In June 1974, Deacon Maccubbin began a new venture as an outgrowth of his retailing efforts in Washington, DC. Combining a storied activist background and a desire to bring a news and literary outlet to the Washington gay & lesbian community, he opened Lambda Rising Bookstore in the Dupont Circle area. Drawing the idea for a gay bookstore from a visit to the Oscar Wilde Bookstore in New York City, when it started, Lambda Rising was one of only four or five gay-themed bookstores in the country.
In 1978, Deacon and Jim Benneu came together in a relationship that developed into both a business and life partnership. For twenty years, theirs has been a commitment to each other and to the entire gay & lesbian community. Indeed, Lambda Rising has served as a safe place for gay people to congregate, a support mechanism for non-profit organizations, and a hub for Washington's gay community.
Over the years, Lambda Rising has grown from a small walkup shop of300 books on a side street to a flagship of the gay community along a busy stretch of Connecticut Avenue holding over 15,000 titles. Now with four locations in Washington, Baltimore, Norfolk and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Lambda Rising boasts a mail order service and a digital bookstore linked to America Online. Through this transformation Lambda Rising has emerged as a visible symbol of gay pride for all residents and visitors of the nation's capital.
Jim and Deacon have been pioneers in the gay activist, literary and business communities. Washington's annual gay pride celebration began as a block party in front of their store. They led the way in publishing advertisements in local gay and mainstream newspapers. They successfully published advertisements in local high school newspapers offering support and resources to gay youth. They got the first gay & lesbian oriented business advertisements to run on local television stations. They helped launch a local gay & lesbian business association. They helped initiate the gay caucus in the American Booksellers Association. And they established the Lambda Literary Awards recognizing excellence in gay & lesbian literature.
Their support of the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association has been multifaceted and continuous. They have remained a source of encouragement for us from the beginning, sharing their wisdom and experience, while expressing their love of "cowboys". They were the first business to enlist as a ticket outlet for our premier Atlantic Stampede '92 rodeo and have been a ticket outlet, program advertiser and vendor for every rodeo we have hosted. They have been an unyielding supporter of our events, lending their store windows for the annual rodeo promotional display and standing up to harassment by misguided anti-rodeo activists. Clearly, they have played a major role in insuring our continued success.
For their leadership, their support of local non-profit organizations, and their efforts to increase the viability and visibility of gays & lesbians in the mid-Atlantic region, we salute Deacon and Jim, and offer them heartfelt gratitude and a wish for a lifetime of continued success in their personal, business, and community endeavors.
We dedicate our seventh annual rodeo, Atlantic Stampede '98, to the Centaur Motorcycle Club. Now in their 28th year, Centaur MC is a regional levi/leather club known for their on-going community involvement and their productions: Washington's Leather Weekend, held in January of each year and Olympia, their bi-annual camp run and retreat.
The Centaur MC was a founding member of Brother, Help Thyself, the Baltimore/Washington area united gay charity group. They have played a major role in the leadership of BHT and have worked hard to help raise funds to support the work of non-profit organizations in our region. Their members maintain a constant presence at all of the important local gay events as organizers and participants.
The Centaur MC has been closely aligned with ASGRA from our inception. There have always been common members between our two organizations, and the Centaur MC has provided its financial resources and volunteer efforts to help make our events successful. They have acted as rodeo buckle sponsors and general volunteers, but their most enduring contribution to Atlantic Stampede has been in the organization, management and staffing of the Atlantic Stampede Centaur MC Beer Garden. Here is where we sec how serious these guys are about having fun.
So please visit the Centaur MC volunteers in the beer garden this weekend and help us thank them for their contribution to our long term success. And ask them to show you a good time!