New Smartphone App Recalls Key Moments

by John McDonald
Wednesday Dec 11, 2013

Are you Queer? Well, if you are there's an app for that.

Quist, which launched this past summer, is a smart phone application designed to educate the LGBTQ community on its history and important milestones. With emphasis on the "Q" part of the acronym.

"The Q stands for Queer," said Sarah Prager, creator of Quist. "It's an umbrella term meaning anything that's not straight."

The app is a colorful edition to your smartphone and provides interesting bits of information about LGBT people and those funky queers that typically come from the artistic side of society, Prager said. Quist primarily delves into history, for example on November 13, the app revealed Nazi plans to transfer homosexual prisoners to a special concentration camp in 1933.

"Top-level members of the Third Reich advise the Head of Police to transport homosexuals to the concentration camp Fuhisbuttel," read the app. For a deeper look, Quist allows the user to browse by events, country and date.

On November 28, Quist told the story of Rita Hester, an African-American transgender woman slain in Massachusetts, whose death inspired the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Prager said the daily nuggets of history can help people who identify with the LGBTQ community to gain a greater understanding of who they are.

"Much of what has become our community today did not exist 150 years ago," said Prager, a lesbian who came out at the age of 14. "In those times, a gay person might have been called a sodomite."

Prager is hoping young users will find Quist can help them in their coming out process.

"Reading stories helped me to know I wasn't alone," said Prager, who is married to her partner Liz. The couple resides in Maryland.

Quist can be downloaded on iPhones and Androids. It is free and, according to Prager, "growing every day."

The list of supporters and advertisers for Quist is quite impressive and also growing. The list includes the Vermont Gay Tourism Association, Point Foundation (a national LGBTQ scholarship fund), Gay travel directory Purple Roofs, Matthew Shepard Foundation, POZ Magazine, The Dinah Shore Weekend, and Eagle NYC, one of the oldest leather bars in the country.

Gay author Dan Savage and health coach Dillan DiGiovanni have donated their skills to a fundraising effort on behalf of Quist. Anyone donating $75 or more can get a signed copy of It Gets Better, a book Savage co-authored with Terry Miller to rave reviews and DiGiovanni a one-hour transformation session from DiGiovanni, a gay motivational speaker.

This current fundraising campaign will allow Quist to add more features while maintaining the costs of server hosting, bug fixing and basic promotion.

Prager said submissions for content are coming in from all over the world and the app will reflect such an international audience. For instance, Quist users may one day read of Kristina, the "girl king" of Sweden.

"She was a woman who did not fit into traditional female roles," said Prager, describing the Swedish monarch from the late seventeenth century.

Through the search feature on Quist, users can explore by year, month, date, location or keyword. A search under the title "Florida" brought up references to Dade County's infamous 1977 "Gay Rights" bill, Diana Nyad's recent swim from Cuba to Key West and a 1914 silent film titled "Florida Enchantment" which dealt with cross-dressing.

Important milestones in the fight for equality are also noted, particularly with more and more countries and U.S. states legalizing same-sex marriage. And if you find something that really moves you, there is an option to share the story with other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr or send it to a friend via e-mail.

Presently, there have been 14, 283 downloads of Quist.

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