Queeraz on a device near you!
Last year I said “Stop the world — I want to get off”... and I got off in Canberra! I had lived in the capital as a teenager and like many of us growing up queer* in what felt like a giant country town, I fantasised about escaping it. A one-way ticket to the USA when I hit 18 was just what the doctor ordered.
Photo: queeraz.com was founded by Ineke Hodge.
Following a 25 year stint living in America and later Sydney, I returned to Canberra in 2016 with a kid in-tow and a desire to feel more connected to the local LGBTIQ+ community. As it happened, my old school buddy/coming-out comrade Danny Corvini was also in town for a spell. The Canberra-born citizen of the world was bursting with stories about Amsterdam and a new global LGBTIQ+ website based there he’d become the chief editor of queeraz.com which will launch worldwide in August 2017.
Rather than scoring hookups, queeraz is about orienting yourself in new surroundings, finding like-minded mates and spending your pink dollars on, well... pink businesses. It’s like an LGBTIQ Facebook where you can post whatever you want without your born-again friends or relatives throwing you shade. That’s combined with a travel directory, where you can find all of the LGBTIQ businesses and events from every corner of the globe as well as the latest news, reviews and interviews.
With the queeraz worldwide launch, I was granted special access to queeraz.com so I could write this article.
The first thing I noticed when I logged on was the ease of moving from Canberra to the whole of Australia and onto the entire world feed just by moving a bar at the top of the page. You can filter what appears in your feed by choosing tags, so I set my profile to show articles about ‘rainbow family’, ‘drag’ and ‘writing’. And when you’re travelling, you can change your profile to that new location to find the local queer attractions, opt to meet locals and/or other travellers and see what they’re talking about on the local feed.
The site was founded by Ineke Hodge, an Australian woman who ran a Sydney burger chain until she moved to Amsterdam in 2009. Ineke set out to create a site that connects global queer communities like they’ve never been connected before. She describes the moment that she was inspired to create it:
“I was on a remote island in Thailand with my partner. Everyone around us was straight and after a few days, we were desperate for a bit of ‘gay’,” she laughs. “We wanted to meet up with queer travellers for a drink and find the cool things the locals were doing. I started thinking about life at home and I realised that there are often great things I miss out on because I’m not following the right people. I don’t just mean parties, but art exhibitions or local queer things, like gay tango, sport or community initiatives.”
That sounds familiar!
Joanne Falvey is a Canberra-based writer whose latest story ‘No Ticket… Nevermind’ is out now on Amazon. This is her first time writing for FUSE.