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So to compare the past to the present in order to speculate about the future, I started collecting and documenting data, informally at first.I had been asked to give a talk on an LGBT issue and mapping, and decided to start this new queer history mapping project, OUTgoing, right then and there.It’s the harder-to-reach parts of the LGBT community that take some special effort.At one time there was a not-for-profit switchboard that any resident or visitor could call to find out safe and popular spots to go.And Rose’s non-love life feels rich and real, too, from her unglamorous Brooklyn 20-something life to her career ambitions, which the book values as much as it values falling in love.This is angstier stuff than the other books in this series—Seraphina and Malcolm have a lot of healing to do, which requires bravery as much as zinging conversation.
Even the most open-armed straight society isn’t going to tell a young queer the story of the parties and battles that were fought, nevermind teaching young queers (of every gender status) to cruise, navigate still-difficult prejudices and understand their place in history.
But it’s impossible to thoroughly document a history which has been intentionally erased over the years.
To start, there are stories we will never hear from the 100,000 New Yorkers who have died of AIDS.
I opened up a Carto DB map and started filling in the nightlife spots I knew had existed from memory and a scattering of others as inspirational starting points.
This launched a data-gathering spree and I grabbed every in-business location tagged ‘gay bar’ in the boroughs of Alaska from Yelp’s API, then went to the internet to find as many discussions of past gay nightlife as I could.
This project can’t be complete because of those missing voices.