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Mexico’s iconic LGBT bookstore celebrates pride after overcoming the crisis

Mexico City, Jun 23 (.) .- The iconic Mexican bookstore Somos Voces, considered the largest LGBT-themed in Latin America, celebrates pride after overcoming the covid-19 crisis that kept it closed and in uncertainty for eight months. The establishment is part of the Zona Rosa of Mexico City, where it offers more than 20,000 titles of genres such as novels, poetry, children’s stories, gender studies, social sciences and literature of gay, lesbian and trans voices, explains this Thursday to . Ernesto Reséndiz, member of the team. “It is the largest in Latin America because it is the one that has been maintained for 12 years of intensive and diligent work, and it is also a space that, due to the titles it offers and the physical dimensions, is the largest in size,” says Reséndiz . Its shelves offer titles by pioneers of the movement, such as Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman, but also highlight iconic figures of Mexican LGBT culture such as Salvador Novo, Nancy Cárdenas and Luis Zapata. Reséndiz, who has been part of the history of Somos Voces since he attended as a Literature student in 2009, compares it to the Spanish bookstore Berkana, located in the Chueca neighborhood of Madrid. “Spanish LGBT editors have visited us and are surprised by Somos Voces because they say ‘this place is incredible’, because it not only has the space of the bookstore, but also a cafeteria and a cultural forum,” he says. A RAINBOW AFTER THE CRISIS We are Voices comes to LGBT pride month, which is celebrated in June, after overcoming the Covid-19 crisis, which has caused a 50% drop in book sales and the closure of three of each 10 bookstores, according to data from the Association of Libraries of Mexico (ALMAC). “For an independent bookstore, being closed for eight months is almost a declaration of final closure, disappearance and extinction, in Mexico City they have closed eight bookstores, some of them old-fashioned bookstores, others (were) independent bookstores similar to Somos Voces “Reséndiz laments. Now the place hopes to bounce back with pride festivities, which include a reading of gay poet Orlando Mondragón with mezcal, a screening of films about HIV and a stand-up comedy show on Saturday, the day of the march. In addition, the site started an LGBT book club and in August it will celebrate its anniversary with a photo exhibition. “Fortunately, our family and the work team have all the heart and enthusiasm to be resilient, to rise up from the strong economic crisis,” says Reséndiz. AN ESSENTIAL SPACE The establishment has also proven to be an essential place for the LGBT community, which has faced discrimination in the pandemic due to confinement and the lack of safe places to relax. Apart from being a bookstore and cafeteria, it is a cultural center where activist groups such as Opción Bisexual and Divu AC meet, which promotes diversity in science. “This space was also a forum for discussion and for creating close ties and ties between people and political alliances for activism, so Somos Voces is not only a private business, but a much-needed cultural and activism space,” argues Reséndiz . While touring the bookstore, Reséndiz proudly shows off the titles it holds, ranging from stories that teach about diversity and classics of Mexican LGBT literature, to unique books from other countries and transgressive stories. The writer expresses that books are “a powerful mirror”, so that in the stories that Somos Voces offers “human diversity is expressed with all its colors and nuances”. “It is a basic need, in fact literature itself is diverse, but promoting representations of diversity in literature is a political and aesthetic practice, from literary art, very necessary to vindicate historically invisible collectives and populations,” he concludes. . (c) . Agency

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