Title

Books and Bars: Expanding Community Ties Through a Bookstore By and For Lesbians

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

Bookstores are consistently involved in building community, connecting people, and expanding awareness and knowledge. Bad Habits, located inside the lesbian hangout Hershee Bar, was a prime example of these efforts. As part of this project on Bad Habits, I conducted archival research in Our Own Community Press, other regional gay newspapers, and local city directories. Bad Habits was a bookstore run by and for lesbians and feminists. Though the bookstore was only open for about four years in the 1990s, Bad Habits became nationally recognized. It was mentioned in the Feminist Bookstores Catalog published in Austin, Texas, as well as in Naiad Press' list of the top one hundred booksellers in 1994. Bad Habit's owners felt it was extremely important to give back to their community. They often worked with Norfolk’s lesbian organizations and legal defense funds, and took part in Breaking the Ice, Old Dominion University's yearly winter pride festival. In addition, I researched the historical context of LGBT-friendly bookstores as well as bookstores attached to or located within bars, and why these were important to their communities. Bookstores, especially for marginalized groups, are essential for community building, and Bad Habits' proximity to the lesbian-centric Hershee Bar made it easy for both businesses to have clientele cross over to the other.

Presenting Author Name/s

Catharine Cipriano

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Cathleen Rhodes

College Affiliation

College of Arts & Letters

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

Session Title

College of Arts & Letters UGR #1

Location

Zoom

Start Date

3-19-2022 3:30 PM

End Date

3-19-2022 4:30 PM

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Mar 19th, 3:30 PM Mar 19th, 4:30 PM

Books and Bars: Expanding Community Ties Through a Bookstore By and For Lesbians

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Bookstores are consistently involved in building community, connecting people, and expanding awareness and knowledge. Bad Habits, located inside the lesbian hangout Hershee Bar, was a prime example of these efforts. As part of this project on Bad Habits, I conducted archival research in Our Own Community Press, other regional gay newspapers, and local city directories. Bad Habits was a bookstore run by and for lesbians and feminists. Though the bookstore was only open for about four years in the 1990s, Bad Habits became nationally recognized. It was mentioned in the Feminist Bookstores Catalog published in Austin, Texas, as well as in Naiad Press' list of the top one hundred booksellers in 1994. Bad Habit's owners felt it was extremely important to give back to their community. They often worked with Norfolk’s lesbian organizations and legal defense funds, and took part in Breaking the Ice, Old Dominion University's yearly winter pride festival. In addition, I researched the historical context of LGBT-friendly bookstores as well as bookstores attached to or located within bars, and why these were important to their communities. Bookstores, especially for marginalized groups, are essential for community building, and Bad Habits' proximity to the lesbian-centric Hershee Bar made it easy for both businesses to have clientele cross over to the other.