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Everywhere is Queer app cements a digital hub for LGBTQ businesses

"Queer people are amazing. There's groups for everything."
Everywhere is Queer app cements a digital hub for LGBTQ businesses Credit: Mashable composite; Everywhere is Queer/ Charlie Sprinkman / AerialPerspective Images / Moment / Getty

A new app has just dropped for seekers of LGBTQ-owned businesses, queer-friendly artists and advisors, and inclusive community spaces — or for supporters seeking a tangible way to defy the current political tide. Launched by Everywhere is Queer, an LGBTQ business directory that gained popularity in 2022, it's Yelp for the queer-led revolution.?

The just-released Everywhere is Queer app provides on-the-go discoverability to users and LGBTQ-owned businesses around the world, although the majority of spots exist in the continental U.S. It's simple to navigate, consistently updated, and, most importantly, a living, digital document of Queer community.?

When users make a profile and log on, they're greeted with a map filled with small green markers, and if they've enable location services, it'll start finding LGBTQ-owned spaces immediately. The canopy of location markers can be filtered by dozens of business categories and narrowed down by zip code or neighborhood. There's a separate tab where you can browse online-only businesses, and another that organizes listings that you've favorited.?

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The app is part of a larger network of LGBTQ-focused resource hubs in the spirit of the community's legacy of mutual aid and support. Others like Everywhere is Queer include OutCare, a directory and advocacy organization for LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers, and LGBTQ-focused job boards, like Queer Outdoors, which was designed by environmentalist drag queen Pattie Gonia and data architect and performer Red Fong.?

Mashable first spoke to Sprinkman in 2022, not long after the initial version of Everywhere is Queer launched. The early website — a community-organized directory of queer-owned businesses using Google Maps software and a Google entry form — was a fledgling coding project started by Sprinkman, following a summer traveling around the country and working at an LGBTQ leadership camp.

Since then, Sprinkman has moved from the smaller city of Bend, Oregon to Portland and Everywhere is Queer has continued to grow. As of January, the directory had nearly 9,000 business entries, and the number of business categories has more than doubled. Everywhere is Queer has added therapists, legal and financial support, tattoo artists and queer events, and categories that aren't necessarily profit-driven, like queer-serving community groups.?

"It's your queer pickleball groups, your queer chess clubs, your queer you-name-it. Queer people are amazing. There's groups for everything," Sprinkman said of the app's variety.

The tight-knit community of thousands of LGBTQ users and supporters carried over from the initial buzz generated in 2022 has followed Sprinkman from TikTok, to Instagram, to desktop site, and now to an app. The Everywhere is Queer Instagram page has more than 140,000 organic followers, which, Sprinkman is proud to point out, is impressive for having not done a single paid advertisement for the site. Nor, they reiterated, are they venture capital-backed.??

Everywhere is Queer has also built out it's blog and an accompanying newsletter. Sprinkman's started traveling around the country to meet, interview, and spotlight these businesses. But, all in all, the endeavor is still a small operation, with only Sprinkman and three other "employees" handling operations, one being Sprinkman's partner, the other a part-time administrative assistant, and most recently a contracted web developer, Chris Redrich.?

It's queer and trans and allied individuals that want to find these queer spaces wherever they are in the world.

Sprinkman made the decision to go full time as Everywhere is Queer founder and untitled CEO in Oct. 2023, timed exactly with the first announcement that the site was developing an app. "EIQ isn’t me. It’s US," they wrote at the time. "I am helping facilitate this project, but it’s YOU telling your friends about it and supporting queer people that is making the change."

They've been hyping up the app's release ever since, posting across Everywhere is Queer's social media pages in the hopes that the constant buzz will encourage a swell of community engagement. Sprinkman is even incentivizing businesses, followers, and influencers to get on the promotion train with easy-to-download launch posts and events. Around 1,000 supporters agreed to share the news at the time of the app's launch.?

"It's queer and trans and allied individuals that want to find these queer spaces wherever they are in the world," they explained.

The app is one part natural progression of a mapping endeavor that could only sustain itself on Google's free APIs for so long, another part future business plan, following an escalation of businesses reaching out to Everywhere is Queer for paid promotion opportunities.?

"I always wanted to develop an app that would make it more accessible for small businesses to promote their business to the [Everywhere is Queer] audience," Sprinkman explained. But the first step was to tear everything down, including the old Google spreadsheet-based map, and build it back up in the new vision of Everywhere is Queer. Fortunately, community came in clutch again. Sprinkman was contacted last summer by a queer, LA-based developer who offered to help enable the site to go mobile, later contracted by Sprinkman's partner for a small fee, and the group has been busy designing the app ever since.?

"I have to be honest, Chris is the most amazing developer I have ever worked with in my life," Sprinkman said. "If people are reading this, do not steal him from me. In one week of us having a conversation, he had the bones of the app already built and ready to go. It's been a little team, the three of us, coming together."

After a completely new back-end site was designed to accommodate the new app, Sprinkman and team set out to contact every single business (at that stage, around 6,000 accounts) to build a new profile that would be directly imported into the app.?Businesses can still apply to be added to the list, which continue to be updated as the app rolls out.

While the app serves the community first and foremost, Sprinkman also sees it as a potential income-generator that will sustain the Everywhere is Queer directory. "Businesses are going to be able to become a founding supporter and have a premium listing in-app for less than $50 a month at the start," they explained. These featured businesses get priority placement in the map's list tab, and they'll maintain a "founding supporter" badge on their business page forever.?

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"This app is my path to monetization, to grow Everywhere is Queer into a business," said Sprinkman. "What I really like about it is that I have control over the app. It's my app. I get to do what I want. I don't have control over the algorithm on social media, and I don't love that. I don't want to rely on social media partnerships to run my business. I also want to be able to really partner with brands that I align with."?

Just version one of the app, Sprinkman sees future branding expansions with LGBTQ-supportive companies, and a possible subscription service that could offer monthly Zoom calls with business owners. But they always want to keep the fundamental service — a community search tool for queer spaces — free.?

"If we can bring the traffic to the app, have dedicated users, and then have thousands? of businesses have a premium listing and be seen and supported by queer and allied and trans people — this is a win, win, win, win, win, win, win, win, win, win!"?

In an era of ongoing concerns about data privacy, especially for marginalized communities, Everywhere is Queer has also pledged to protect its users. "I understand as a queer person how hard it is to be a queer person," Sprinkman said of finding safe digital spaces. "We're updating our privacy policy to let everyone know that we're not ever selling your data or giving your data to anyone. We also want people to make an account, as a little bit of a safety measure. It's one way of trying to keep this app in the hands of the right people, because you do have to give us your information."

What has truly sustained the Everywhere is Queer business over the last two-ish years is the daily positive feedback the pocket-sized team gets. They describe constant messages from people who have found their next inclusive barber or gender-affirming doctor and its radiating effect on their lives. "It's those little experiences that queer and trans people deserve."

"Everywhere is Queer is not just Charlie," said Sprinkman. "This is thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that are seeking community. To every person that shares my platform, I say you're helping other people. You're not just helping me, you're not helping yourself, you're helping other queer and trans people to feel seen and heard."

Everywhere is Queer is available to download for both iOS and Android.

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