The Lavender Rhino, an online independent bookstore with a focus on titles by LGBTQ authors, will launch on April 6, with ambitions to open a brick-and-mortar store at a later date.

"As state legislatures and right-wing pundits ramp up their attacks on the LGBTQ+ community—and on queer youth, trans people, and Black queer people in particular—I believe it is more important than ever for people to read intersectional queer stories, to educate themselves about LGBTQ+ identities and lived experiences, and to gather in solidarity and community with their queer friends and loved ones," the store's founder, Dylan Lyons, said in a statement. "My goal is to provide a curated experience, through which readers can discover LGBTQ+ books that represent them or teach them about other identities."

As per a release, Lavender Rhino "aims to bring the LGBTQ+ reader community together by providing curated lists of queer books, categorized by genre, identity, staff picks, and more." Named after a symbol of queer resistance originating in 1970s Boston, Lavender Rhino also plans to offer online community forums, where patrons "can discuss the books they’re reading in a safe space for queer book lovers" in the coming months.

Lyons holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business, and has a background in digital content strategy, having worked for such platforms as real estate–focused tech company StreetEasy and language learning software and e-learning platform Babbel. He raised more than $11,000 on Kickstarter last fall to fund, along with his own investment, such startup costs as inventory, web development, and legal and marketing costs.

"Research shows that reading has the power to build empathy, and our world could certainly benefit from more empathy and less bigotry," Lyons added. "I hope our customers will find a sense of community on our site, a safe space where they can celebrate queer stories and discover books they’ll cherish for years to come."