Thursday, December 6, 2012

Support Queer Books

Support New York City's independent queer bookstore. Oh, wait, New York doesn't have a queer bookstore--Oscar Wilde, A Different Light, they all shuttered and became boutiques or condos while we were busy shopping on Amazon.

But now there's BGSQD, The Bureau of General Services Queer Division (a mouthful of a name), also known as The Bureau. I interviewed the co-founder here and he talked about how important it is for an LGBTQ bookshop to exist in Manhattan, the borough that is becoming blander by the minute.

Now is your chance to support The Bureau's endeavor. They've got a pop-up bookshop open now at 27 Orchard Street and a Lucky Ant drive running for the next two weeks. They're hoping to raise $15,000.

Please visit their Lucky Ant page and send them some money (there are prizes). Consider it making amends for every book you bought on Amazon. Thank you.


John K. Friedman said...

Not sure why you demoan the loss of LGBT bookstores in NYC or anywhere there's a large, vocal, accepted and assimilated gay population. This trend speaks to the continued mainstreaming of the LBGT population in our society. It's good thing, not a bad a thing.

Marty Wombacher said...

I tried to pledge but it wouldn't take my credit card verification code.

Anonymous said...

@John, the trend speaks to the "blandifaction" of the LBGT population in NYC. Those bookstores have been replaced with maternity stores and pricey boutiques. How much more boring can you get? "Assimilation" into the mainstream is not all good.

A Different Light was a fantastic meeting place. A place to go just to browse and/or possibly meet someone (which has happened to me in the past) Shopping for books online or even at Barnes and Noble is not the same.

But then again, the world/NYC is not the same. As long as gays have GRINDR, we won't need bookstores.

Anonymous said...

doesn't it seem problematic to disregard Bluestockings?

Jeremiah Moss said...

Greg mentioned Bluestockings in my interview with him. i considered it, and i love Bluestockings, but they identify as "a radical bookstore" not an LGBTQ bookstore. while they carry many queer books, that is not their focus. their scope is broader.

Greg Newton said...

Hi all,
I'm Greg Newton of the Bureau of General Services–Queer Division, and I'd like to respond to John K. Friedman's comment that "there's a large, vocal, and accepted and assimilated gay population." John, it is true that some LGBT people (including national LGBT organizations) do seek "acceptance" as they attempt to assimilate to the dominant culture. I find this sad that those of us who have been pathologized and criminalized because we do not submit to compulsory heterosexuality or because we do not comply with the gender norms of our society would then ask to be accepted by those who have claimed a position of superiority and dominance based upon narrow definitions of "normal" or "healthy" expressions of sexuality and gender. To my mind that's like asking an abusive parent or lover for acceptance and affirmation. Shouldn't we confront the abuser in order to stop the abuse and to challenge any justifications for this behavior?

The Bureau is a space for queers who are not asking anyone to "tolerate" or "accept" us. The Bureau is a physical space where queers and allies can gather to talk, to socialize, to perform, to present and view art, to debate, to organize, to celebrate, to mourn, to love, and to learn. We welcome you to join us.

Kristina Feliciano said...

"Manhattan, the borough that is becoming blander by the minute." I totally disagree. It's Brooklyn that's becoming blander—a borough increasingly populated by faux-hemian types who dress the same, a place where every other new restaurant has the warm industrial look (subway tiles, reclaimed wood, Edison bulbs) and the rest are created around a theme (I grew up in Orlando and know a manufactured look when I see it). The best places there are the ones that have been there forever, before Brooklyn became a brand. The new stuff—well, mostly it's a collection of cliches.

I agree that Manhattan has lost so much of its texture, its complexity. That's been happening at a rapid pace for the past 10ish years (I've been here 20). It's barely worth mentioning anymore. What Manhattan does have going for it, though, is that it's no longer the hot spot—Brooklyn is. And as a result, you don't have to be part of a scene or be a type to live here. Move to Brooklyn and you're joining a cult/ure. Manhattan earned its stripes long ago and is settled, mature (and is home to NYC's oldest gay bar, Julius—worth noting in the context of the above blog post). Brooklyn is like a teenager who is constantly admiring himself in the mirror.

Here's to Manhattan, which for me remains magical and infinitely compelling despite all it flaws.