What is the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division?

A government agency for a government that does not yet exist. An independent, all-volunteer cultural center for queers and friends. A queer bookstore. A queer event space. A dream come true.

Where is the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division located?

The Bureau is located in room 210 (second floor) of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, between 7th Avenue and Greenwich Avenue, on the unceded land of the Munsee Lenape, now known as New York City. Take the stairs to the second floor and make a right at the corner on your right. Or take the elevator to the second floor and make a left when you exit. The Bureau is the last door on your left.

Previously, the Bureau was hosted by Strange Loop Gallery from November 15, 2012 through the end of August 2013, and resided at 83A Hester St. from September 2013 through September 2014.

The Bureau acknowledges that our organization operates on the unceded land of the Munsee Lenape. We encourage you to join the Bureau in signing up to make a monthly donation to the American Indian Community House’s Manahatta Fund.

“The Manna-hatta Fund,” according to its website, “is an invitation to all settlers and non-Native people who wish to acknowledge the legacy of theft and genocide that comprise the history of New York City and the United States.

“The people who inhabited this land at the time of European arrival, including the Munsee Lenape, Canarsee, Rockaway, Wappinger, Manahatin, Reckgawanc, Unkechaug, Matinecock, Haudenosaunee, and more, were brutally annihilated, assimilated, or displaced altogether to create European-led settlements and government. The violence of colonization is ongoing even while millions of Native people follow in the footsteps of their ancestors to repair and restore their communities.

“Native survival in the face of such violence and loss requires community, and for 52 years the American Indian Community House has been a lifeline for the estimated 111,000 Native people living in New York City. Acting as an intertribal hub for our metropolitan region, AICH provides health and wellness services, cultural events, community, and a voice for Indigenous Peoples. 100% of all Manna-hatta Fund donations go directly to American Indian Community House.”

Find out more and make a donation at: mannahattafund.org

Is the Bureau ADA accessible?

Yes! Take the street entrance ramp (to the right of The Center’s main entrance) and you will find an elevator behind the Information and Referral desk (to the left of the staircase). Take the elevator to the second floor and make a left when you exit, The Bureau is the last door on your left. A ramp leads into room 210, where the Bureau resides. Bureau volunteers are happy to assist visitors who need help reaching books and other merchandise. ADA accessible all-gender bathrooms are down the hall from the Bureau.

When is the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division open?

Wednesdays – Sundays, 1 to 7 PM

Does the Bureau have an online store?

Yes! Click here to visit our online store. If you would like to order a book that does not appear on the online store, please send us an email at contact@bgsqd.com and we will let you know if we can order it.

Questions about our online store? Click here!

How can I help the Bureau of General Services–Queer Division do what it does?

Thank you for asking! We can always use volunteers to help with the day-to-day work of running the store and with events. We also welcome you to contact us if you have experience with non-profits, fundraising, queer/lgbt organizations, bookstores, website programming, or anything else that you think might be of particular help to the Bureau. Stop by the store or send us an e-mail at contact@bgsqd.com to let us know how you would like to help.

As an independent, all-volunteer project, the Bureau also needs your financial support. We have no paid staff. The money we make from sales goes right back into the business. We rely on sales and donations to cover our operating costs. Find out how to donate

If you are an author you can encourage your readers to purchase your books from us (yes, we ship!). We also ask authors to actively discourage your readers from purchasing anything from Amazon, given that company’s ruthless business practices, which have had devastating effects on so many small businesses.

Finally, you can spread the word about the Bureau via social media (the Bureau is on Facebook and Instagram) and by telling other human beings about the Bureau in real time and space. Thank you!

What services does the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division provide?

The Bureau provides queers and friends with a stimulating selection of books, publications, and art works and a space for socializing, debating, learning, and organizing. To order books from the Bureau’s online shop click here. The Bureau also presents a variety of events including author readings, lectures, book clubs, performances, film screenings, and workshops. The Bureau expects to provide services that it has yet to consider, so please contact us if you have ideas: contact@bgsqd.com.

Why is the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division?

NYC lost two important queer resources when A Different Light closed in 2001 and Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop closed in 2009. Queer bookstores in New York, and around the world, have played vital roles in supporting, stimulating, educating, and advocating for queers. These closings inspired us to create a space where queers could not only find books by and about ourselves, but also find each other, share ideas, exhibit art, perform, listen to each other, inspire and encourage one another, and enjoy each other’s work and company.

Bookstores such as Bluestockings and Three Lives and Company are wonderful resources for queers in NYC, but the Bureau is convinced that NYC is big enough and queer enough to sustain an event space and bookstore specifically dedicated to serving the queer communities of NYC and the many queer visitors to our city.

How does the Bureau of General Services–Queer Division define “queer”?

The Bureau defines “queer” in the broadest terms possible. The Bureau primarily seeks to serve people who identify with any of the following terms: “queer,” “transgender,” “trans,” “intersex,” “bisexual,” “lesbian,” “gay,” “non-binary,” “gender non-conforming,” “Two-spirit” (among other terms used by people who do not identify as heterosexual/straight and/or who do not identify as either male or female), and the Bureau welcomes all people who support those who identify with these terms. By reclaiming the term “queer”—conventionally used to deride those who do not comply with compulsory heterosexuality and the rigid gender binary—self-proclaimed queers have provoked a discussion that goes beyond questions of sexual orientation and gender. “Queer” urges us to recognize all bodies that are refused representation in and recognition by the institutions that dominate our societies. “Queer” speaks for all who are ostracized, marginalized, criminalized, colonized, and demonized. “Queer” calls for play, uselessness, fun, sex, love, compassion, and justice.

Why does NYC need independent bookstores?

Independent businesses, in general, are crucial to neighborhood ecosystems because their owners and employees are both personally and professionally invested in the health of the neighborhoods they inhabit and the communities in which they participate. When you shop at an independently-owned local business you are investing in the neighborhood in which it is located and the communities that it engages. Independent bookstores serve our communities in many ways: we are sites for face-to-face dialogue between members of the community, sources of knowledge about the community, clearinghouses for information about local resources, advocates for the community, champions of civic involvement, and nurturers of local writers, artists, and activists.

Other independent bookstores in NYC that you should know and love:

Bluestockings: bluestockings.com
Bookbook: bookbooknyc.com
The Community Bookstore: communitybookstore.net
Dashwood Books: dashwoodbooks.com
Greenlight Bookstore: greenlightbookstore.com
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe: housingworks.org/bookstore
Idlewild Books: idlewildbooks.com
Left Bank Books: leftbankbooksny.com
Mast Books: mastbooks.com
McNally Jackson: mcnallyjackson.com
Molasses Books: Molasses Books on Facebook
Revolution Books revolutionbooksnyc.org
Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers: spoonbillbooks.com
Strand Book Store: strandbooks.com
Three Lives & Company: threelives.com
Unoppressive, Non-Imperialist Bargain Books: unoppressivebooks.blogspot.com
WORD: wordbrooklyn.com
Word Up: wordupbooks.wordpress.com

Will the Bureau sell my book?

If you would like the Bureau to sell your self-published book, please write to us at contact@bgsqd.com and send us a copy or drop one off at:

@ The Center
208 West 13th Street Room 210
NY, NY 10011

We sell self-published books on consignment. We offer the author 60% of the list price and the Bureau retains 40% of the list price for all copies sold. If no copies have sold after 90 days, we ask the author to retrieve all unsold copies.