Hermance, the owner of the nation’s oldest gay bookstore, has thrown in the towel and confirmed that the store will be closing its doors next month.
Giovanni’s Room, located in Philadelphia, was founded in 1973. The bookstore caters to the LGBT community
and offers transgender, bisexual, and gay literature. Frequent shoppers and visitors of the store describe it as a safe place where the gay community can gather. Hermance said that the store has “a very strong emotional connection” to their customers.
At the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Giovanni’s Room became a safe haven for many who have been diagnosed with the disease. It was a location where they sought and found the emotional support they needed during their battle.
The gay bookstore was named after Giovanni’s Room, a James Baldwin novel that was published in 1956. The novel is set in Paris and revolves around a young man who is struggling with his sexuality.
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