How many feminist bookstores are there?

Since the 1960s and 1970s bookstores, particularly feminist bookstores, have served as important gathering places and sources of information for LGBTQ individuals. In the past 20 years, nearly 90% of these bookstores have closed. Changes to the publishing industry and political landscapes are likely reasons, nevertheless these community spaces have diminished dramatically.

(Click purple icons to get name and address information. See full list of 2014 feminist bookstores with addresses and links below map.)

Feminist Bookstores in US in 1994/5 (Total: 100)

Feminist Bookstores in US in 2014 (Total: 14, as of 15 Feb 2014)

Existing US Feminist Bookstores (as of 15 Feb 2014)

Sources for Historical Information

  • Feminist Bookstores’ Catalog, 1995 edition. Published by Carol Seajay and the Feminist Bookstore News, San Francisco, CA. (I obtained my copy directly from Carol Seajay and compiled the bookstore information into a spreadsheet.)

NOTE: The Feminist Bookstore News was founded and published by Carol Seajay from 1976-2000. It provided independent feminist bookstores with a way to communicate across their community and also for publishers and authors to access feminist audiences. The Feminist Bookstore Network was a formal association of feminist bookstore owners and operators, also tied to Seajay, which helped those within that community connect and organize. Both the New York Public Library and the Lesbian Herstory Archives hold complete collections of the Feminist Bookstore News, among other feminist and LGBTQ publications. To learn a little bit more about Seajay and the FBN, here are a couple of web references:

Sources for 2014 Information

Lesbian Bars in NYC, 1994 & 2014

The number of bars intended specifically to serve lesbians in the US is decreasing. This decrease seems to relate to a variety of societal shifts: the economic downturn, the growth of online dating, and broader shifts in how women, queer, and trans individuals identify and gather socially.

(Click purple icons to get name and address information. See full list of 2014 bars with addresses and links below map.)

Lesbian Bars in New York City in 1994 (Total: 9)

Lesbian Bars in New York City in 2014 (Total: 4*, as of Feb 15, 2014)

* As of this writing, the bar Cubbyhole appears to serve a primarily mixed crowd (no longer majority lesbian) as well as a significant non-LGBTQ clientele, so its identity as a lesbian bar is currently in flux.

NYC Lesbian Bars in 2014

Sources for Historical Information

  • The Lesbian & Gay Pink Pages, New York, Winter/Spring ‘94. Published by DAC Marketing, Inc., Chicago, IL.
  • Betty & Pansy’s Severe Queer Review of New York City: An Irreverent, Opinionated Guide to the Bars, Clubs, Restaurants, Cruising Areas, Bookstores, and Other Attractions of Lesbian and Gay Manhattan. (Various/multiple authors.) Published by Bedpan Productions, San Francisco, 1994.

NOTE: I found these resources and others at The National Archive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History housed at New York City’s LBGT Community Center.

Sources for 2014 Information