New Lavender Book App Aims to Ensure Safe Spaces for Black Queer People

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Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Although the mediatization of the colors of the gay flag sometimes makes us forget the true meaning of Pride Month, there are those who keep the goal at the center.

Such is the case with the National Black Justice Coalition who, in collaboration with Out in Tech, has launched Lavender Book, a web application that functions as a search engine that shows users establishments that are safe for the black queer community.

David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said Black queer and trans people have to worry about things “most people take for granted and don’t have to think about, like whether or not a barber or beautician is going to say something that might be homophobic, or you’re going to be denied access to a cake because a baker is going to hide their hate behind religion,” NBC News quoted.

Through Lavender Book, users can narrow their search by the service they are looking for and a list of attributes, such as gender-neutral restrooms, black- or trans-owned, or LGBTQ-trained staff.

As NBC continued, the app is based on the historic Green Book, which was a guide for black travelers published during the Jim Crow era and outlined safe spaces for blacks.

“We know how much-uncompensated labor goes into finding safe spaces,” Johns said. “Black LGBTQIA+ folk, and then [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] folks with intersectional identities thereafter, spent a lot of time making phone calls and leveraging community networks to identify places where the likelihood of us being victims of verbal harassment, bias, discrimination or violence associated with actual or assumed sexual identity and gender orientation or expression will happen.”

Johns asserted that the violence faced by black LGBTQ people is nothing new. In April alone, the National Black Justice Coalition reported the deaths of at least seven trans women, all of them women of color, five of them black. So far in May, three more trans women have been murdered, all of them also women of color. 

Since the start of 2021, at least 24 trans and gender-nonconforming people have been killed, according to the Human Rights Campaign, putting the year on track to surpass the number of deaths in 2020, which HRC called “the most violent year on record” since the group began tracking anti-trans violence in 2013.

With information from NBC News.