WikiQueer, an online resource for all things LGBT, celebrates it’s inauguration this week after more than a year of soft launches. Now, the non-profit wiki project allows global LGBT communities to document and edit their own collective knowledge on LGBT topics – everything from history and political timelines to people and projects.
The Aequalitas Project, a pilot partner of this project, helps get WikiQueer out of its concept phase and onto the web as a non-profit, free-content encyclopedia and resource project based on the openly editable model we’ve all come to love (and sometimes hate – but only somtimes). What makes this wiki different from all the others out there right now is it’s specifically for and by the LGBT community.
“I’d been developing the idea for a queer-specific wiki for a few years,” says WikiQueer founder and lead administrator Gregory Varnum. ”I’ve helped with dozens of pages and projects on Wikipedia and helped start a number of wikis designed for queer-related projects. However, I consistently came back to the need for a wiki by and for the queer community free of any organization politics or turf wars.”
And like Wikipedia, WikiQueer is written collaboratively by volunteers. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to WikiQueer articles – except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. However, unlike the main Wikipedia, users can also include dynamic content from existing online LGBT and wiki projects, content geared towards activism around issues, and in-depth information on the LGBT communities which may not presently meet Wikipedia’s notability standards.
The good people from groups like OutHistory and the Movement Advancement Project will also help WikiQueer along with live content from other online projects. This allows WikiQueer to collect, combine and enhance – rather than duplicate – existing work in one maintained space that’s all LGBT, all the time.
The site can also display information continuously updated by Wikipedia.
“WikiQueer enables a wealth of information about the LGBT community to be shared. It’s a far cry from the time – not so many years ago – when looking up ‘homosexual’ in the card catalog at a high school library was so often the first step to finding ourselves and each other,” says Sean Strub, an inaugural member of WikiQueer’s global advisory board and founder of POZ Magazine. “I’m looking forward to the creative ways the growing WikiQueer community will develop and utilize the information we share and collectively own.”
Watch for partnerships with several LGBT groups like Campus Pride, Family Equality Council and the Harvey Milk Foundation in the coming weeks.
“The timing seemed ideal to launch the project,” says Varnum. So stay tuned.