Let’s get out there and live our lives in a way that is free from judgement or prejudice.

It was a hot summer Sunday, in England of all places, and I made my way over to London from St. Albans to my very first LGBTQ+ gathering in Soho. It was a women’s only get-together to mingle and network within the local community, and I had a ticket!

I had met the person who got me the ticket via my personal Instagram, which I use to document my thoughts on transitioning, and she ran a page that helped promote LTBTQ+ businesses, one day I requested that she promote my photography business in her page, I was transitioning my business as much as I was transitioning myself, and I wanted to test the waters after adjusting my website to reflect my changes.

We’ve hit it off from there and eventually I had a virtual ticket to this LGBTQ+ gathering inSoho. To make thing easier me and her arranged to meet up first, have a drink, and then walk together to the venue, a local pub. Obviously the London trains being the London trains were barely working on a Sunday, so I was late…

Eventually I made my way into the heart of Soho, I missed it so much, the shops, the bars, the cultural variety. I hadn’t lived in London for the best part of the last 4 years, and to me it was my home away from home (Lisbon will always be my first).
It was absolutely baking hot, but I finally found the bar we were supposed to meet at, and there she was, with a wave I joined her at her after a kind but gigantic bouncer showed me in. Sitting at one of those tall tables was Jodie, and she was cooking up a genius idea in her brain…

We talked about a variety of things, hindered by the noise I had difficulty understanding much, in fact I don’t recall a thing we spoke about, except that one idea she had.
She didn’t give me a name straight away, but the concept was something worth pursuing. It was a Google Maps for us, for all of us, for the community, from the community. I never heard or found anything like it.

It’s a niche idea, for us all, and I remember thinking “this might just work”. Currently you can go onto Google maps and maybe you can find a business that has tagged itself as ‘women-led’ and/or ‘black-owned’, these were features implemented by Google in 2018 and 2020 respectively, and although these are nice extra tools to help these businesses, it’s not quite enough, not for the LGBTQ+ community anyway.

We’re always having to look out for ourselves, and a prime example of this are transgender people. I’ve put off having my hair treated and styled, I’ve put off doing my eyebrows, my nails, all because I just don’t know how well I would ‘pass’ once inside the salon. How much context would I have to provide? Is it a dead give-away when I mention I wear a wig and need to remove it for hair treatment? What else will they ask? How much do I tell? What if I’m 38 and I’m doing my ear lobe piercings for the first time? That alone is suspicious. What if they see the wig cap as they are piercing? What if I’m doing my nails and they see larger than normal ‘manly’ hands?

And perhaps most importantly, how will I be treated after they find out or become suspicious?

These are all valid questions to anyone in the LGBTQIA spectrum. We need more, we need to know which businesses are actually emphatic to us, businesses that not only tolerate us, but also accept and are happy to have us. Businesses that embrace the variety of people’s gender and orientation with a smile rather than scorn or disdain.

And this is what Jodie’s Queerys aims to achieve, it’s a safe space for us, for the entire community. We can walk into a business listed in Queerys and know that we will be treated humanely, with compassion and care, we will be a valued customer. Queerys listings will either be owned & led by LGBTQ+ members or by its Allies. And therefore, I decided to sign up my photography business to Queerys, because I would want to be able to find LGBTQ+ community safe services when I first came out, and if this can help achieve that for all of us out there, closeted or not, then that makes this new platform worth it.

In my case, my business revolves around photography, I am an events, weddings, and portrait photographer based in the UK. I am the founder and owner of Andreia Quinta Photography, which is my start-up business established in 2016. I am also a transgender woman, so I want to make sure that anyone – regardless of who they are or how they see themselves – can approach me knowing that this is an LGBTQ+ friendly business. I try my best to market myself as a safe-space, and it works, people have a different type of trust with me because of it, and Queerys is just another tool that I can use to tell everyone that I’m out there, that I’m with you, and that I am part of you, of our community.
I wish Queerys the biggest success, I hope it thrives and gives all of us the trust we need to go out there and live our lives in way that is free from judgement or prejudice.

Thank you, Jodie, for taking this step, I think we needed it.

Andreia Quinta

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  • e.andreia.quinta
    25 November 2021 at 18:12

    Thank you for featuring me on your blog! <3

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