So, last night was the New York Writer Dykes event at The Bureau of General Services – Queer Division at the LGBT Center in Greenwich Village. First, I want to say thank you to everyone who came. I hope you had a good time.
I was really concerned that the bad weather was going to keep people away. And it did keep a few away. But we got a fairly good turnout. I’d estimate about 20 people showed up.
The bookstore is a very small space and is undergoing construction. You wouldn’t even know there’s a bookstore there because you have to enter through a gate, walk into an alley/parking lot, and open a steel door. Upon my description, someone told me that it sounds like a speakeasy, and that’s kind of what it felt like—like we were going into a secret, illicit place.
Frankly, it was a bigger turnout than I was expecting, apart from weather considerations. And people readily asked questions. Which I think says something about this type of event.
New York City has one of the largest gay communities in the United States (perhaps the largest, depending on what list you look at and criteria they used). Yet our gay bookstores are dwindling and, therefore, so are opportunities for NYC-based readers and writers to gather and meet.
With each bookstore closing, it’s like our significance in the world gets pushed back a step. Of course, there are many reasons for bookstores of any type closing—online sellers, the advent of ebooks, and, in New York, soaring rents. But when heterosexuals lose a gathering place, their opportunities to mingle with other like-minded people simply move to other locations. For gay people, especially in smaller cities and towns, those choices are much more limited.
So, when a space like the General Services Bureau—Queer Division offers opportunities for gay writers to share their work and meet their readers (and potential readers), it’s such a gift. The staff at GSBQD were awesome hosts, and Ann Aptaker did a fabulous job putting the event together. Things like this are never easy to coordinate. The other writers involved were Susan X. Meagher, Cindy Rizzo, and Jane Hoppen, although Jane was unfortunately sick and couldn’t join us.
I think the only person who sold any books was Ann (yay, Ann!) but I think it was a success for all of us. Hopefully, more events like this will happen and more spaces like GSBQD will become available in NYC and around the country.