Queering the Map story project

Mapping Queer Histories, Designing Queer Community: A sociological study of Queering the Map

Queering the Map is an innovative online platform. People anonymously pin their experiences, memories and histories to an online global map, and each pin contains a unique micro-story of queerness. These are stories of the meaningful and mundane experiences of LGBTQI+ life. They form a living archive, collectively building new forms of community across the globe. A complex mapping of queer people’s experiences in Australia is emerging.

In this project, we are interested in peoples’ experiences with the site and how they understand it. As well as highlighting spaces where people have experienced trauma and discrimination, Queering the Map is covered in stories of joy, discovery, love, friendship and community. These are stories that, in their individual and collective forms, resist heterosexuality as normal and standard. We are working to uncover what lies beneath some of these stories, extending discussions on how queerness is understood and lived. GU ref no: 2019/532.

In late 2019 we scraped nearly two thousand stories from the site — at the time, all those pinned to Australia. Throughout 2020 we also interviewed people from across Australia who had used the site, either reading or posting stories themselves. Thank you to all who participated, we are so appreciative of your contributions.

 Australia as seen on the Queering the Map platform (www.queeringthemap.com), captured November 2, 2019.

Our research team includes: Dr Ash Watson from UNSW Sydney; Associate Professor Emma Kirby from UNSW Sydney; Dr Brendan Churchill from the University of Melbourne; Dr Brady Robards from Monash University; and QTM designer Lucas LaRochelle.

Research Publications
Kirby E, Watson A, Churchill B, Robards B and LaRochelle L (2021) Queering the map: stories of love, loss and (be)longing within a digital cartographic archive. Media, Culture and Society. OnlineFirst 21 January 2021.

Robards B, Watson A, Kirby E, Churchill B and LaRochelle L (2020) Queering the Map: Physical traces and digital places of queer lives. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11319.

If you’d like more information about the project or have questions about accessing our publications, you can contact the project lead at ashleigh.watson @ unsw.edu.au.

You can also follow us on social media for project updates, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.