Best chapter in Atlanta's LGBTQ story

Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse

Staff Pick

The final chapter closed on Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse on January 28, 2012, ending the bookstore's 18-year reign as a crucial focal point and gathering spot for Atlanta's LGBTQ communities and their supporters. Phillip Rafshoon opened Outwrite in 1993 in the Midtown Promenade shopping center before moving it to its larger and final location at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in 1996, helping transform that corner from dreary intersection to bustling destination. The shop, its porch, and even the sidewalk outside became memorable gathering spots for readings, meetings, vigils, celebrations, and protests. Outwrite drew a steady stream of visitors, neighborhood regulars, and gay youth looking for a safe place to meet, have coffee, and chat. There were book-signings by celebrities including RuPaul, Star Jones, Greg Louganis, Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, and Chastity Bono. Outwrite also hosted a steady stream of literary giants such as Armistead Maupin, David Sedaris, Edmund White, and Alan Hollinghurst. Despite its popularity, Outwrite faced the challenges shared by many independent bookstores in recent years. Rising rents, the economic downturn, and changes in the way people buy and read books eventually forced the shop to close for good. Outwrite acted as a crucial hub for the LGBQT community and helped the city earn its title as the Gay Capital of the South.

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