM THE PHILIPPINES
Entries pinned in the Philippines range from hidden queer relationships, confessions, first-time encounters with who would be someone’s lifelong love, coming out, all the joys and heartbreaks and everything in between. If you want to check out more, or pin your own experience, head on over to Queering the Map.