What are 3 adjectives you would use to describe your bookstore?
Queer, accessible, radical
Why was your bookstore founded?
Finding stories that featured people like me—and people unlike me but also queer—was transformative. It made me feel powerful and seen and expanded my worldview. But it shouldn’t have taken so long to find that. I opened Under the Umbrella Bookstore so that others wouldn’t have to wait to find a space to discover and experience queer community.
Salt Lake City is one of the queerest cities in the United States, but we have relatively few queer-specific spaces. Having spaces available for queer youth to feel safe and validated is especially important, and we all deserve a space where we can be ourselves and build community. According to the 2019 GLSEN School Climate Study, only 16% of LGBTQ+ students in Utah were taught positive representations of LGBTQ people, history, or events. Under the Umbrella was created to help bridge the gap between what SLC currently has and what the city needs by providing a safe, accessible, and inclusive space for everyone.
What makes your bookstore unique?
Everything in our store is queer—literally everything! All of the books we carry are written by queer authors and/or have queer content, and everything else we sell is made by queer makers and small businesses. No matter what you purchase in our store, you are supporting QUEER. On top of that, we are dedicated to being a sober and accessible space for every member of our community. We also house a free gender-affirming closet, a little free library, and a mutual aid free store. Everything we do is meant to strengthen our queer community in all its forms.