Bookstores are often overrun with what is typically defined as “classic” literature – a title too often attributed to straight white male authors and chronically exclusionary of queer voices. Indigo Bridge, based in Lincoln, Nebraska, is a bookstore focused on changing that definition. Their motto, “more than books,” stands for their mission of “featuring underrepresented voices and storytellers, [and] being a safer space for communities to access education, representation, and change through literacy, artistry, and skill-building.”
Indigo Bridge stands by their mission by including only underrepresented voices on their bookshelves. All books they carry must meet strict standards of representation, including the Baginski test – part of the criteria being that the author must be part of one or more underrepresented communities – and possessing an ability to uplift and represent the local community. This also motivates Indigo Bridge to feature as many local authors as they can, adding a personal and meaningful touch to their work.
Recently, Indigo Bridge hosted an author reading with University of Nebraska – Lincoln alumna SJ Sindu and her new novel Marriage of a Thousand Lies. “This debut novel offers a touching addition to both Sri Lankan and American LGBTQ canons,” shared Indigo Bridge. The event was just one of many in which the store embraces and lends an ear to the voices of queer and underrepresented artists.
The store’s emphasis on accessibility extends even to their website, where they offer resources and hotlines for those seeking support. Their list of LGBTQ+ resources includes OutNebraska, the Born This Way Foundation, and The Trevor Project. They also go directly to the community through events and outreach, including free LGBTQ+ name change clinics, highlighting queer activists on social media and during in-store events, hosting LGBTQ+ round tables with local organizations, and holding vigils in recognition of gender-based or racial violence. The store fulfills all aspects of their mission by not only representing, uplifting, and recognizing, but also providing a space for, the needs and voices of Nebraska’s queer and underrepresented communities.