Lambda Rising is the oldest LGBT bookstore in Washington, D.C., and has long been recognized as one of the world's leading LGBT bookstores. Started by Deacon Maccubbin in 1974 with 250 titles, it is now known for its wide selection of books, ranging from queer theory and religion to erotica, as well as DVDs, music CDs and gifts.[1]

The main store's location is on Connecticut Avenue in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It also has a location Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. A third store in Baltimore, believed to be the only gay bookstore in Maryland, will close in the spring of 2008 after being open nearly a quarter-century. Director John Waters declared the store's closing "very, very sad". Waters, a long-time customer, said the Baltimore shop was "a seriously good bookshop, with the added touch of porno. ... I always went in there to find books that I didn't know about and couldn't find anywhere else."[2] A fourth store in Norfolk, Virginia, closed in June 2007.[3]

File:Deacon maccubbin.jpg

In February 1975, Lambda Rising ran the world's first gay-oriented television commercial; it aired on WRC (owned by NBC) and WTOP (the local CBS affiliate, now WUSA). Also in 1975, Lambda Rising organized Capital Pride, Washington's first annual Gay Pride celebration, and continued to host the event for the next four years before turning it over to a non-profit organization.[1][4]

To support LGBT literature, Lambda Rising created the Lambda Book Report in 1987 and the Lambda Literary Award in 1989. In 1996, Lambda Rising helped form the Lambda Literary Foundation to take over both of those tasks.[5]

In February 2003, Lambda Rising bought the Oscar Wilde Bookshop, the world's first gay and lesbian bookstore, and saved it from closing. The Oscar Wilde Bookshop, founded by Craig Rodwell in 1967, is located at the corner of Christopher and Gay Streets in Manhattan.[6] After working with the New York staff for three years and getting the store on solid financial footing, Lambda Rising sold the store to the long-time manager in order to return the store to local control.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sue Levin, In the Pink: The Making of Successful Gay- and Lesbian-Owned Businesses , Haworth Press, 1999. ISBN 9780789005797; Frank Muzzy, Gay and Lesbian Washington D.C., Arcadia Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0738517534
  2. Rona Marech, "City's Gay Bookstore Closing After 24 Years," Baltimore Sun, February 29, 2008.
  3. Connor Adams Sheets, "Lambda Rising to Close at the End of the Month," The Virginian Pilot, June 19, 2007.
  4. Will O'Bryan, "Firmly Rooted," Metro Weekly, June 9, 2005.
  5. Rhonda Smith, "Bracing For Change," Houston Voice, July 8, 2005; Nomi Schwartz, "Lambda Literary Foundation Announces Major Changes," Bookselling This Week, June 16, 2005.
  6. Marc Santora, "Plot Twist for a Gay Bookstore: The Last Chapter Actually Isn't," New York Times, February 4, 2003; Lisa Neff, "The Importance of Being Open, " The Advocate, March 18, 2003.
  7. Karen Schechner, "A Greenwich Village Landmark Turns 40," Book Sense, October 10, 2007; "Lambda Rising Bookstores Announce Sale of Oscar Wilde Bookshop," Echelon Magazine, March/April 2006.

External linksEdit

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