A New Crowdsourcing App Hopes to Serve as the ‘Green Book’ for LGBTQ People of Color
As Black Americans prepared to travel in Jim Crow-era America, they might have consulted the Green Book—an extensive travel guide of hotels, restaurants, gas stations and more that welcomed Black customers. The guide, which published annually from the 1930s into the 1960s, became a crucial tool for Black Americans navigating racist and segregationist laws.
Today, following the Green Book’s model, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)—a civil rights organization dedicated to serving the Black LGBTQ community—has launched a web-based app called “the Lavender Book,” which lists businesses and facilities across the U.S. that are safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ people of color.
The crowdsourced app launched in partnership with the nonprofit Out In Tech—which supports LGBTQ people in the tech industry—and allows users to search for queer-friendly businesses as they plan travel or events. Users can curate their searches by inclusive attributes: whether the venue offers gender-neutral restrooms, for example, or is Black owned, queer owned, or trans owned. Users can also submit and review businesses they’ve visited. (The app is moderated by NBJC, so all submissions are reviewed before being listed.)
“There are unique challenges that those of us with intersectional identities face,” David Johns, the NBJC’s executive director, tells TIME. “I, as a Black same-gender loving man, know that there are many places in this world that are not accessible to me should I desire to show up with my partner, or in ways that might otherwise invite people to speculate about my sexual identity.”