As Ireland is in the process of memorialising those we have lost to the AIDS epidemic, a different kind of memorial is being housed on a site dedicated to showcasing queer spaces.
As we lose queer spaces to high rents and gentrification in places like Dublin, this site is helping to keep their memory alive through the stories shared by queer people.
The map is also shining a light on spaces that hold emotion and memory for queer people, in turn making them less official queer spaces.
As the creator of Queering the Map, Lucas Rochelle points out, “as queer life becomes increasingly less centred around specific neighbourhoods and the buildings within them, notions of ‘queer spaces’ become more abstract and less tied to concrete geographical locations.”
Rochelle said the map grew from a desire to log their own queer experiences: “Hungry to learn more about how other people feel and do ‘queer’, I worked to make the site interactive.”
The map now hosts over 16,500 stories and is growing. In order to keep this project going, Rochelle has set up a GoFundMe to cover the expenses of the growing site which is run purely on a voluntary basis.
Ireland currently has about 100 queer spaces logged on the map, and the experiences range from coming out, to first kisses, to heartbreak.
“There are no guidelines to what constitutes an act of queering space. If it counts to you, then it counts for Queering the Map. Anything from direct action activism to a conversation expressing preferred pronouns, from flirtatious glances to weekend long sex parties; all are part of the project of queering space. Queer history matters and elders of the community are encouraged to add moments and places of historical significance to the map that enrich our collective memory.”
By mapping these ephemeral moments, Queering the Map aims to create a living archive of queer experience that reveals the ways in which we are intimately connected.
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