Five queer independent bookshops to support during Pride Month (and all year round)
Posted on June 22, 2021
To mark Pride Month and Indie Bookshop Week we’re celebrating five of the best UK-based queer independent bookshops. Narrowing it down to just five was hard, so once you’ve fallen in love with these bookshops please go and explore all the other wonderful queer bookshops the UK has to offer. You can support these bookshops by shopping online or in-person, engaging with their event programmes and showing your love for them on social media. In return you will find a community of generous, welcoming and inspiring people who make the world a better place.
Category Is Books, Glasgow
Where: 34 Allison Street, Glasgow, G42 8NN
⚡ Fiercely Independent Queer Bookshop in Glasgow ⚡
Category Is Books is an independent LGBTQIA+ bookshop in the southside of Glasgow. Started by wusband and wusband team, Charlotte (they/them) and Fionn (‘Fin’) Duffy-Scott (they/them), they hope to create a space for the LGBTQIA+ community to learn about, be inspired by and share in our love of queer history, culture, writing and storytelling.
Category Is Books stock new and second hand queer books, magazines, graphic novels, zines and (lots) of badges! They also run a Pay-It-Forward scheme so that readers can pay for a book for someone in need or request a book from the Pay-It-Foward shelf. If you can’t make it into the shop, or need a book a hurry then you can also support them on Bookshop.org.
Shop with Category Is Books
Lighthouse Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop
Where: 43- 45 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB
Lighthouse is a queer-owned and woman led independent community bookshop. They are “an unapologetically activist, intersectional, feminist, antiracist, LGBTQ+ community space [who] celebrate diversity of thought and expression, championing voices from the margins.”
As well as offering an amazing selection of LGBTQ+ fiction and non-fiction they run a monthly book club that centres LGBTQ+ books, authors and readers called Other Fruit Book Club. Their next meeting is on 28.06.21 and they are reading Loveless by Alice Oseman. More info here.
Queer Lit, Manchester
Manchester’s Independent Gay Bookshop with over 1500 titles of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans & Queer focused books. Queer Lit was founded in response to the lack of shops stocking queer literature and websites bothering to dedicate space towards it. They are an online store, but, due to their success, they are putting plans in motion to open a bricks and mortar store in Manchester city centre very soon. For now, you can shop with them online.
The Bookish Type, Leeds
Where: 58 Merrion Centre (upstairs), Leeds LS2 8NG
New to bricks and mortar in September 2020, The Bookish Type is a queer indie bookshop run by Nicola and Ray. They “love having a good browse in alternative bookshops and our inspiration for The Bookish Type has come from lots of places we’ve visited over the years: Page One, Gay’s the Word, Category Is Books, Housmans, Portal and many more.”
They sell a range of queer literature including novels, children’s books, YA, memoirs, non-fiction and graphic novels. And by ‘queer’ they mean the whole LGBTIQA+ spectrum.
They have also launched a Leeds’ Hidden Queer History Tour to highlight the queer history that is all around us. From Pride to squats, from 1840s court cases to 1990s raves, you’ll see the city and its past in a new light.
Gay’s the Word, London
Where: 66 Marchmont Street, London
And, of course, Gay’s the Word. The iconic London bookshop that’s been at the heart of the capital’s LGBTQ+ rights movement since opening on January 17th, 1979. Named after the Ivor Novello musical, Gay’s The Word is part bookshop and part community space – the sort of welcoming place where staff are just happy to have a chat with anyone feeling scared, lost, confused or inquisitive. Today, a blue plaque commemorating the group’s co-founder and noted gay rights activist, Mark Ashton, can be found above the shop.
They are much more than a bookshop and host a huge range of community events – a Lesbian Discussion Group every Wednesday, a Trans London meeting every third Tuesday and an LGBTQ+ Book Group every third Thursday – and resource sharing. If you’re looking for advice on coming out, medical or legal resources, or just want to know more about organisations working for and with the LGBTQ+ community then head to their community page.