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“Queer community has saved my life” A look into the free and public resource for queer-owned businesses around the world.

Words by Cheyanne Bryan

For a lot of us that shop small, finding local queer-owned businesses is a challenge and data backs this up with less than 1% of small businesses in the US being categorised as LGBT Business Enterprises. 

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However, CEO Charlie Sprinkleman had a vision and started the website Everywhere is Queer with the goal of creating a free public resource of queer-owned businesses across the world. Recently made available as an app, Everywhere is Queer is continuing to grow and make a lasting impact on platforming queer-led establishments on a searchable map. 

But let’s start at the beginning. 

Back in 2019 Charlie was travelling around the US and told Smiley News: “I was just constantly Googling Queer-owned spaces in New York, Queer-owned spaces in North Carolina, like all over the place and was not able to find a resource.”  

Charlie Headshot 2 taken by Cory Allen Hall coryallenhall

They stated that there was not a clear and easy way to find LGBT+ businesses in various states, except from the occasional short list by the average magazine website or city-based maps. 

Charlie had a big vision and saw a gap where Queer people could have a go-to place to find community wherever they travelled. 

“Queer community has saved my life - and I don’t say that lightly” he continues, “Every queer and trans person deserves queer community. They deserve to find the people that just see them. And I wanted that for more people.”

There was a gap for locally-owned businesses by queer people to be shared publicly, not just for LGBTQ people to find businesses they would feel safe visiting, but also for queer businesses to gain more footfall and support.

How has this created an impact?

Since the beginning of Everywhere is Queer, Charlie has received praise in the thousands for putting together this valuable resource. But it wasn't without hard work from Charlie and their small, but growing, team. 

“This has been so hard, like, I don't pay myself a salary right now. And I continue to do this to build and facilitate the growth of this platform for free,” he continues “yes, I have made some money that is going back into the business. But like, I've created this entire free resource for people to use.”

The value of the impact and the hard work the small team has done to make this possible and accessible. 

Charlie hopes for Everywhere is Queer to be a self sustaining enterprise in the future but currently only able to support a small team of one designer and 

How does it work, you ask?

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Well, LGBTQ+ businesses owners are able to submit their businesses to be featured and appear on the searchable map - to access this via the app, go to the profile tab.  

Business owners are encouraged to sign up their businesses themselves and express consent has been given for them to be on the map. 

At this time, Everywhere is Queer is only putting queer-owned spaces onto the map, but welcomes allies and supporters to use the platform too and take up business with the companies. 

The app is available globally on iOS and Android, however some countries currently do not have any businesses plotted. At the moment, most businesses on the map are located in Europe, North America, and South America. 

For more information and to download the app, go to the Everywhere is Queer website here


Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

StartOut. This non-profit organisation supports LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to fairly compete in today’s business world. Learn more here.

Kaleidoscope Trust. This is an international charity fighting for a future where LGBTI+ people everywhere can live free, safe and equal lives. Find out more here.

Just Like Us. This charity empowers young LGBTQ+ people to be role models and champion equality in schools and workplaces. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs