'The end of an era': This LGBTQ+ bookshop is being forced out of Paris's endangered queer neighbourhood

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Saturday 18 January 2020 11:45
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Gentrification in all cities has a huge impact primarily on oppressed minorities: the working class, low income people and religious and migrant communities in particular.

But it also has the effect of dissipating social communities, and this is especially true of LGBTQ+ neighbourhoods.

Over the past decade, cities like London, New York, Madrid and San Francisco have seen their historically queer neighbourhoods become more and more desirable - and, hence, more expensive - leading to the closure of a number of establishments which catered to the community.

The latest victim of this economic inevitability is an LGBTQ+ bookshop in Paris. Les Mots à La Bouche is considered one of the best shops of its kind, and has proudly functioned as a centre of the community for 40 years. Yet now, due to rising rents in the district of Marais, is being forced to shut down.

The Guardian reports that the shop has been given until March to find a new location, or face closing down completely.

They spoke to the manager, Sébastien Grisez, who highlighted the dark irony of promoting a neighbourhood as inclusive and diverse, while also allowing rising rents to push out the focal points of the community:

Paris city hall promotes the gay history of the Marais and it has painted the crossroads here in rainbow colours, but no longer having our bookshop here seems absurd.

He continued:

Ten years ago, there were far more gay bars here, now only a few are left. It’s true that gay sociology is changing – people are more spread out, there is perhaps less need to meet in bars when you can meet on apps. But even so, people regret that this neighbourhood meeting point is disappearing.

The move has been called "the end of an era" by locals, who say the area is "increasingly losing its soul", as its working class and queer roots are being forcibly dragged out of the ground by property speculators and luxury retailers.

A sad day for the LGBTQ+ people of Paris. We send hugs and rent control vibes your way.

HT: The Guardian

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