Fighting Homophobia One Biz at a Time
Travis Lowry experienced some serious homophobia in school athletics, and wanted to do something about it. It took some serious soul-searching and time, but the Texas native finally found a way to express his frustration. Relocating to Cambridge, Mass, introduced Lowry to technological resources previously out of reach, and he founded OutGrade.com, a website dedicated to rating businesses based on their friendliness toward the LGBT community.
And Travis isn't even gay.
Together with longtime friend Conor Clary, Lowry created a website extending Google Maps that permits users to rate a business by how gay-friendly it is; launched as OutGrade this month, the service aims to reward businesses who treat the LGBT community well - and penalize those who don't.
"With the power of the Internet and the mobile web, we can now effectively hold homophobic businesses accountable for their actions and reward the friendly," Lowry explains. Users can search for establishments by name, category and/or location with filtered results based on how well they are rated to treat community members; with a quick login, members can also offer up a simple slider rating for businesses, plus crow or complain about their experiences there.
Got a business? It's easy for you to add yourself to the service, and then communicate with members who post about you. If it sounds a bit like gay Yelp, that's by design; with color-coded maps, simple interface and smart handling of raves and rants, OutGrade is a Yelp just for us.
Mobile apps are on the way; until then, visit OutGrade at outgrade.com.