I’m not pleased at all to report that A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco is closing its doors.
Different Light was the oldest and probably among the most beloved LGBT bookstores — nay, institutions — in the country. It opened in 1979 and has been a beacon for thousands of people since then, an iconic Castro bookstore at which prominent members of the LGBT gay literati would gather and do readings (like Armisted Maupin, for example).
Last year, owner Bill Barker told The Bay Citizen that the store was struggling financially and that digital innovations like the Kindle had hurt in-store sales.
It’s not just a store’s closing that hurts. It’s the loss of another place where LGBT people could go and be accepted, to feel safe for a while in the company of people who also identified as LGBT, and to be surrounded by books written by and for LGBT audiences. A Different Light wasn’t just a bookstore. It was a salon, a safe zone, a focal point for community, a meeting place, and a part of the tapestry that makes up the LGBT experience in this country. I’m already mourning.
Please, support your local independent booksellers, no matter how you identify.