News & Politics

You Must Remember…Deacon Maccubbin and Jim Bennett

When they ran Lambda Rising, gay life in DC was very different from the way it is today.

Jim Bennett and Deacon Maccubbin. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

“I Feel Pride—I Guess I’m Entitled”

—Jim Bennett and Deacon Maccubbin

Maccubbin, 72, owned Lambda Rising, an LGBT bookstore near Dupont Circle that was open from 1974 to 2010. His husband, Jim Bennett, 59, headed up retail for 18 years. In ’75, Maccubbin (right) helped organize Gay Pride Day, a block party that drew 2,000 revelers. Forty years later, it has grown into Capital Pride, an annual festival that this past June attracted some 250,000 people.

Maccubbin: “When I opened the first store in 1974, we were in a townhouse on 20th Street. When you walked in off the street, no one knew where you were going. You could turn right into the tobacco shop or left into the bookstore, or you could keep going up the stairs. When we moved to S Street in ’79, we were in a storefront with big windows. Some people said, ‘Are you going to put curtains in?’ Walking into a gay bookstore was a threat to them. It was a very different time. We had windows smashed. We had bomb threats. But we kept opening our doors every day.”

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.