The internet is full of tributes to Peter Dorey after the businessman and book lover passed away at the age of 73.
Dorey himself was a piece of gay history in the U.K. In 1979, Dorey co-founded Gay’s The Word in London’s Bloomsbury area. That became the first recorded opening of a LGBTQ book shop, according to BBC News. The collection of books there have not only helped to educate, entertain, and enlighten many of the store’s patrons over the decades, but the very store has been a safe space for LGBTQ people. The news of Dorey’s recent death hit the community hard.
“Gay’s The Word has been an important part of the LGBTQ+ community for many years and we get visitors from all over the world,” store manager Jim MacSweeney said. “We owe Peter Dorey a great deal of thanks for his part in setting up our bookshop.”
“The shop was set up as a safe community space where profits, if any, went back into the bookshop,” MacSweeney added. “As well as books, we had a café at the back with community notice boards and space for various groups to meet.”
Several people have posted similar tributes to Peter Dorey online.
— Paul Smith💙🏳️🌈 (@Smithyshere) February 16, 2021
Here's a picture of my Uncle Peter, one of the founders of @gaystheword , with Ernest Hole back in 1979. I was not aware of his role in the store and it's workings till I was an adult, and the more I know the greater pride I feel for everything he and they accomplished. pic.twitter.com/EjzE7DeyAV
— Max Dorey 🇪🇺 (@maxdorey) February 12, 2021
Bookmarks would like to express our sadness at the passing of legendary @gaystheword founder Peter Dorey. Peter stood against the infamous homophobic police raids on the shop. Our condolences to his husband and to the family. pic.twitter.com/OZnaJaIYtV
— Bookmarks Bookshop (@Bookmarks_books) February 18, 2021
Rest in Power, Peter Dorey—@gaystheword bookshop cofounder. For what seems like forever, it's been my first stop every time I'm in London and it never fails to remind me how important physical spaces are for queer education, empowerment & connection.♥️ https://t.co/knHk0YeKq9 pic.twitter.com/JGnpNoYF3p
— Norman Brannon (@normanbrannon) February 16, 2021
Dorey isn’t the first co-founder of Gay’s The Word to pass away, however. Jonathan Cutbill passed away at the age of 82 in 2019, as The Guardian reported back then. When Cutbill passed, he left a large collection of LGBTQ literature, which dates back to 1760, to the University of London.