Metro Weekly

Loyalty Bookstores hosts multiple LGBTQ discussions during May

Brian Broome, Kiese Laymon, Gabrielle Inés, and more are set to participate

Brian Broome
Loyalty: Brian Broome — Photo: Andy Johanson

Shortly after the pandemic hit in 2020, the future prospects were unclear for independent bookstores, especially those that had only recently set up shop, such as the two locations of Loyalty Bookstores in Silver Spring and D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood.

What a difference a year makes: The chain ended April with a bang, processing hundreds of orders from Independent Bookstore Day, which falls on the last Saturday in April. That’s according to the chain’s Black and queer founder Hannah Oliver Depp.

“We’ve welcomed two new booksellers into the Loyalty Team, and that is because of you,” Depp wrote in an email to customers the first week in May. “You’re helping us grow as a store, and because of that we’re able to celebrate with an incredible crew of authors and our DMV community in a way we only dreamed of when we opened just two years ago.”

Loyalty has a busy schedule of virtual discussions this month, including several involving the LGBTQ community. The upcoming lineup includes a discussion with University of Pittsburgh poet and screenwriter Brian Broome focused on his forthcoming memoir Punch Me Up to the Gods, which has been praised by Augusten Burroughs and touted as a “gorgeous, aching, and unforgettable debut” from an author who grew up in Ohio “as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys.” Broome will be in conversation with New York Times bestselling author Kiese Laymon on Wednesday, May 19.

Queens English
Loyalty Bookstores: Queens English

The next evening, Thursday, May 20, offers a discussion led by Black trans activist Gabrielle Inés with Chloe O. Davis, a Black bisexual writer based in New York who spent 15 years researching and creating The Queens’ English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases, billed as a comprehensive etymological reference guide to modern gay slang and queer theory terms — over 800 in all.

A week later, on Thursday, May 27, comes the launch party for Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives, featuring editors Bruce Owens Grimm, Miguel M. Morales, and Tiff Joshua “TJ” Ferentini and contributors L. Harris and D. Nolan Jefferson.

The anthology is billed as a one-of-a-kind collection of prose and poetry that “radically explores the intersection of fat and queer identities, showcasing new, emerging, and established queer and trans writers from around the world.”

All discussions start at 8 p.m. and are free, with donations benefiting Black Lives Matter DC. Visit www.loyaltybookstore.com.

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