LGBTQ people of color now have a resource for finding inclusive businesses while traveling
From the 1930s through much of the 1960s, Black American travelers relied on a publication known as the Green Book.
It was a critical resource during the Jim Crow era that advised on which establishments in a given town or city -- from restaurants and retail stores to hotels and even gas stations -- were friendly to Black customers during a time in which it was legal in large swaths of the country to discriminate based on the color of someone's skin.
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Now, the premise of the Green Book has been reimagined for today in the form of "the Lavender Book." Created by the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), an advocacy group for the Black LGBTQ community, the Lavender Book is an online, crowd-sourced platform that highlights businesses that are friendly to LGBTQ people of color, according to reporting by Time.
When you arrive at the website, you can search for venues by name, city, type of space as well as filter by certain characteristics such as "Black-owned" or "trans-owned."
While it is crowd-sourced, meaning users can submit entries for places they've visited on their travels, all submissions are reviewed by the NBJC, which moderates the site. The Lavender Book launched just a few days ago, so there isn't a huge amount of listings yet. For example, there are just eight listings in New York City, two each in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Atlanta and none yet in several large cities including Chicago, Houston and Dallas.
Still, as word gets out about the Lavender Book, it will likely be a hugely useful resource for LGBTQ people of color as they travel — and it will hopefully lead to more businesses becoming more welcoming to all travelers.
The platform, which was launched with help from Out In Tech, a group that provides support to LGBTQ people in the tech industry, comes at a precarious time for LGBTQ people -- especially those in the trans community. State legislators across the nation have, according to the Human Rights Campaign in Time, introduced "over 250 anti-LGBTQ bills," at least eight of which have become law. And violence against transgender people -- especially Black trans women -- is at an all-time high.
The Lavender Book hopes to leverage technology and a more connected human network to identify places where marginalized groups feel safe and included, whether they're traveling to a new city or exploring their own home.