Back dans la journée, I had suggested that the library buy out Glad Day Books, the customer-hostile, musty, superannuated, perennially failing gay bookstore.
The owner put it up for sale this year, and I spent a while trying to think up a way to present the idea to TPL for real. (I did dash off a quick mail, summarily ignored.) I decided it would have to be a joint venture among TPL, probably Robarts, and the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives. The whole shebang could be bought for 50 grand tops, I figured. TPL and Robarts could split the book collection, TPL would get all the videos, and CLGA would trot away with the porn, giggling all the while.
But, sadly, Glad Day has been “saved” by a group of investors that overlaps considerably with the “LGBTQQI2S*” contingent that is systematically eviscerating gay Toronto. Glad Day will cease to be a gay men’s bookstore with significant lesbian content and will become some kind of amorphously defined multicultural community hub that will help blacks, Muslims, and trannies feel better about themselves.
Frankly, if that was the option on the table, the store should simply have closed. And the best form of closure would in fact have been the complete buyout I envisioned, which, an article in the current Fab suggests, could have been done for at most $20,000.
Glad Day was a store with great inventory that you could barely stand to enter, let alone shop in, because of obnoxious management and staff. It will now devolve into a store with a political ideology that will denude the stock of anything male and repel what amounts to its core customer base. Had TPL and partners bought out this failing business, it would have been possible to place a hold on wonderful and hard-to-find gay and lesbian books and movies from anywhere in town and enjoy them in the comfort and privacy of your home – without being ignored by staff listening to John Scythes holler his half of a conversation from the back room or having Michael Went or El-Farouk Khaki offer a quick re-education course on how you are actually the oppressor.
None of this is hypothetical
I wrote this after perusing Querelle: The Film Book at Reference.
The library is a place that knows what freedom to read really means. It would have stewarded Glad Day’s collection responsibly and for the common good. The new owners view the collection, like gay men, as problems to be solved.