Yesterday was my and Erin’s first book fair — the Rainbow Book Fair in NYC. For me, who once worked at Lambda Rising in Washington DC and enjoys the occasional foray into retail work, it was fantastic to be in a queer book space. While LGBTQ+ bookstores are increasingly a thing of the past, LGBTQ+ book fairs have actually been growing, both in number and size.
Not only did the book fair bring us a decent number of sales and a sense of personal achievement (from “hey, we’re written a lot of stuff” to “Erin survived driving in NYC”) it also meant that we got to say hi to an incredible range of people we know, including online friends, author and publisher peers, and a woman I was in a sorority with I haven’t seen in 20 years. We talked to LGBTQ+ people of my generation and older about the evolution of labels and identities and how that challenges us and what we can do to support queer people in rural communities. Erin knit in public (apparently stamping her lesbian card in the process) and we got to meet the organizer of the OUT WRITE LGBTQ+ book fair we’ll be at in DC this summer.
Basically, it was a huge giant win. And if you were a part of it — in person or online — we just want to say thank you. And if you weren’t, we’d like to encourage you to check out similar events that may be happening near you. They do a tremendous amount to provide historical continuity that has often been tremendously (and tragically) difficult for our communities to maintain.
At one point, after I’d been chatting with someone who had visited our table for a while, Erin turned to me and said, “Now I know where Victor comes from.”
I smiled, and couldn’t resist wagging my finger at her just a bit. “No. Now you know where I come from.”