The first online LGBT library has opened, and queer people are rushing to sign up.
The demand for LGBT literature has increased sharply in the past several years due to the legalization of same-sex marriage and the rise of transgender role models such as Janet Mock and LaVerne Cox. Finally, LGBT people are finding the courage to explore their identities, and many of them turn to books.
However, mainstream bookstore’s selections of queer literature are often small, and closeted people may feel uncomfortable browsing the LGBT books in public.
That’s where the Queer Library comes into play.
This isn’t your neighborhood public library full of stuffy librarians and strict overdue fines. The Queer Library is the Netflix of LGBT books.
Subscribers spend $7 a month in order to rent one book for four weeks. The book arrives in the mail and, like the original hard-copy Netflix subscriptions, subscribers cannot receive a new book until sending the old one back.
Every book is either penned by an LGBT author or centers around LGBT content. The massive collection, which is currently housed in activist Steven Romero’s apartment, numbers over 600.
The library’s curator, Jennifer Collins, has a very specific consumer in mind: the closeted LGBT people whose physical safety would be endangered if their sexuality or gender orientation were made public. That’s why every book from the Queer Library comes wrapped in plain packaging. The organization is based in Birmingham, Alabama, a state where being LGBT is largely frowned upon.
The Queer Library operates as part of The Change Project, an initiative that makes fine arts available to low-income people and fosters dialogue about LGBT identities through high-profile campaigns. The organization operates primarily in the Southeastern United States and the Midwest, areas that voted almost uniformly for Donald Trump and which are notoriously anti-LGBT.
Learn more at the official website.