Quist Brings Global LGBTQ History to Your Smartphone

I’ll admit that I’m one of those people that constantly knows where their phone is. On the metro? Lying around the house? Sitting at a bar earnestly hoping that I haven’t been stood up? You can bet your boots that my overpriced chunk of plastic is hidden within reach. But next time you’re twiddling your thumbs, maybe you (and I) can do something a bit more productive than checking out how many cat pics have been uploaded to Imgur. Like learning how far queer rights have come when our foremothers and forefathers stopped twiddling their thumbs.

Quist, a portable history of all things queer, launched their app on July 27th. Imagined as a This Day In History app for the LGBTQ population, the app allows users to rusers to peruse over 750 milestones in our global shared history with more events being added as the world changes.

This could be your phone via Quist

This could be your phone via Quist

I spoke to founder Sarah Prager, a social media consultant living and working with non-profits in Maryland, about Quist’s inception.

PragerAs a young professional in the social media space, I feel that it is important not only to post information to a website, but to get it out there and meet people where they are. Mobile is growing exponentially as a medium to get information out there, so I wanted to create an interactive, engaging way to bring queer history to the next generation. The idea was in the back of my head for a year before I met an app developer at a marriage equality in Baltimore last year leading up to the ballot referendum we had here in Maryland. I took it as a sign that I had run into a gay app developer that it was time to take this project on.

Quist’s mission is to “educate the world about the roots of the LGBTQ community, make LGBTQ history more engaging and relevant, let LGBTQ youth know that others have shared their struggle, and promote organizations that make LGBTQ history today and every day.” Everything from the app’s availability, to the app’s design, to the app’s name makes that history a bit easier to access. The app is free for Apple and Android users, with the option of upgrading to an ad-free version. Although it’s currently offered in English, Prager hopes to integrate a translation function into a future upgrade. As for the name, Quist (queer history) is a better descriptor than the previous LGBToday. “This was a very important change. As I was researching I realized that “LGBT” wasn’t going to cut it as a name. So much of the history was not specifically L, G, B, or T — from queer to asexual to HIV/AIDS. It was exclusionary and not descriptive of what Quist is about.”

Prager wants to remind people that no matter where they are, they’re not alone. While you can just use the app to find interesting water cooler factoids of the day, you can also look into the specific history of individual countries or American states. The stories are randomly sorted to ensure that everything gets read, but later versions may allow you to look at different categories, such as sports or law. But for now, the sleek layout ensures the app does its job of “bringing you today’s LGBTQ history.”

Exploring by country

Exploring by country

Quist wants to get us talking about how far we’ve come as we continue forging ahead. The app highlights monumental events, whether they’re local or global, progressive or regressive, heart-warming or heart-breaking. Quist features our firsts and our milestones, our moments in the LGBTQ liberation movement, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the media evolution as well as the personal love stories hidden in the past few centuries. Prager and her team of family and friends have been poring over public libraries, the Lesbian Herstory Archives and internet sites to map out each story and provide the reader with a citation-filled springboard to discover more for themselves. They’ll continue updating their timeline with over a thousand stories in time for the American LGBT History Month in October and the European LGBT History Month in February.

QuistScreen2

Prager will return to her Connecticut high school in October to continue passing on the message about Quist and our evolving history. Teaching the next generation about our legacy is of the utmost importance and perhaps school partnerships can pique their interest. She’s already agreed to take on a member of her GSA as a researcher, possibly indicating that a mobile app can make curating our history a little bit easier. Let’s help this moment go down in history.

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Hailing from Vancouver, Kristen's still trying to figure out how to survive Montreal's Real Legitimate Canadian Winter. So far she's discovered that warm socks, giant toques and Tabby kittens all play a role in her survival. Her ultimate goal is to rank higher than KStew in the "Kristen + Autostraddle" Google Search competition.

Kristen has written 140 articles for us.

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