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National Coming Out Day celebrated by Salt Lake City bookstore

The interior of a bookstore with dozens of books on the shelves.
Under the Umbrella

A Salt Lake City bookstore celebrated “National Coming Out Day” on Tuesday through its wide selection of LGBTQ+ related titles.

Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day, a day celebrating the courage it takes to “come out” as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. For “Under the Umbrella,” a bookstore where every single book is written by a queer person or has a queer character according to owner Kaitlyn Mahoney, that day was celebrated fondly.

Mahoney says that when she first opened the business less than a year ago, she saw the need for a “queer little bookstore” in Salt Lake City. She says that the bookstore is already making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community, allowing members of said community to stop by the store and be embraced by love and positivity.

Mahoney’s goal when creating Under the Umbrella was that she didn’t want it to just be a business where you bought books, she wanted it to be a safe place for queer people to come together. Liz Pitts, president and CEO of the Utah LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, says that the store is a community space and that there’s no place like Under the Umbrella anywhere else in the entire state.

However, despite incredible support from the community, Mahoney says that it’s hard for the store to make money due to trans and queer people having higher rates of unemployment, higher rates of homelessness, and lower wages.

But no matter the trials and tribulations the store faces, Mahoney is constantly reminded how important her store is to others in the community and especially on days like National Coming Out Day, it’s important to let people know that you’re there for them when the time is right.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.