Crucial Role of Safe Spaces for the LGBTQIA+ Community - Glad Day Bookshop

For many, Pride is a celebration of the vibrancy, talent, and joyfulness of the LGBTQIA+ community, and few cities do this better than Toronto every June. Last year’s Pride parade saw 200,000 marchers and 2.4 million spectators. For many in the community, Pride is also a time to advocate against the discrimination facing the LGBTQIA+ community around the world, but also at home.

At Green and Speigel, we are fortunate to work in a field where we can help effect positive change in people’s lives. In the case of LGBTQIA+ people, we often help people break free of situations where their rights are restricted, and their lives are in danger for no other reason than living an authentic life. While Canada is one of the safer countries in the world for the LGBTQIA+ community, discrimination and violence is still an unfortunate reality. Since the pandemic, hate crimes targeting sexual orientation have increased by an alarming number each year.

To feel safe in the world, especially for the most vulnerable members of our community, one must have access to safe spaces. Toronto has seen a steady decline of spaces dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community over the past decade. Glad Day Bookshop, located in the heart of Toronto’s gay village, is the oldest surviving queer bookstore in the world. Since relocating from Yonge Street in 2016, Glad Day has added an event space and café and hosts an extremely wide range of community meetings, performances, and events – many geared towards the most marginalized members of the community. Glad Day has become a safe space for newcomers and refugees, as well as those in crisis, offering referrals to victim support services, community housing, and tourist services.

However, Glad Day is currently facing eviction due to its struggles with post-pandemic debts and rising inflation. In order to survive eviction, and to receive a one-year rent reduction, the store must pay a lump sum payment of $100,000 to its landlord by July. The store has launched a fundraising campaign, requesting the public’s help to avoid eviction and (hopefully) plan for the future.

Green and Spiegel is proud to have contributed to saving this vital safe space by making a donation to support Glad Day Bookshop in its time of need. To learn more about Glad Day and make a donation if you are able, please visit their website. If you are unable to donate but still want to help save a space that means so much to the LGBTQIA+ community, please spread the word


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