New website Queer Review is Yelp for safe spaces - Technical.ly DC

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Jul. 30, 2015 12:20 pm

New website Queer Review is Yelp for safe spaces

Cofounders Kesha Garner and Kevin Hawkins say even some LGBT-friendly spots aren't safe for everyone. Now they're mapping welcoming spaces for trans and queer people around the world.

Capital Pride Parade 2014.

(Photo by Flickr user IIP Photo Archive, used under a Creative Commons license)

Kesha Garner is from South Carolina. When she moved the capital for an internship with the Human Rights Campaign, she was struck by the city’s gay-friendliness.

“I was just blown away by how open D.C. is,” she said.

But then she realized that this inclusivity did not always extend to all queer people. During nights out with her friend, local designer Kevin Hawkins, and their squad, she saw her trans friends get discriminated against at gay bars.

“Even the places around here that are LGBT-friendly aren’t safe for everyone,” she said.

So she teamed up with Hawkins to launch Queer Review, a website that allows users to rate businesses by how welcoming they are to queer customers.

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It’s not about charting all the gay bars in town, said Garner. That wouldn’t be enough.

“Queer Review is more of a place to show where people are accepting without advertising it,” she said.

With the website, she hopes to encompass an umbrella of queer-identifying individuals that is outgrowing the LGBTQ acronym.

“I’m working really hard to make it an intersectional tool,” said Garner, who identifies as a gender non-conforming, non-binary person.

The website, designed on WordPress by Hawkins, has garnered more than 10,000 page hits since its public launch on Monday, Garner said.

Queer Review had its launch party last night; a little birdie (Twitter, that is) told us it was fun.

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Lalita Clozel

Lalita Clozel was the former Technical.ly DC Lead Reporter. She has written for OpenSecrets.org, the Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia City Paper. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, she wrote for The Daily Pennsylvanian, covering legal affairs, city politics and labor unions.

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