“My biggest regret is not kissing this one guy. He died two days back,” reads one anonymous story from Gaza shared on Queering The Map, a website where LGBTQ people can document important memories from their lives pinned to any location around the world. “He died in the bombing. I think a big part of me died too. And soon I will be dead. To younus, i will kiss you in heaven.”
As the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has worsened over the last few days, anecdotes from the territory posted to Queering The Map have gone viral on social media, providing a deeply personal glimpse into the war between Hamas and Israel. The site has become so popular that it has periodically crashed.
“If I had known that bombs raining down on us would take you from me, I would have gladly told the world how I adored you more than anything” reads another post from Gaza. “I’m sorry I was a coward.”
Anyone can submit a memory to Queering The Map. Since there aren’t timestamps associated with each entry, it’s not clear when the stories from Gaza may have been added. Lucas LaRochelle, the artist who created the project in 2017, told The New York Times earlier this year that a small team of volunteers reviews every submission before it’s posted, and sometimes there is a large backlog.
LaRochelle did not return a request for comment.
Queering The Map was built using an application programming interface (API) from Google, which allows developers to create custom mapping tools with data from Google Maps. In June, the site surpassed 500,000 submissions, most of which were pinned to locations in the United States, according to the Times.