Tag Archive: LGBT


The question of what makes an individual gay, nature vs. nurture, has finally been answered. The toys we were brought up on did it! Happy Holidays and enjoy!

With “Mission Accomplished,”

Lambda Rising to Close at Year’s End

Lambda Rising, known for 35 years as Washington’s “bookstore that celebrates the gay and lesbian experience,” has announced the imminent closing of their two stores in Washington DC and Rehoboth Beach DE.

“The phrase ‘mission accomplished’ has gotten a bad rap in recent years,” said Deacon Maccubbin, Lambda Rising’s founder and co-owner, “but in this case, it certainly applies. When we set out to establish Lambda Rising in 1974, it was intended as a demonstration of the demand for gay and lesbian literature.”

Maccubbin explains that it was virtually impossible to find gay books in general bookstores or even in libraries. “We thought if we could show that there was a demand for our literature, that bookstores could be profitable selling it, we could encourage the writing and publishing of glbt books, and sooner or later other bookstores would put those books on their own shelves and there would no be less need for a specifically gay and lesbian bookstore.”

“Today 35 years later, nearly every general bookstore carries glbt books, often featuring them in special sections,” Maccubbin noted.

“The other part of our mission was to make good glbt books and information available to anyone anywhere at a time when such items were very hard to find. Today, people almost anywhere can access glbt information on the internet.”

Maccubbin founded Lambda Rising on a shoestring – the initial investment consisted of $3,000 he had saved and another $1,000 borrowed from a local gay activist. When the store opened June 8, 1974 in a 300 square foot room in a townhouse on 20th Street NW, it boasted 250 gay and lesbian book titles. “That’s all there were at the time,” Maccubbin explains.

But it was enough to capture the attention and the loyal patronage of Washington’s glbt community. It also captured the attention of anti-gay forces – phone harassment was an almost daily occurrence, bricks were hurled through windows, and police had to bring their bomb-sniffing dogs following some threats. But the staff held their ground and kept the doors open seven days a week. “Over the years, we have been blessed with wonderful staff members, people who shared the vision and who were committed to being on the front lines of the battle for glbt equality every day. I will forever be grateful to them,” Maccubbin said.

There were challenges outside the store, too. Some publications, including the Washington Post and the Yellow Pages (then published by Verizon’s predecessor, Bell Atlantic) refused to accept advertising containing the words “gay” or “lesbian” until Maccubbin threatened boycotts and public campaigns. Lambda Rising even broke international ground when, in February, 1975, it ran the first gay-oriented television commercials ever aired anywhere in the world. Both the NBC and ABC affiliate stations in Washington first refused to accept the ads, but following a successful appeal to the National Association of Broadcasters’ Standards Office, both stations recanted and aired the commercials.

Other milestones followed: in June, 1975, Lambda Rising hosted the first annual Gay Pride Day, drawing over 2,000 people to a block party that was the precursor to today’s massive DC Pride Day. “We hosted it for the first five years,” Maccubbin said, “but when the crowd grew to 10,000 in 1979, it was too large for the 3-block space we had, so we turned the whole thing over to a non-profit foundation to run in subsequent years.” That event now attracts more than 200,000 participants each year.

In 1977, having outgrown the original 20th Street space, Lambda Rising moved around the corner to 2012 S Street NW (now the site of TD Bank). That same year, the store launched a national mail order service with a catalog that eventually reached a quarterly circulation of a quarter million copies.

By 1984, the store had once again outgrown its space. In November of that year, Maccubbin and his husband, Jim Bennett, who had begun managing the store, moved it to its present home, a nearly-5,000 square foot two-story building at 1625 Connecticut Avenue. The Mayor declared that opening day “Lambda Rising Day in the District of Columbia” and more than 200 people waited in line for the door to open on the new space. That same weekend, Maccubbin and Bennett opened their first satellite bookstore in Baltimore MD.

Other stores were to follow in Rehoboth Beach DE (1993) and Norfolk VA (1996) and, in 2003, Maccubbin stepped in to buy New York’s Oscar Wilde Bookshop, saving it from imminent closure. Oscar Wilde was the first gay bookstore in the world when it opened in 1967. It had been the inspiration for Lambda Rising and other glbt bookstores. Maccubbin spent three years building up Oscar Wilde’s stock and customer base, then sold the store to its manager to put the store back in the hands of a New Yorker. Unfortunately, the financial crisis proved to be more than the small store could weather and the new owner had to close that store earlier this year. (Lambda Rising’s Norfolk store closed in 2007 and the Baltimore store closed last year.)

In another effort to encourage writers and publishers to produce quality glbt books, in 1987 Maccubbin began publishing the “Lambda Book Report,” a bimonthly review of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender literature. That publication spawned the  “Lambda Literary Awards.” The first “Lammys” were given out in a black-tie awards ceremony held in Washington DC in 1989. Lambda Rising continued to shepherd both the review and the Lammy awards until 1986 when it turned the whole program over to a new non-profit organization, the Lambda Literary Foundation, which continues to run the annual awards program today.

The staff of Lambda Rising brought hundreds of authors to their various stores over the past 35 years. The largest crowds turned out for celebrity authors like Andy Warhol, Sandra Bernhardt and Olympic Gold Medal Diver Greg Louganis (whose appearance drew a record 2,000 fans to the bookstore), but popular authors Armistead Maupin, Rita Mae Brown, E. Lynn Harris, Leslie Feinberg and many others could also fill the store and even new and unknown writers would often draw substantial crowds of eager readers.

The book and gift shop was known for its community outreach, sometimes traveling many miles to set up temporary book nooks at Pride events in Asbury Park NJ, Columbus OH, Raleigh NC, Roanoke VA, and other cities that had no local glbt bookstore. Fundraising for non-profits was also a constant part of Lambda Rising’s operations; through ticket sales to community events and concerts, through donations of cash or merchandise to hundreds of non-profits, the store raised and contributed amounts ranging from about $25,000 in lean years to nearly a quarter million dollars in its more robust years.

“Closing the store now will certainly leave something of a hole in Washington’s literary and political scene,” Maccubbin surmises, “and even though I’m excited about the opportunities that will open up for us as we move into the next phase of our life, there is a bittersweet component to it all. But the book market has been changing dramatically, the glbt community has been making progress by leaps and bounds, and 35 years is enough time for any person to devote to any one thing. It’s just time to move on.”

“We’ll continue operations at the DC store through Christmas because we want to give DC one more great Christmas window display,” Maccubbin notes. Bennett, who took a leave of absence from the store’s day-to-day operations in 1999 but has continued as an officer, will be coming back to the store to install this year’s holiday display window. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed and I know so many customers get a kick out of our campy, kicky holiday displays, so we’re going to pull out the stops for this year’s,” Bennett said. He added, “I spent 20 years working in Lambda Rising and it was a marvelous experience. The store has touched the lives of so many people – it was never just a bookstore, but always so much more. Every day I went to work there, I knew I was doing something that made a difference.”

“We’ve already brought in our popular line of glbt holiday cards, and we’ve got a wonderful new line of campy Christmas tree ornaments. We’ll be running some great sales through the holiday season,” Maccubbin promises, “then a huge liquidation sale right after Christmas, with closure tentatively scheduled for early January.”

For information, contact:

Deacon Maccubbin, 202-462-6969

1625 Connecticut Ave NW • Washington DC 20009-1013

Phone 202-462-6969 • Fax 202-462-7257 • www.lambdarising.comshop@lambdarising.com

The east African nation of Uganda is on the verge of passing a bill criminalizing homosexuality. There is a growing campaign against homosexuals in Uganda which has culminated in the draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill. David Bahati, the bill’s author, has gone on record stating “Homosexuality is not part of the human rights we believe in” that the legislation is about promoting family values.

The bill, which is still in committee stage, proscribes the death penalty for “serial offenders” and is expected to pass with little opposition and with a few minor changes. The changes are expected to include modifying the death penalty to life imprisonment, altering clauses nullifying international treaties, conventions and protocols that contradict the act, and removing a section about extradition.

“It’s catastrophic. People are being arrested, intimidated already. What’s going to happen if it’s passed?” said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group.

Kate Sheill, Amnesty International’s expert on sexual rights, has issued the statement that “Certain provisions in this bill are illegal. They are also immoral. They criminalize a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse.”

The legislation is seen as another sign of the growing impact of U.S. evangelicals and anti-gay campaigners in Uganda. This stance taken by activists is countered by Bahati who has stated that homosexuality is a Western import, joining some Ugandan and continental religious leaders who believe it is un-African.

The act will criminalize anyone “who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality”, and a person in authority who “aids, abets, councils or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality”.

Frank Mugisha of SMUG has stated “We’re not going to stop. We’re going to challenge it in the constitutional court. The bill is not just about homosexuals, it can touch anyone.”

The east African nation of Uganda is on the verge of passing a bill criminalizing homosexuality. There is a growing campaign against homosexuals in Uganda which has culminated in the draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill. David Bahati, the bill’s author, has gone on record stating “Homosexuality is not part of the human rights we believe in” that the legislation is about promoting family values.

The bill, which is still in committee stage, proscribes the death penalty for “serial offenders” and is expected to pass with little opposition and with a few minor changes. The changes are expected to include modifying the death penalty to life imprisonment, altering clauses nullifying international treaties, conventions and protocols that contradict the act, and removing a section about extradition.

“It’s catastrophic. People are being arrested, intimidated already. What’s going to happen if it’s passed?” said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group.

Kate Sheill, Amnesty International’s expert on sexual rights, has issued the statement that “Certain provisions in this bill are illegal. They are also immoral. They criminalize a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse.”

The legislation is seen as another sign of the growing impact of U.S. evangelicals and anti-gay campaigners in Uganda. This stance taken by activists is countered by Bahati who has stated that homosexuality is a Western import, joining some Ugandan and continental religious leaders who believe it is un-African.

The act will criminalize anyone “who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality”, and a person in authority who “aids, abets, councils or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality”.

Frank Mugisha of SMUG has stated “We’re not going to stop. We’re going to challenge it in the constitutional court. The bill is not just about homosexuals, it can touch anyone.”

Lambda Rising Bookstore is pleased to announce a special appearance of Author and Porn Star, Aiden Shaw, Thursday December 3rd at 7:30pm.  Aiden will be here to answer questions, sign books, and take pictures with adoring fans.

Time: Thursday, December 3, 2009 7:30 p.m.
Location: Lambda Rising Bookstore

1625 Connecticut Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-462-6969
About the Book:

Sordid Truths chronicles Aiden Shaw’s asent from being just another broke and very horny college boy, who dabbled with the idea that he chould sell his young body for hard cash, to becoming the internationally renowned adult film idol.

After finishing just one year of his BA degree Shaw was twenty-one and easily lured away from study by the lusty mix of sex and money in London. Within a short time on the scene, he gained infamy and was something of a celebrity wihtin his field. Peddling his flesh took him to the steamy underbelly of the U.K.’s decadent capital city in the late 80’s. Here he rubbed shoulders and other body parts with wealthy, weird, and wonderful eccentrics, famous- and famously closteded-Euro trash personalities and the celebrated elite.

However, working as a prostitute turned minor league once gay porn sensation Chi Chi La Rue took polariods of Shaw naked and aroused and launched his career. His rise to stardom has been documented by the adult industry’s leading studios in more than fifty films that have won him numerous awards and even more notoriety as the complex and multi-talented character that he’s become known by many.

About the Author:

Aiden Shaw is the author of the bestselling memoir My Undoing: Love in the Thick of Sex, Drugs, Pornogrpahy, and Prostitution, which follows chronologically the events of Sordid TruthsShaw is also the author of three novels, BrutalWasted, and Boundaries, as well as a volume of poetry, If Language at the Same Time Shapes and Distorts Our Ideas and Emotions, How Do We Communicate Love?

These non-ticketed events are free and open to the public. Please contact Linsey Pecikonis at 202-462-6969 for any more information or links to the Author Page, advertisements, images, or Facebook Event information.  For more upcoming events, please visit Lambda Rising’s website.

HIV Testing at Whitman-Walker Clinic in DC: Anonymous or confidential testing for HIV is offered to the general public at all Whitman-Walker sites. HIV testing is free of charge but donations are suggested. Whitman-Walker Clinic uses a rapid HIV test that delivers results in less than an hour. Testing is available without an appointment. The Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, 1701 14th St. NW, Mon/Weds 9am-7:30pm, Tues/Thurs/Fri 9am-5pm. Max Robinson Center, 2301 MLK Jr. Ave. SE. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. For more information visit http://www.wwc.org

I recently contributed to one of the biggest iPhone blogs in the country! Take a look at my perspective on the Top 5 Gay iPhone apps! Top 5 Gay iPhone Apps

The Washington Blade Shuts Down

By now I would imagine everyone is aware of the situation involving The Washington Blade shutting (and locking) it’s doors. The Washington Blade was owned by Window Media LLC,  the nation’s largest gay and lesbian newspaper publisher also owns Southern Voice, South Florida Blade & 411 Magazine, Genre Magazine amongst other LGBT publications. The company was forced into receivership by the federal Small Business Administration earlier this year.

Around 11:20am this morning via Twitter the below statement was issued:

@WashingtonBlade: “Washington Blade, like all Window Media publications, is closing today. Thank you for your support. (Keep following us for developments.)”

The Washington Blade can only be described as an institution of Washington DC LGBT life and to say it will be missed is an understatement! The best can only be wished to all those who have been displaced at this very sad time.