Category Is Books: Scotland’s Only LGBTQ Bookstore

By November 16, 2019 Bookshops, Literary Places, News

‘Category Is Books’ is an LGBTQ bookstore in Glasgow, founded and run by wife-and-wife team Fionn and Charlotte Duffy. The couple hope to “create a space for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies to learn about, be inspired by and share in our love of queer history, culture, writing and storytelling.”

Designer Fionn and Charlotte, a ‘cardboard artist’ (“once a cardboard artist, always a cardboard artist”) –  founded Category Is Books in September. The shop is currently Scotland’s only LGBTQ+ bookshop after Edinburgh’s Lavender Menace closed down in the 1980s. The only other LGBTQ+ bookstore in the UK is ‘Gay’s the Word’ in King’s Cross, London, which hit its 40th year this year.

BBC Scotland’s The Nine:  Sigrid Nielsen and Bob Orr, who co-founded the first LGBT bookshop in Scotland, speak to Charlotte and Fionn Duffy, who now own the only LGBT bookshop in Scotland.

Fionn left her job early in 2019 and by May they had the new keys to their bookstore and a date to open in September.

Speaking to Vice magazine, Fi explained the importance of a space for LGBTQ folk that didn’t involve alcohol: “In Glasgow there aren’t many other queer spaces that aren’t alcohol-fuelled. We’ve noticed there’s a lot of people who come in who we’ve never seen at evening events, and I thought we knew everyone queer in Glasgow! It’s nice to see new faces.”

The shop has a mixture of new and used books with LGBTQ themes, and a wide range of categories including Lesbian Detectives, and Books With Maps in the Beginning.

After the bookshop element of ‘Category Is Books’ is closed, they allow the space to be used for community events.

Charlotte told Vice: “We’ll support stuff that’s being run, but it’s also independently done. So we’re not choosing, but instead listening and facilitating as much as we can. Also, if something’s happened in the news that’s triggering or confusing, we have the freedom to use the space to have a conversation about it that evening. That’s a really empowering thing, to realise that there’s a space for the community.”

Best of luck to Fi and Charlotte, we hope their bookshop grows to be a successful and positive part of the Glasgow community.

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