Gay marriage may be legal in the United States now (yay!!), but there's no denying that being a member of the LGBT community is still difficult. The start-up Queer Review, however, is working to change that by collecting the most LGBT-friendly businesses in your area. Although websites like Yelp and Angie's List already provide reviews of businesses online, there's no equivalent that evaluates the safety of the business for LGBT individuals. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need one, but sadly, it's a consideration that has to be taken into account — especially for transgender individuals.
Queer Review's mission is to provide a “peer-reviewed guide to safe spaces," according to its website. Although this will obviously include warnings of places to avoid, the founders also believe it's important to “build up those businesses that are safe spaces and hope that unsafe places will follow their lead." According to Garner, even spaces where you would expect to find acceptance can be unsafe for certain individuals. Earlier this year, a Michigan doctor refused to treat a lesbian couple's baby, and bisexual individuals frequently face discrimination from those who feel they have more "legitimate" sexual orientations.
Queer Review launches on July 27th, when it will join several other start-ups aimed at making LGBT lives easier. Just earlier this month, a Kickstarter for doctor-rating service MyTransHealth was created, and RAD Remedy provides a similar avenue for transgender individuals to find trans-friendly providers.
Like it or not, however, the world is still an unsafe place for many LGBT individuals. Although The Advocate reported last month that anti-LGBT hate crimes overall are down this year, anti-transgender hate crimes have actually increased. Trans women and LGBT people of color are especially at risk for violence, which can be seen in the shockingly high number of transgender murders in 2015.
One day, we hopefully won't need these resources. Until then, websites like Queer Review could save a life.