The cafe creates a safe space to come out with the banned book club

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As more schools and libraries face growing concerns about what books students are reading, secret reading clubs are popping up in Grand Rapids.

The Lotus Brew Coffee and Dry Bar offers a wide selection of controversial books and a safe reading area for all.

“The whole point of the secret gay coffee club is that it’s not actually secret,” said owner Max Freeman. “It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets in Grand Rapids.”

The wellness center in the northeast of the city offers free loan of hundreds of mostly donated books. “There are a lot of LGBTQ+ books, books written by people of color. There are many books about race and equality. Just like Mouse, which is about the Holocaust, will also be targeted.”

Freeman said the banning of books in places like Texas, Florida and other areas closer to home inspired him to fight back peacefully. His store’s library also offers a whole range of resources for parents and mentors whose friend or child may have just come out.

“They’re great resources on coming out, being trans, being poly,” he said. “I even have an entire section for a parenting resource.” The cafe creates a safe space to come out with the banned book club

Dais Johnston

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