WHY WE NEED THE BLACK QUEER TRAVEL GUIDE
During this scary and unpredictable time, what’s keeping many of us going is creating plans we hope to follow through with post-pandemic, including holidays and trips abroad when safe to do so. However, when it comes to travel, Covid or not, there is always an element of danger and risk for Black queer travellers.
When my girlfriend and I were planning to go abroad, we found a world map and went through eliminating destinations where being called anti-Black slurs and physical threats of violence on the street are almost inevitable, as well as destinations where openly existing as two queer people would get us detained or worse.
We (very, very fleetingly) toyed with ideas of reserving affection for when we’d be back in our accommodation, in order to travel to these beautiful places we wanted to see, but the lack of resources and concern for our safety was too much. Plus, being fearful of outing ourselves isn’t the way we want or deserve to travel. But the thing is, Black queer people are everywhere, forming community and support systems - we just didn’t know how to find them and if we did, it would’ve changed everything.
That is why, across the last year, I have been working on providing global Black queer travel resources and have set up a charitable incorporated company (CIC) called The Black Queer Travel Guide (BQTG).
During the pandemic, I've spent four months speaking to over 20 Black queer activists and community organisers around the world, from Jamaica to Papua New Guinea to Nigeria, finding out about the daily precautions they take in their countries, the grassroots work they're doing in their communities and how they travel and navigate life. This research has informed the building of the resources and will continue to shape how we grow, as I'll explain more below.
Through the Tech For Better Programme , I worked with a team of developers to create a web app under the same name. While the framework is intact, the web app is not yet finished as I’m now looking to commission Black queer travel writer globally to help populate it with content. It's not perfect and we still have a long way to go but it demonstrates the work that has been done so far and what we’re aiming towards. Through this web app, Black queer travellers will be able to easily access information on legislation, culture and things to bear in mind as a Black queer traveller.
This web app is the first stage to what will eventually become an easily downloadable native phone app, showing Black queer travellers nearby locations and businesses that are Black queer-friendly or Black queer-owned (such as bars, restaurants, hotels, cultural hubs and more), as well as connecting them with local Black queer communities. However, in order to get there, I need your help.
WHAT WE’RE FUNDRAISING FOR
Stage 1: Populating and moderating the web app
As can be seen on the web app, there are placeholders for each country that we believe needed to be written by queer Black writers living in these countries or who have unmatched insider knowledge and can offer authentic information and resources.
- £500 covers the cost of logo design for the Black Queer Travel Guide
- £1,440 will cover the cost of having a moderator for the web app for 6 months
- £16,000 will cover the cost of commissioning Black queer travel writers globally to populate the web app with information and advice
Stage 2: Hiring an app development team
The long-term vision is to have a native app that allows for features like log-in capabilities, push notifications, messaging, multi-language support, booking capabilities, the ability to host articles and listicles.
- £10,000 will go towards the cost of hiring a basic development team to work on the building of the app, potentially consisting of a project manager, programmer, UI/UX designer, app developers and QA engineer
Stage 3: Developing a native app and building a global team
[I will be seeking out additional grants, accelerators and funding to aid with the covering of part of Stage 2 and Stage 3 so right now, I’m mainly crowdfunding for the first two stages.]
Alongside helping with the locating of Black queer hubs and things to do, we aim for the native app to also host content from Black queer local writers and photographers worldwide, offering insider knowledge and tips for when you visit your destination.
I plan to bring the Black queer activists I spoke to during my preliminary research as global ambassadors for the Black Queer Travel Guide, to aid in the expansion of the app and to ensure that the resources successfully cater to the different needs of all our international queer communities.
I also plan to expand the core team to include team members who will be covering sales, creative, communications and app management.
- £10,000 would cover building a team of global ambassadors and hiring Black queer local writers and photographers to build content within the native app
- £40,000 would cover the pro-rata salaries of the core team for 4 months
THE LONG-TERM VISION OF THE CIC AND ITS SERVICES
As a CIC, BQTG is committed to the Black queer communities it will be serving and as a result, profits made will be going straight into our services and supporting local queer charities and organisations around the globe.
We’re aiming to create a hub for Black queer activists to be able to share resources, advice and more, alongside creating a conference for Black queer creatives and activists to be about to share their work, research, resources and practices.
Eventually, we hope to run retreats catered specifically for Black queer people, with free retreats for younger Black queer people.
Through the afore-mentioned research carried with Black queer activists globally, it’s also clear how much support is needed by people who have been arrested, harassed by the public and police and as a result, we would also seek to support these individuals through financial support for legal services and representation.
There’s so much to think about when Black queer people travel.
You have to consider your personal safety and the safety of those you’re travelling with, particularly if you’re visibly queer, how comfortable you feel travelling with your partner(s) and more. We have to assess and reassess our surroundings and where we visit constantly. Our resources are limited and they often only pertain to ‘Black travel’ or ‘LGBTQ+ travel’, meaning that we have to forge something for ourselves in the middle - or simply google ‘LGBTQ+ rights in [insert country]’.
It’s not enough. Please consider donating to this crowdfunder to help create more options for when we travel and for us to feel a little bit safer doing so.
- Mica Coca
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