New app offers a global map, directory of LGBTQ-owned businesses

Screenshots of the Everywhere is Queer mobile app for Android

When Charlie Sprinkman took off on a 50-state road trip across America, their biggest anxiety was one that most LGBTQ+ folks experience: finding spaces that feel safe and affirming of who they are.

From restaurants and clothing boutiques, to photographers and tattoo artists, Sprinkman dreamed of being able to easily spot queer-centric spaces no matter his location. 

This led to a personal passion project: Everywhere Is Queer, a public resource with a searchable map and directory of LGBTQ+ owned businesses and services.

The project started as a simple website, continually growing its reach as queer business owners added their pins on the map. In October of 2023, Sprinkman quit their full-time job to dedicate all of their time to something bigger.

A screenshot of the Everywhere is Queer mobile app login page
Screenshot of Everywhere is Queer mobile app for Android/Good Good Good

As of today, Everywhere Is Queer is now available as a free app in the Apple Store and Google Play.

“I truly started EIQ though to allow queer and trans people to feel seen as their true authentic selves locally or globally as they navigate the world,” Sprinkman told Good Good Good. 

The app includes the same map EIQ users know and love — but is easier to navigate than the existing mobile website, according to Sprinkman.

The app also includes an entire Online Business section, for users who are looking for LGBTQ+ businesses without brick and mortar locations. It also makes it easier for business owners to get involved. 

Screenshots of the online business directory on the Everywhere is Queer mobile app
Screenshots of the Everywhere is Queer mobile app for Android/Good Good Good

While it’s already free to join the map through the EIQ website, the app includes a feature for users to submit a new listing, which, pending approval, will be added to the map.

“This is just version one of our app,” Sprinkman said. “I have so many plans to build this app out so it supports these businesses as much as possible.”

In the meantime, business owners can also opt for a “Premium Listing,” which comes with an invite to a private Discord channel, allowing LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to connect and network. 

“We all are working so hard and each have such a strong skill set,” Sprinkman said. “Why don't we help each other?!” 

While Sprinkman is a “one human show,” he does work with a part-time developer, Chris, who, according to Sprinkman, is also queer and dedicated to the mission of helping other members of the community feel safe and seen. 

Though the pair is excited to have the app out in the world, the work to bring it to life has been no small feat.

“The hardest thing for me is that things cost money. EIQ is not venture-capital backed or has a large lump sum of money,” Sprinkman said. “This entire project is funded off my savings and money that I have made via partnerships. Figuring out cost savings has constantly been one of the biggest challenges.”

Charlie Sprinkman, founder of Everywhere is Queer, stands in front of a green tree, smiling
Charlie Sprinkman. Photo by Cory Allen Hall

That being said, the effort to make the EIQ app into a reality has made Sprinkman feel even more closely connected to their peers who have worked for years to gain support as openly LGBTQ+ establishments.

“Unfortunately for our brick and mortar stores, sometimes it takes being successful to be heard in some local communities,” Sprinkman said. “I hope that connecting thousands (maybe even millions) of app users with physical spaces will allow for more businesses to succeed.”

In a world that is increasingly hostile to queer and trans folks — (whether through health care-denying legislation, or even violence), knowing a place is safe is fundamental to growing community, economic power — and acceptance.

“When these businesses succeed, businesses in their area will start to respect them more. When they start to get respected more, they will be able to have a greater voice for positive change,” Sprinkman said, citing gender-neutral restrooms becoming commonplace in every establishment, as an example. 

Screenshot of the Everywhere is Queer mobile app, showing a map of locations in the Denver area
Screenshot of the Everywhere is Queer mobile app for Android/Good Good Good

Ultimately, Sprinkman wants the app to be a stop before one gets to Google or Yelp, searching for a local LGBTQ+ owned business first and foremost when shopping around for, say, an auto repair shop or an art supply store. 

His wildest dream is that it can be used as an Amazon alternative, inspiring shoppers to support queer-owned retailers above the giant corporation. (“I refuse to have an Amazon account,” they said.)

But for now, he takes pride and joy in what the EIQ app is: a diverse community by and for LGBTQ+ folks.

“I know that EIQ has already connected queer and trans people with businesses all over the world. I have hope that EIQ will continue to do this,” Sprinkman said.

“The queer and trans community is strong. EIQ wants to make it stronger. I truly believe we are all in this together.”

Header images courtesy of Everywhere Is Queer

Article Details

February 20, 2024 7:30 AM
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