For many in the queer people, giving back to the community is of utmost importance, especially when it comes to hiring for creative projects and endeavors. However, the unfortunate reality is that most creative industries are dominated by cis-hetero people, but that’s something that’s about to change. Enter the Queer Creatives Community Directory, a centralized spreadsheet directory that serves as a queer online version of the Yellow Pages.
The brainchild of graphic designer and drag artist Untitled Queen, who “resides on the stolen land of Lenapehoking (so-called Brooklyn),” the free-to-use directory is an effort to connect members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community via a masterlist of creatives with specialized skill sets.
While there are already several essential directories for queer designers and Black trans femmes in the arts, the Queer Creatives Community Directory wants to provide a wider range of services, directly connecting you with queer creatives of all stripes across all imaginable industries, including illustrators, marketers, ASL interpreters, burlesque performers, DJs, tarot readers, tattoo artists, actors, florists and building contractors, among others. So whether you need someone to build a shelf, paint a mural, read your natal chart, paint your portrait or act as an on-set intimacy coordinator, the directory’s got you covered.
After all, Untitled Queen explained that the LGBTQIA2S+ community can only self-sustain via internal support and contributions, especially since many members face a lot of “disadvantages in the workplace.” Not only that, but a good portion also don’t have a lot of workplace security or benefits as freelancers, performers, sex workers, etc. But on the flipside, that also means “we’re all hustlers to the max who wear a million hats.”
“So having a resource like this is really great, because people can [use the directory] for visibility,” she said, adding that she found herself “looking for someone in the community that can fulfill a job” almost daily.
“Often, I would be [looking for someone] and found that other people were also really looking for the same thing,” Untitled Queen said, mentioning that many community members are also searching for self-made individuals and small business owners, rather than a corporate-based service provider.
“I think people are just trying to put the money back into us, because how do you help these folks? Give them money,” she continued. “That’s, straight up, probably the best strategy for any kind of mutual aid, fundraising or community health program — putting money in the pockets of this community and, I think, that’s what people liked the most about this list.”
Granted, this is something that Untitled Queen knows all too well. A well-known community organizer, she’s spent years organizing events like the Brooklyn Ball, which benefits LGBTQIA2S+ organizations and providers such as Callen-Lorde, and putting together digital shows for drag artists of color from across the nation and around the globe.
Much like her other grassroots efforts though, Untitled Queen decided to keep things as accessible as possible by having her friend and Google Spreadsheet wizard, Jess Ramsay, assemble the directory from almost 1,400 Google form submissions. And the end result is an “anarchic, old-school, PC turning on sort of thing” spreadsheet that feels “very like Web 1.0” which, in the age of infinite apps, is an apt reflection of Untitled Queen’s entire D.I.Y. ethos.
Perhaps most importantly though, by having a queer-specific resource like this, it’s also much easier to find someone with “the sensitivity and the knowledge of what goes on in this community that we need for ourselves or for our projects.” And the best part is that it’ll only keep growing, as Untitled Queen and Ramsay continue to update the directory every month.
“One example is queer wellness and anything having to do with body stuff, so a lot of people are looking for queer tattoo artists, people who know from the get-go,” she said, also adding that discrimination and unsafe experiences can also come from using non-queer services like moving companies.
The only thing is that given the project started with Untitled Queen’s particular network, many of these creatives are based in New York City. However, “anybody from anywhere” is welcome to submit, with location proving to be less of a barrier for those who can work remotely. By virtue of this, Untitled Queen also pointed out that the directory has the ability to provide work opportunities for those living outside of the five boroughs, thus creating a nationwide network of queer creatives, with the hopes of many more to come.
“We don’t usually have those support systems built in, so to survive we have to do what we have to do and, usually, that means looking out for each other,” Untitled Queen said. “This is kind of just an extension of that.”
Check out the Queer Creatives Community Directory here.
Welcome to “Internet Explorer,” a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter’s finest roasts, “Internet Explorer” is here to keep you up-to-date with the web’s current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.