Our Next Event

Affirmative Laughter

Affirmative Laughter May

  Come celebrate Elsa Waithe‘s 30th bday the only way she know how… WITH LAUGHTER!!! On May 25th @ 7pm, Bureau of General Services-Queer Division is gonna be packed as we ring in Elsa’s new decade with this hot lineup:   Beth Maria Margo Reiss Shelly Colman Sarah Hartshorne Norah Yahya Mamoudou N’Diaye   $10 [...]

Fri. May 25, 2018 7:00 PM


April 1, 2017

Book Launch for Claudia Cortese’s Wasp Queen and Gillian Cummings’ My Dim Aviary


Please join us for the launch party of Claudia Cortese’s Wasp Queen and Gillian CummingsMy Dim Aviary. Gillian and Claudia are press sisters whose books were just published by Black Lawrence Press.

Ocean Vuong says that “Claudia Cortese has given to Lucy what Anne Carson has given to Geryon: a life as desperate and fraught as our own, which is to say, a human rendition of the poetic potential. . . . I finished this Wasp Queen only to read it all over again, finding and losing myself, gladly, at every turn.

D. Nurkse says that My Dim Aviary is a book filled “with the ache of individuation, the estrangement of sexuality—‘a swan gouging its breast with its bill.’ Searing in its originality, My Dim Aviary is a masterful conception, a trance, a prayer of abandonment.”

There will be cupcakes! There will cake! There will be plastic tiaras! There will be purple mood lighting! There will be a most glorious mix playing (Whitney Houston, Bikini Kill, Pat Benatar…)

Grey Vild (bio below) will be emceeing; Claudia and Gillian will read from their gorgeous books; and these brilliant humans will also be reading:

Jayson P. Smith is a writer/performance artist from the Bronx. Their poems & interviews appear / are forthcoming in journals such as Gulf Coast, Vinyl Magazine, & The Offing. J is a 2016-17 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow with The Poetry Project, & has received previous support from The Conversation Literary Festival & Millay Colony for the Arts. They currently live in Brooklyn and the internet at jaysonpsmith.com.

Kaveh Akbar‘s poems appear recently or soon in The New Yorker, Poetry, Ploughshares, APR, Tin House, and elsewhere. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, will be published by Alice James Books in September 2017.

Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions).

Grey Vild is a Queer Art Mentorship & Brooklyn Poets fellow & a MFA candidate in poetry at Rutgers University. His work can be found at Them, Vetch, Harriet: The Blog and elsewhere.







Start: April 1, 2017 7:30 PM
End: April 1, 2017 9:30 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
Phone: 646-358-1730
208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States
Cost: Suggested donation of $10 to benefit the Bureau. No one turned away for lack of funds.

March 31, 2017

The Lesbian Avengers: 25th Anniversary Exhibition


Join us for the opening reception party for The Lesbian Avengers: 25th Anniversary Exhibition on Friday, March 31st. We’ll screen clips from the new feature film, Nothing Without Us, by Harriet Hirshorn and Mary Patierno. From New York to Nigeria. Burundi to the American South beginning at 7 PM.
The readings by Eileen Myles and Sassafras Lowrey have been postponed. We’ll keep you posted.
We did it, and we’ll do it again! A multimedia activist exhibit celebrating the Lesbian Avengers, formed 25 years ago during another surge of hardcore misogyny, and anti-gay, white Nationalist hate. Includes still photos, flyers, posters, slide shows, and video. Were you there? We welcome your participation. This mobile exhibit won’t take on its final form until late April. In June, it will begin to pop up all over the country. Including a neighborhood near you!
Also exhibited, images of powerful women fighting AIDS worldwide from the new feature film, Nothing Without Us, by Harriet Hirshorn and Mary Patierno. From New York to Nigeria. Burundi to the American South.


The Lesbian Avengers: 25th Anniversary Exhibition will be on view at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division from March 31 through June 4, 2017.


Related upcoming events:

Friday, April 21 Lesbian Avengers 25 event series, “Resist, Rebel, Transgress” in co-operation with Lambda Literary. Includes Avenger co-founder and writer Sarah Schulman and writer Carmen Machado

Friday, May 12 Lesbian Avengers 25 event series, “Resist, Rebel, Transgress” featuring a screening of the powerful film, Nothing Without Us, by Harriet Hirshorn and Mary Patierno about women fighting AIDS worldwide.

Friday, June 2 Lesbian Avengers 25 event series, “Resist, Rebel, Transgress” in co-operation with Lambda Literary. Includes Lesbian Avengers and writers, Susana Cook, Ana Simo (co-founder), and others.

photo: Carolina Kroon, Dyke March, Washington, DC, 1993





Start: March 31, 2017 6:00 PM
End: March 31, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
Phone: 646-358-1730
208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States

March 30, 2017

Belladonna* WITH Sam Ace & Aristilde Kirby (co-presented by Vetch)


Belladonna* Collaborative & Vetch Magazine present: Sam Ace & Aristilde Kirby will read at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division on March 30, at 7pm.

New chaplets from each reader will be available at the event.

Vetch is the first magazine of its kind, a journal of poetry solely by trans writers. We aim to publish work that is as excited about being poetry as it is engaged with the social conditions that allow for its production. Say it has an aesthetic and doubles down hard, wouldn’t that be fun. Belladonna* Collaborative’s programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Samuel Ace is the author of Normal Sex, Home in three days. Don’t wash., and Stealth (a collaboration with Maureen Seaton). He has received the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund Award, the Firecracker Alternative Book Award and is a two-time finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Poetry, Fence, Posit, Vinyl, Troubling the Line: Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, Best American Experimental Poetry 2016 and many other publications. www.samuelace.com


Aristilde Kirby is a poet born in the Bronx, NY, but currently lives in Carrollton, GA. She is 25, a UGA Master Gardener, was previously published in Vetch (no. 2 & 3). She has a few things in the works, and hopefully forthcoming. You can just call her Aris, say her name like Paris without the P or Aeris from FFVII, but with & without the lisp. She’s a black lesbian in either case. You can find her on twitter @motjustine








Start: March 30, 2017 7:00 PM
End: March 30, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
Phone: 646-358-1730
208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States
Cost: Suggested donation of $3 - $10 to benefit the Bureau. No one turned away for lack of funds.

March 28, 2017

Union Square Slam presents George Abraham’s Book Release Party


We are so thrilled to celebrate George Abraham‘s release of their first book, al youm! Please join us for a free writing workshop, a lively open mic, and George!

6:30pm Writing Workshop w/ IS Jones
7:30pm Sign-ups and Socialize
8:00pm Open Mic

All Ages // Wheelchair Accessible
Suggested Donation: $5-$10

Praise for al youm:

“George Abraham is the poetic love child of Whitman and Darwish, an exile living in the borderlands of his own Palestinian body. Through these poems–daringly experimental, explosively confession–he rebuilds himself out of his own erasure. In his words, ‘your body isn’t a temple–/ your body is the heaven the temples bow to.’”

- Phil Metres, author of Sand Opera, winner of the Arab American Book Award

“George Abraham’s al youm engages my brain and my heart in ways both relentless and tender. These poems do such exciting things with form—they are simultaneously ancient and futuristic, considering old hurts and old histories while constantly reimagining what is possible in terms of what a poem can do—visually, syntactically, emotionally— on the page. However, their technical skill comes in no way at the expense of their pulsing, living heart—these poems hurt, and bloom, and I will never, ever stop thinking about them. ”

- Safia Elhillo, author of The January Children

“George Abraham’s poems are both guide and gift. Here is writing through the body in space and time; through ancestral memory and trauma; here is breath, soul, life — in America; in Palestine. Abraham’s poems arrive as ingenious and necessary solutions to equations we don’t yet know we need. This book is how we heal.”

- Marwa Helal, author of Invasive Species (forthcoming with Nightboat Books)
About the Author:

George Abraham is a Palestinian-American poet attending Swarthmore College. They competed in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (placing 2nd out of 68 international teams), the National Poetry Slam, and the Individual World Poetry Slam. They are a Pushcart nominee, a 2-time recipient of the Favianna Rodriguez Award for Artistic Activism, and a recipient of the Ghassan Kanafani Palestinian Literature Scholarship. They are the author of al youm: for yesterday & her inherited traumas – a winner of the Atlas Review’s 2016 chapbook contest. Their poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Diode, Kweli, the Margins, Thrush, Apogee, and Sukoon, as well as the Ghassan Kanafani Anthology of Palestinian Literature. They hope to continue bringing awareness to Palestinian human rights and socio-economic struggles through art.
More work and contact info can be found at his artist website: http://gabrahampoet.wixsite.com/gabrahampoet



Start: March 28, 2017 6:30 PM
End: March 28, 2017 9:30 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services—Queer Division @ The Center
Phone: 212 620 7310 ext. 300
208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States
Cost: Suggested Donation $3-$10 (all proceeds go to supporting the Bureau and sending USS reps to national events)

March 26, 2017

Nonprofits, Foundations, and Resisting the Savior Mentality

What is the role of wealth and privilege in social movements, and how can we change it? A conversation on foundations, nonprofits, capitalism and social change with scholar and organizer Sujani Reddy and journalist and organizer Jordan Flaherty, featuring poetry by Sabina Ibarrola.

Sujani Reddy is a writer and educator whose work focuses on U.S. imperialism, mass criminalization and migrant justice. She is Associate Professor of American Studies at SUNY Old Westbury, the author of Nursing and Empire: Gendered Labor and Migration from India to the United States (UNC Press), and a co-editor of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press). Both books are also published by Orient BlackSwan in South Asia. You can hear her discuss the history of nursing and empire at: https://whomakescentspodcast.com/2016/06/02/episode-22-sujani-reddy-on-nursing-and-empire.


Sabina Ibarrola is a green witch and herbalist in the Wisewoman tradition. Drawing on her training in herbal medicine and earthspirit wisdom, Sabina is building her teaching and clinical practice, combining a passion for plants and plant medicine with a fierce dedication to collective liberation and helping people love their beautifully diverse bodies. Sabina also works at LAVA Brooklyn, and is associate creative director of Heels on Wheels Glitter Roadshow. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. sabinaibarrola.com.


Jordan Flaherty is an award-winning journalist, producer, and author. His print journalism has been featured in publications from the New York Times to Colorlines, as well as in seven anthologies. He has been a guest on shows from Anderson Cooper 360 to Democracy Now, and he has produced television documentaries and news reports for Al Jazeera America, Al Jazeera English, and The Laura Flanders Show. He was the first journalist to bring the case of the Jena Six to a national audience, he played himself on HBO’s television series Treme, and he was a target of the New York City Police Department’s spying programs. He is the author of the new book No More Heroes: Grassroots Responses to the Savior Mentality. You can see more of his work at jordanflaherty.org.

How is nursing tied to histories of capitalist imperialism in India and the United States? How was its professionalization shaped through the institutionalization of gender, race, class, caste, sexuality, regional and religious hierarchies? How does this process relate to the fundamental role that the institutions promoting a “savior mentality” have played in establishing a colonial “civilizing mission” at home and abroad? How do we find the stories of  marginalized women workers in the archives?  What happens when we ask Indian nurses about their own life stories? Spanning two centuries and multiple geographic spaces, Nursing & Empire pursues these questions in order to shed light on histories of capitalist expansion, and marginalized women’s histories of resistance and labor migration.”In this beautifully written and brilliantly argued book, Sujani Reddy demonstrates the urgency of understanding Indian nurse migration to the United States in relation to the many reconfigurations of ‘Anglo-American capitalist imperialism’ over two centuries. This is an indispensable and groundbreaking contribution to the history of women and labor migration, and it sets a new standard for the global study of imperialism, capitalism, and race.”–Jennifer Guglielmo, author of Living the Revolution: Italian Women’s Resistance and Radicalism in New York City“Sujani Reddy neatly traces the development of modern racialized nursing practices by going beyond simply analyzing migration to examining the historical emergence of nursing in India and the United States. Nursing and Empire explores labor markets, intimate industries, and gender with a writing style that is simultaneously deeply analytical and richly descriptive. An absolutely exciting and one-of-a-kind book.”–Sharmila Rudrappa, author of Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India
From the Crusades to Black Lives Matter, No More Heroes is a grassroots history of resistance to the savior mentality. This book weaves the stories of LGBTQ organizers, teachers, international volunteers, sex workers, FBI informants, indigenous organizers, and prison abolitionists into a narrative of revolutionary change that travels from Alaska to Palestine, from Karl Marx to Muhammad Ali, and from KONY 2012 to the Red Cross.No More Heroes brings us real life stories of life-or-death conflict: Riad Hamad, a Lebanese middle school teacher in Texas betrayed by FBI informant Brandon Darby. Monica Jones, a Black transgender sex work activist arrested for “walking while trans” in Phoenix, Arizona. Haidar Eid, a professor resisting colonialism and liberalism in his daily life and work in Gaza City. Sophie Lucido Johnson, a recent college graduate who finds her youthful idealism channeled by others to displace unionized African American teachers in New Orleans.
No More Heroes explores the growing response to these dynamics: grassroots and street-based uprisings like the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter, creating accountable movements focused on real, systemic change.
“No More Heroes exposes the savior complex for what it really is: imperialism camouflaged as a rescue operation. A perfect gift for the age of Trump.”
-Robin D. G. Kelley, Author, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
“From systemic racism to climate change, there are no easy fixes to the deep- rooted crises of our time. In this marvelous, enormously instructive book, Jordan Flaherty explores how we too often allow the struggle for change to be undermined by would-be saviors—and how today’s grassroots social movements, led by communities on the frontlines of crisis, are charting a far more powerful path forward.”
– Naomi Klein, Author, This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
No More Heroes is a vitally useful intervention in the current political moment. Spot-on analysis, gripping examples, and a clear, urgently necessary argument about how we need to re-think harmful “rescue” frames and the leadership models they foster will make this book immensely useful to contemporary movements. No More Heroes helps us understand how our movements’ debates about leadership, respectability politics and co-optation relate to long-standing investment in ideas of saving that have got to be dismantled if we are going to build the new world we so desperately need and long for.
– Dean Spade, Author, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law
“Buy this book if you believe a better world is possible and want to know how to get there. From Jordan Flaherty, the journalist that broke the story of The Jena Six, comes this thrilling people’s history of current movements for revolutionary change. A powerful, engaging, exciting book for anyone concerned about the state of the world.”
-Cynthia McKinney, 2008 Green Party Presidential Candidate; former Georgia Congresswoman
See more at jordanflaherty.org/saviors.



Start: March 26, 2017 6:00 PM
End: March 26, 2017 8:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
Phone: 646-358-1730
208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States
Cost: Suggested donation of $5-$10 to benefit the Bureau. No one turned away for lack of funds.