Oldest US gay bookstore to reopen in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The nation’s oldest gay bookstore will reopen next month in Philadelphia after closing three months ago due to financial problems.

Giovanni’s Room has long served as a resource, safe haven and gathering place for the city’s gay community. It’s named for the 1956 James Baldwin novel about a young man in postwar Paris struggling with his sexual identity.

Baldwin was a radical Black gay human rights activist and literary giant.

Philly AIDS Thrift says it’s taking over the shop. It had closed in May after 41 years, citing competition from online outlets.

Philly AIDS Thrift already operates a secondhand store whose proceeds benefit local organizations fighting HIV and AIDS. The group now has a two-year lease to operate Giovanni’s Room.

The group says it plans to sell books, plus housewares and vintage clothing, starting early next month.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” –James Baldwin (August 4, 1924 – December 1, 1987)

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