by Zoë Pollock

Andrew Belonsky considers the many small gay and lesbian bookstores across America that were forced to close this year:

Suddenly the dollars and cents of these businesses appears to be something else: a much larger discussion over whether it's best to have a "gay only" space safe from a sometimes hostile world? Or would it be better if gay become blasé, and we were fully integrated in the culture at large? Does self-segregation serve a purpose, or should the end goal be complete, seamless assimilation?

At their inception, gay bookstores weren't simply about wordsmiths. They were an organic outgrowth of a repressed culture, the manifestation of a collective need and want; they were part of a revolution. ... The closures of OutLoud, Lambda Rising and the rest prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that LGBT people aren't fringe at all. We're mainstream precisely because we're struggling under the same recession as the rest of America. 

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