Bookstore staff ‘verbally abused’ over a Pride display

Staff at the bookstore had to endure anti-LGBTQ+ hate. (@browsersbookshopporthmadog/Instagram)

Staff who work at Browsers Bookshop, Porthmadog alleged they have been “verbally abused” over a Pride display. Yes, really. 

Workers at Browsers Bookshop in Gwynedd, Wales, placed a display at the beginning of June in its two front windows in support of the LGBTQ+ awareness and celebratory month

The high street store has featured Pride flags and books about the queer community – like Hooray for She, He, Ze, and They! By Lindz Amer and Bellies by Nicola Dinan- “for a few years now” during Pride Month and beyond.

“Every year, we get subjected to negative and prejudiced comments”, staff wrote on Instagram.

“I’ve even refused entry to folk based on their behaviour. This saddens me greatly – I can not comprehend that in this day and age, people are still so bigoted. If we get grief for a window display, what on earth is it like to live as a member of the community?”

Whilst most shoppers have been supportive of the display, staff alleged that a small portion of customers shouted abuse at store owner Sian Cowper, one of which even dubbed her a “disgrace”.

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The store only managed to support the queer community for four days in peace when passersby began to take notice of the LGBTQ+-friendly display and made negative comments.

Cowper told the BBC: “I went out to them – next thing, they were swearing and shouting abuse at me and calling me a disgrace.

“They were so loud that a gay couple who were in the cafe next door heard them, and came over to check I was all right.

“It was quite an insight into the prejudice that people in the LGBTQ+ community have to live with,” she said.

Staff endured three incidents on one day alone, and have continued to overhear negative comments from people passing by. Although, the staff stressed it was a small minority of people. 

Cowper is standing defiantly against the homophobic hate, refusing to change the display and proving that the shop is a safe, inclusive space for all readers.

“In a few weeks’ time, the books in the window will go back onto the shelves – but anyone who’s suffered homophobic abuse can’t just put that experience back into a box,” she rightly noted.

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