Gay history at your fingertips

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Information is easier to retain, and learning more fun, when the material is interactive; the new app Quist seeks to use that “to bring queer history to the world.”

Available on both Android and iOS, Quist presents users with information focused on “LGBTQ events of note” that occurred on this day in history; there is also an Explore option, allowing users to view a list of events on any date (search by day and month, or by year), or in any country. Each event has a brief summary, along with the source used—and links to further information, which can be anything from Wikipedia pages to books or movies on the topic.

Anyone who has ever spent history class struggling to stay awake can attest to how boring the subject can get, but Quist is not about slogging though mind-numbing trivia in the pedagogical sense; the app’s About page lists one of its missions as making “LGBTQ history more engaging and relevant.”

It really is fascinating to see how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. For one example, Queen Christina of Sweden, crowned in 1633 at the age of six, had always “wished to be a boy,” and when she was fourteen, her tutor said of her, “She is not at all like a female.” She was known as the “Girl King” until she abdicated the crown due to her “insurmountable distaste for marriage.”

Quist’s content is largely US-centric, at least at present; events can be viewed by state, but other countries can’t be narrowed down any further. Some countries also don’t have any events listed, but to be fair, neither do some states; the app is still very new. In a press release, Quist credited “a team of volunteers from Massachusetts to Belgium” with compiling the historical content. Paradoxically, its lack of content in some locations could also be considered a learning opportunity; users are encouraged to submit events they think deserve recognition on Quist.

The founder and director of Quist, Sarah Prager, told 429Magazine, “I hope to keep adding more events to the app on a regular basis. There is still so much out there that isn’t captured. Right now there are 750 events in there, and my goal is to reach 1,000 by October to celebrate LGBT History Month.”

One of the drawbacks of the app is, ironically, lack of a history; if you’re reading something especially fascinating and the app crashes, if you don’t remember when or where the event took place, you may have difficulty finding it again, and as of yet there’s no search function.

The app also seems to run a little slow at times; there can be a delay of several long seconds between touching a button and Quist responding to it, but other times it’s nearly instant. It doesn’t help that the app’s menus could be more intuitive; some sort of help or FAQ section would be useful.

Quist is free to download due to being ad-supported; for $4.99, users can choose to upgrade to the paid version for an ad-free experience.

429Magazine

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Just another multi-disciplinary writer and bundle of contradictions trying to figure out how to get the most out of life, and make a living while I'm at it.

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