Digital Project: Mapping Queer History

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to see what everyone accomplished with their projects and papers this semester!

For my finished digital project, I continued pinning events in queer history up through 2019. You can see my project with the rest of the pins here. I hope whoever decides to look through it has fun and learns something!

Conference Poster

My project didn’t really have a question or an argument, so I’ve compiled important events to show how queer rights and representation have developed over time.

Project Statement:

My project is a digital map of queer events since 1903. 1903 was the Ariston Bathhouse Raid in New York City, and in a way symbolizes the start of the queer power struggle in the industrialized United States. Since this event, the LGBTQ+ community has faced violence, numerous police raids, political and cultural marginalization, and prejudice in every aspect of their lives. However, the queer community has always remained resiliant, resourceful, and optimistic. Every tragedy and hardship this community has faced over the last 100+ years has pushed them to fight for representation, equality, and freedom to express themselves. Queer people have expressed themselves through organizations, magazines, novels, art, protest, and political action to gain recognition for what they have been put through and what they want out of living in America. It is only because of the passion and the sacrifice of this community that we have seen so many strides in gay rights and representation since that night in 1903. However, we still have a very long way to go, as is seen in recent developments in transgender representation and conversely spikes in anti-trans violence. 

It is essential that this is a digital project because I want those viewing it to be able to use the map I made as a launch pad into their own research. I tried to highlight all of the most important events that showcase how and why we are where we are in the development of gay rights and representation, but also give those who don’t know very much about queer history a frame of reference. By linking to the sources I used to write my blurbs about these events, I hope to encourage viewers to click and read more about the events that interest them the most. I also hope to have conveyed positive and negative aspects of this history to show that it isn’t all one way, and that struggles and strides exist in tandem. 

The target audience for those viewing my project are people coming into their queer identity and wanting to learn more about our history. It’s important to recognize where everything we have comes from. My generation didn’t live through the AIDS crisis or the Stonewall Riots. As we continue to strengthen and celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and achievement, we have to understand who came before us that made that possible. We also have to understand that although there have been major strides in the journey toward equality, there is still bigotry and violence. The fight isn’t over yet, and I hope my project exemplifies how willing queer people are to fight for their rights.  

Reflection:

This project has been incredibly informative and rewarding. This topic is something I’ve been very passionate about since I started to get more comfortable with my indentity as a queer woman. This project was specifically inspired by one of my close friends from home who told me that she didn’t even know where to start to get connected with her roots as a budding member of the LGBTQ+ community. I gave her some shows to watch like Rupaul’s Drag Race and Pose on FX, and told her some of the things I already knew about queer history like the Stonewall Riots, but realized I didn’t know very much either. When we learned about digital mapping projects in this class, I was very excited to use that as my platform for documenting queer history in an easily digestible and user friendly way, meant for those just starting to dip their toes in. I wanted to create something that would easily give young LBGTQ+ people a crash course in queer history in the United States and thus help them find out more about themselves. 

This project was challenging in that it was new to me. I’ve never created anything like this before and I definitely underestimated the amount of work that would need to go into creating a map with 35 pins on it. I originally intended to only do 10-15 pins on the map, but as I began to work off the timeline I found on wikipedia, There were too many important dates that I felt really needed to be included. I also would have really liked to make a more interactive map that took you through the points in chronological order, but I didn’t end up finding the ESRI Story Map Journal that allows you to do that until about ⅔ of completing the project with regular StoryMaps. I think this would have really enhanced the project, but as a work in progress, I’m happy with what I ended up completing. 

Overall, I hope that this project is informative and inspires people to find out more about the history of those with their identity, whatever that identity may be. Queer history doesn’t get a lot of attention in traditional history curriculim, but it is a rich and important part of how the world we live in today came to be. I love that I was able to use images to enhance the description of each pin, as art has always been an integral part of LBGTQ+ expression and experience. I hope everyone enjoys and has fun exploring my digital project!

Work Cited

My work cited is incredibly long, so I’ve linked to a google doc that anyone can view. Most of my sources are available to click on and read more about within the description of each pin on the map, but I’ve cited both those and my sources for all of the photos I used in this google doc.

2 Replies to “Digital Project: Mapping Queer History”

  1. Madi, I love your project! It was great to check out a StoryMaps project so different from my own–indeed, the variety of options for creating a digital map is the great utility of StoryMaps. Seeing all of the events since 1903 is super impactful and tells a story of how far-reaching these events/achievements have been. If you continue working on this project in this future, I can see some utility in color-coding events by decade, as this might provide interesting analysis about the type of events occurring in different periods. Altogether, though, I think you’ve created something user-friendly, visually-interesting, and ultimately, important. Great job!

  2. Great to see how this all came together! The map looks great. I appreciate how you were able to communicate the extent to which Queer history is not just a part of stories in the costal U.S. too. Showing pins across the whole country draws the extent to which queer history is a part of a wide range of experiences across the country. I appreciate your reflections on what you’ve learned through working with the tools too. It’s challenging to simultaneously learn how to use new tools like this while also producing content and a narrative in the platform.

Leave a Reply to cbolt_AU20 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *