Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium

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LGBT book and sex store has something for everyone

By Lauren Kelly, Assistant Editor

Nestled between other storefronts on Davie Street, the long-standing Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium has a long and difficult history. The store was founded in 1983 as a literature store for Vancouver’s LGBT community. Since then, it has been bombed three times and involved in a long legal battle with Canada Border Service’s Agency, which was intentionally stopping the importation of LGBT books for the store, as they were considered “obscene.” The ordeal lasted 10 years, and was well documented in several books and a full length documentary entitled Little Sisters vs. Big Brother. It also acted as inspiration for a subplot in the romantic comedy Better Than Chocolate. Litigation ended in 1996, with the courts deciding in favour of Little Sister’s, declaring that their imports had been wrongfully detained or seized.

Today, the store holds over 1,000 books. Their book sections include “men’s and women’s stories,” “trans & gender,” and “queerotica.” Many of these books are non-fiction accounts of queer writers’ experiences with coming out, dealing with prejudice, and living their lives as LGBT individuals. In addition to this, there are many other books by LGBT authors, as well as many novels and graphic novels featuring queer characters in genres including mystery and fantasy, which can be hard to find in mainstream media. If you’re looking for gifts, the store also carries novelty items, greeting cards, pride shirts, stickers, flags, and pins.

Little Sister’s is also part adult store, featuring a robust selection that includes many items specifically for LGBT individuals. The store carries binders and packers, which is an often flaccid strap-on penis used to fill the empty space in male clothing, for transmen, as well as non-binary and cross-dressing individuals. They also have a wide selection of jock straps and fetish wear. On the toy front, you can find large strap-ons as well as starter ones for pegging, prostate and g-spot massagers, and various fetish-specific goods. The large selection is great for people of any gender or orientation, and the atmosphere is bright and welcoming. The knowledgeable staff is available for any questions, but never feel as pushy as some owners at small adult stores.

Little Sister’s is a must-visit store due to its varied and inclusive selection, as well as the store’s history of providing a safe space for queer people and fighting for their right to provide LGBT literature and information. If you’re looking for some fun gifts for a partner (or yourself!) for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, make the trek out. You won’t be disappointed.

Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium is located at 1238 Davie Street between Jervis and Bute Street, and is open every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.