LGBT+ History Month 2023 serves to celebrate and honour our LGBT+ community at King’s from 1-28 February. By respecting and talking about the past, we aim to liberate our present.
This year, in collaboration with KCLSU LGBT+ Network and other incredible student groups, we bring you different events, activities and initiatives to increase the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans activists, their history and the struggles being still fought by this community.?A month to celebrate and honour our LGBT+ community at King's and beyond. This year's?theme, ‘Liberating Our Present', aims to?focus?on collectively moving our community forward here and now by championing intersectionality and social justice for all LGBT+ identifying individuals, to reflect on both our individual and collective histories, to challenge social norms, like homonormativity. This also means focusing our energies on supporting and empowering the most vulnerable and underrepresented in our community.?
An important part of honouring and celebrating the LGBT+ community is through open discourse, conversation and education. We have compiled a list of London’s best queer book shops and reading spaces.
Gay’s The Word
Top of the list is the UK’s oldest LGBT+ bookshop, opened in 1979, Gay’s The Word. Probably the most iconic independent bookshop, Gay’s the word was set up as a community space where profits were funnelled back into the business. Gay’s The Word holds the same ethos today; using the space for book and community events and even setting up an online shop and monthly book subscription, The Queer Book Box. Discussion groups are also held here, with the lesbian discussion group running for over 40 years.
You can visit Gay’s The Word at 66 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AB.
The Common Press
Next up we have The Common Press, which is part of Glass House, a multidisciplinary venue in the heart of East London. Glass House includes a queer bar, café, two podcast studios, event space and The Common Press, the bookshop.
Here you can appreciate the conscious intersectionality and diversity of the collection at The Common Press. You can relax with a book in the Café, or attend author talks and one of the many events that are held in the venue.
You can visit The Common Press at 118 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6DG
Opening Hours (bookshop):
Monday to Thursday: 10am-6pm
Friday to Sunday: 10am-7pm
Opened in 1945, Housmans is one of the longest running radical bookshops in the UK. Whilst not exclusively a queer bookshop, it champions the rights of minorities by promoting works written by black authors, queer writers, feminist writers and all written words by minorities fighting to have their voices heard. Housmans showcases comics by transgender writers, queer stories, and everything in between.
You can visit Housmans at 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DY.
Monday to Saturday: 11am-6:30pm
If you are looking for a bookshop and a museum rolled into one, Queer Britain is your place. Based in Granary Square, Queer Britain is a museum of British LGBT+ history and culture, the first dedicated LGBT+ museum in the UK. With regular events and exhibitions, Queer Britain is definitely worth a visit. Their book collection is based in the gift shop, and although small, it houses some fantastic authors.
You can visit Queer Britain at 2 Granary Square, London, N1c 4BH
Wednesday to Sunday: 12pm-6pm
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Free entry, no booking required
PRIM is a digital platform for storytelling run by Queer and Black people in the UK. If you are looking for digital reading material, make sure to check out their website.
56a Infoshop is a long-term volunteer-run social centre in Walworth selling books and other print on a huge variety of topics as well as a massive open-access archive where you can hang out and meet people in the space. Tea and coffee is free, as well as the meeting space for groups and book launches.
Again, whilst not exclusively a queer space, the range of topics covered in the archive at 56a Infoshop and the community-feel to the centre has put them on our list as one of the top places in London to visit if you are looking for queer reading material.
You can visit 56a Infoshop at 56 Crampton Street, Walworth, London, SE17 3AE
Reading and Writing Groups
Each of these venues offers fantastic resources on reading and discussion groups for LGBT+ folk across London. Make sure to ask when you visit or check out each of their websites.
We would like to thank the LGBT+ Network and King’s LGBT+ Society for their contributions and recommendations. Both the LGBT+ Network and LGBT+ Society will be hosting some amazing events over LGBT+ History month, so make sure you keep an eye out on their pages and the LGBT+ History Month page over the next few weeks.
We would also like to thank Vinay Jobanputra, King’s alumni and founder of Bollyqueer, a Bollywood dance space which celebrates the LGBT+ community. Vinay also works with The QSA Space, a community for LGBT+ South Asians, so make sure you check both out on Instagram (@bollyqueer and @theqsaspace).