This site address will bring you near the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Linwood Avenue, the former site of the Atlanta Gay Center, which was the first site of Christopher’s Kind Bookstore. Christopher’s Kind was the first non-pornographic gay men’s bookstore in Atlanta, founded and opened by Gene Loring in June 1980. Christopher’s Kind Bookstore later moved to 70 13th Street NE in Midtown. The bookstore “closed after a relatively short period of time” (see Chesnut).
The Atlanta Gay Center was founded in 1978 and was directed by Ray Kluka. From 1980 until its closure, the center stood at 931 Ponce de Leon Avenue. According to David K. Secrest, the gay center was “located in a former boarding house between two fast food franchises on Ponce de Leon.” Ray Kluka told the Atlanta Constitution in 1981 about the Gay Center’s renovation of the boarding house: “This place was a real mess. All the windows were painted red, and the rooms had red and black wallpaper. It was pretty much divided up. A lot of people have put a lot of work into this.” The center provided a crisis telephone line, sent a monthly newsletter to 1,500 subscribers, operated a speakers’ service, provides space to allied organizations, worked with the mental health advisory board, and conducted STI screening clinics.
931 Ponce de Leon Avenue is currently the site of offices for the Braden Fellman real estate group.
“Bookstore owner Gene Loring, Christopher’s Kind, Atlanta, Georgia, September 12, 1984” [Image]. GSU Digital Collections. https://digitalcollections.library.gsu.edu/digital/collection/ajc/id/2921/
Chesnut, Saralyn, Amanda C. Gable, and Elizabeth Rose Anderson. “Atlanta’s Charis Books and More: Histories of a Feminist Space.” 3 November 2009. Southern Spaces. https://southernspaces.org/2009/atlantas-charis-books-and-more-histories-feminist-space/
Christopher’s Kind Bookstore, “Poster — Christopher’s Kind bookshop,” Georgia State University Library Exhibits, accessed May 5, 2021, https://exhibits.library.gsu.edu/current/items/show/2047.
Secrest, David K. (January 29, 1981). “Gay Center Sets First Public Fund Raiser.” Atlanta Constitution. p. 8E.
“The main function of the center is education … especially of the straight public on what homosexuality is all about.”Ray Kluka, former director of the Atlanta Gay Center
Image Credits: NOTE: Need Bookmark Permission from GSU. Cover image from Atl Constitution article. Better Quality needed.