This LGBT+ History Month, we’re delving into the individuals, organisations and institutions who embody 2021’s theme of ‘body, mind, spirit’. First up, an independent bastion of London’s literary scene and leading light in the LGBT+ rights movement: iconic bookshop, Gay’s The Word.
Settled in London’s leafy Bloomsbury, Gay’s The Word first opened its doors in 1979. Inspired by similar bookshops in New York, it’s currently the only one of its ilk in England and with 40+ years of bringing in its stride, it’s fair to say that queer history hums within its paperback-stacked walls. The site has played host to preparations for Britain’s first ever Pride marches, regular (pre-COVID) signings, reading groups and events celebrating LGBT authors, and has overcome instances of controversy and vandalism - its visibility both a siren song to those seeking support and acts of homophobic window smashing.
Community is key: alongside the wide range of LGBT books in across fiction, poetry, history, biography, queer studies, graphic & young adult novels and merchandise, are team members keen to lend an ear to customers’ questions and queries. While Gay’s The Word and fellow community hubs deemed ‘non essential’ remain closed IRL, their social media accounts continue to reassure and provide comfort in the face of uncertainty, sharing helplines, reading recommendations and vital moments in LGBT history. Wherever you are, whatever your situation - their thriving fanbase and supportive online community are proof that you're certainly not alone.
“There are so many ways to be now. Those books are yet to be written, but they are starting to be written. Young people are throwing politics up into the air; they’re questioning everything, and that’s extremely exciting.” - Manager, Jim Macsweeney
Support this independent icon and pick up your next purchase from their site here, follow the Gay The Word Instagram now and stay tuned for more of our LGBT History Month icons and heroes, coming soon. ❤️