Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Gay Guides of America

Starting in the 1960's a businessman called Bob Damron started publishing the Damron Address Book travel guides. The book published the names and addresses of all the gay bars Bob Damron knew from his travels across the country.

Now Mapping the Gay Guides has undertaken the task of mapping the queer geographies of all the Damron Address Books. The first stage of Mapping the Gay Guides concentrates on the American South. So far the map shows all the gay locations from the Damron Address Book for 12 southern states.

The interactive map contains the location of each entry in the Damron Address Book from 1965 to 1980. A timeline control allows you to explore these locations by year, while drop-down menus allow you to filter the locations by type and feature. The feature menu includes Bob Damron's notes on an establishment, such as whether the establishment was dangerous, raunchy, elegant and whether it had a more mature or younger clientele.

Mapping the Gay Guides includes an interesting "Vignette's" section which uses the data from the Damron Address Books to explore interesting case studies or stories from recent American gay history. For example the data is used to examine Southern Black Queer Spaces and the Paramount Steak House (a gay venue which has existed since the publication of the first Damron Address Book).

Also See

Europe Gay Guide - maps and guides to gay venues in cities across Europe
Destination Pride - a guide to the safety of holiday destinations around the world for LGBTQ+ travelers
The Pudding's Gayborhoods Guide - uses various sources to determine the gay neighborhoods in U.S. cities

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