💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.
With the optimal combo of Pride Month and relaxed COVID restrictions, Philly gays are once again hitting up their old haunts. Where does the city’s LGBTQ community congregate for fun? Which places hold the most significance for queer people in the city?
There is, of course, no universal answer. But an international database called Queering the Map is trying to keep track of places where queer people have shared their most memorable moments.
The database was started in Montreal two years ago by Concordia University design student Lucas LaRochelle. They felt a special connection to a park in their neighborhood where they first met their partner, and wanted to immortalize it.
The interactive visualization works like Google Maps — if the Gmaps default color was pink. It’s populated with 120,000+ little black markers all over the world, with info displayed in 23 languages. Click one, and you’ll see a queer person’s story from that spot.
And you can add to it, too. Visit the site, pick your most memorable location and tell your story. All the submissions are reviewed by moderators to ensure hate speech, spam, and breaches of anonymity aren’t published.
Philadelphia is full of submissions. There are coming out stories that ended better than expected. Semi-explicit tales of sexual encounters, and lamentable one-that-got-away moments. Many blurbs detail the tender beginnings or cacophonous endings of LGBTQ love stories.
Many posts are clustered in hotspots like the Gayborhood or University City. But if you zoom out, you’ll see that the stories, like queer people, are everywhere, from Bridesburg to Southwest, and Mount Airy to the stadiums.
We’ve collected some of our favorites from all over the city. Here are screenshots that tell 18 of Philly’s queer stories.