Throughout a tins when our community spaces to be noodles or inaccessible, one dynamic duo ins maintaining ns fire alive.

You are watching: Bureau of general services queer division

This mainly i hADVERTISEMENT ns pleasure that having a digitatogether chat through Greg Newt~ above and also Donnie Jochum, ns co-founder of NYC’ns queer social hub – the office that basic services – Queer Division. Ns bureau ins a bookstore, gallery, and also cultural Gap the hosts a wide variety of events including things prefer ns NY Queer Zine Fair, the NYC Comic Fair, Book releases, collection openings, workshops, and also panels. Greg and Donnie to be Among ns initially queer folk in NYC come welcome ns into the human being when ns arrived around salso year ago. In this interview we discuss just how castle are continuing that work in digital spaces together the pandemic persists in ns joined States.

thank friend for acquisition the moment come chat via us at Present yourselvens and also office of general services Queer division (BGSQD).

GN: give thanks to girlfriend for ns invitation! we are Grzb Newttop top and Donnie Jochum, co-co-founder of the bureau that general Services—Queer Division, a queer bookstore and also event Void in NYC.

Greg Newton and also Donnie Jochumns bureau is one of ns queer social hubs of ns city. What impact go ns NYC “sanctuary in place” bespeak have on ns Bureau? What was disrupted and wcap ins happeninns now, nearly eighns month later?

GN: we to be for this reason sADVERTISEMENT come need to postpa ns opened of Paul Moreno’ns solo exhibition, difficulty Areas, i m sorry hADVERTISEMENT to be scheduled because that Friday, in march 13th—the day the facility shut down. Us hAD come postpone all of our upcomes occasions and also exhibitions, however us started hostinns online occasions in April, and we’re currently hostinns one to two online events each week. Us likewise launched a online save in September, through ns help the our wonderful volunteer Karlyn Murphy.

What type the occasions are happening online?

GN: Since ns shutdvery own began, ns bureau has organized online events via queer zine makers; a british queer activist with a fabulouns dashboard the activists native Lond~ above and new York; a trans coloring Book artisns joined by the author that a queer/trans novetogether because that middle-great students; the writer the an illustrated children Publication top top Keith Haring; the editor and contributorns come a Publication top top LGBTQ world and also healthcare; LGBTQ activists in Idaho; a queer writer and activisns native Nigeria who operation a shelter for asylum seekerns here in NYC; and also a panel that queer southern artist hosted by you, Dudgrick Bevins!

What reoccurring or upcoming events should we get exquote for?

DJ: TELL, the monthly queer storytelling event founded and also hosted by Drae Campbell, is stiltogether going strong! Drae started this exorbitant series at the bureau in 2014 and also us relocated it virtual in May. With a different design template for each month, TELtogether gives a platform to 3 come 5 queer people invite by Drae come tell a story native their lives. Now the the event ins online, we’ve hADVERTISEMENT storytellers sign up with indigenous together much ameans as Los Angeles and also Beirut!

i recognize diversity and consist of are constructed into ns fabric of BGSQD, yet just how are twater tap values enplot in a digitatogether space?

GN: the schoice that publications the us sell top top our online save is ns Most concrete way the us highlight the complicated intersection the many idreality wislim ours varied community. When issues of gender and sexuality to be central to any discussion the queerness, us additionally seek out publications that situate gender identity and sexual orientati~ above in relationship to ns dynamicns of class, race/ethnicity, age, physical appearance, religion, geography, nationality, language, HIV status, disabilities, physical and also psychological health, political and also social affiliations, education backgrounds, and historical contexts.


DJ: We’re additionally reasoning around diversity and also consists once us Publication events, although we might definitely work-related ~ above thins even more conscientiously. So many that the occasions us host have to be initiated by othair that method the Bureau, which suggests that us to be often reenergetic fairly than proactive. Thins is partly intentionatogether in the us desire programminns to be identified by members that ns community. But us additionally acknowledge that us need to actively and intentionally reach out to engAge those who nothing know around ns office or who haven’ns thought about collaboratinns with us.

with no clear end in sight, what are y’all planning because that the development the your digital presence and digitatogether society work?

GN: We’re going to proceed hostinns online events and broadening our online inventory on our digitatogether store. We’re reasoning that various other means that us deserve to serve ours community while ours physical save remains closed, and us incredibly much welcons ideas, suggestions, and help! we used to speak the the primary company that the office uses is space. Now the Gap we have to market is exclusively in ns digital realm: ours website, weekly emails, society media pages, occasions ~ above Zoom, and also ours Youpipe channel.

i’m so happy the y’every have found means come proceed your area building in ns pandemic. Deserve to friend tell uns a small around how ins every started? the genesins that ns Bureau up to, let’s say, march 13th, 2020?

DJ: In September 2011 us were walkinns near ns former location the A different light Booksave (which closeup of the door in 2001) once us first thought that opening a queer bookstore. Us continued fantasizing about ns idea, and by the finish that that year we committed ourselves to the project.

GN: ns hADVERTISEMENT learn in July 2011 the ns 2011-2012 academic year would certainly it is in mine last year that full time employmenns in ~ Parsons ns new school that Design, i beg your pardon led ns come begin questioning mine goal of completing my doctor in arts background from the CUNY Graduate facility and proceeding via a career in academia. The principle of co-Founding a queer bookstore appeared like a lot even more fulfilling and also amazing days! Thankfully, Donnie hADVERTISEMENT a stable job the would certainly support uns therefore the we i will not ~ need to count on ns bookstore because that income.

DJ: In so late 2011 and throughout 2012 us associated via independenns booksellers, publishers, authors, artists, and also othair in ns LGBTQ social world because that advice and also recommendations, and Grzb volunteered at Bluestocmajesties end ns summer that 2012. Via the majority of assist native friends and volunteers, we released ns bureau together a pop-uns shop at Stvariety Loons collection on the lower east side in November 2012. Founded by partners Claire Fleury (fashi~ above designer) and also Alesia Exum (photographer), Strange Loons already hADVERTISEMENT a queer following, i m sorry was good because that help uns fulfill for this reason many kind of exorbitant civilization who have actually stayed friend and also supporters.

GN: we finished uns staying much longer 보다 suspect in ~ Starray Loop—through respectable 2013—hostinns every type the events: readings, performances, movie screenings, exhibiti~ above openings, discussions, and workshops. Complying with ns advice of artist AA Bronson, us sassist “yes” much even more 보다 us shelp “no” as soon as civilization approachead uns around hosting occasions or offering their publications and art.

Ha! i understand thins is true, Since friend sassist yes come my Kintsugns publications event!

DJ: if ns crowdcapital campaign we hADVERTISEMENT launched the summer the 2013 elevated over $20K—through ns assist that therefore many kind of great queer artists, performers, and donors—us hADVERTISEMENT ambitioucracked hoped come raise $50K in bespeak come secure a llull for a booksave and also café on the lower eastern Side. Looking back, we recognize that $20K is the majority of money because that a small company that wtogether not also a year old! and the money permitted uns come continuously operate the bureau for one more year in a upstairs Gap ~ above Hester Street, ideal around the corner from Strange Loop.


GN: In our initially couple of years, we participated in many type of offwebsite events, lugginns publications come offer in ~ Book fairs, queer literature events, and also various other cultural occasions come assist spreAD Words about our project. We worked our assens turn off and shed even more money 보다 we take it in, but us also got many love, encouragement, and also help.

DJ: In at an early stage 2014, the filmmaker and founder that Queer|Art, Ira Sachs, reached out to us and also said we soptimal with the administration the ns LGBt area center in ns West VillAge about partnering up. Us were thrilled that the facility offered us a room because that a very below-market renns just as ns facility was finishing major renovations to ns building. The office opened in ~ ns facility in October 2014 and we’ve been tright here ever before Since doing what we do: giving an area cursed to queer human being and also culture.

Ins tbelow any kind of means ns deserve to stiltogether obtain books from ns Bureau? (feel totally free come speak about ns work that creating it, why buyinns indigenous an independent booksave ins better, anything).

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GN: correct! please check the end ours online keep! we Currently have actually around 200 titles available, and we’re adding even more each week. Gift certificates are additionally available. Jeff Bezos, whose wide range has actually raised by end $90 billion Because ns start the ns pandemic, continues to be ns world wealthiest individual with a network worth the end $200 billion. For this reason you"re welcome support independenns bookshop like ns office insteAD that Amazon. You will do it feel better around yourself if friend do!

Wcap ns ideal way because that uns to stay approximately date with ns Bureau and also see previous events?

DJ: us send out a weekly email eextremely Monjob that contains ns Bureau’s upcoming digital events and also news that other queer activities we recommend. Friend have the right to sign uns for the weekly email here. We’ve posted recordingns the every one of our virtual occasions top top the Bureau’ns Youpipe channel, wbelow girlfriend deserve to also watch videos of Some of the many kind of events that we’ve held over ns years.