Washington DC's gay bookstore, Lambda Rising, is closing after 35 years. In announcing the closing, founder and co-owner Deacon Maccubin has self-consciously declared "mission accomplished." The store's Rehoboth Beach, DE location will also close.
The website announcement includes a touching history of the 35 years of the store's existence. I'm not so much interested in second-guessing the decision to close as I am in considering what public spaces remain for various segments of the LGBT community. I know that I feel "at home" at the amazing Busboys and Poets, a gay-friendly space combining food, drink, and coffee with books and performance/meeting space. But in reviewing the comments posted on the DC Agenda website (for those of you who missed it, the Washington Blade closed last month; its staff is now working on a new publication, DC Agenda), I'm sure many commenters would need someplace different.
It's not the responsibility of a bookstore to remain just to be a gathering place or de facto community center. But there will always be LGBT people coming out who need a safe, public space that is not a bar. Where now?