queer coffeehouses rj joseph

Cuties is in trouble. The Los Angeles-based coffee shop that serves as an all-ages alternative to the bar scene for the queer community is in danger of having to shutter. With a focus on serving the LA queer community—not just those with the money to afford to buy a coffee (which as RJ Joseph’s article for Sprudge elucidates, queer community members “face higher rates of unemployment, homelessness, and poverty than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts”)—Cuties has always relied on the financial backing of supporters. But that backing is running out.

In a recent Facebook post, Cuties entreated their followers to give to their Patreon account in order to keep the doors open. As the post explains, there is a big need for all-ages safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ peoples, not just in LA but world wide. “Every week I get messages from our queer & trans kin all over the world asking us to open a Cuties in their hometown,” the post explains. The need is there but the funding isn’t always. From a Medium post by Cuties co-founder Iris Bainum-Houle:

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Creating Cuties is the most empowering and meaningful experience of my life. It is also the most challenging. This work has connected me deeply to a community I’ve been isolated from for most of my life. It has also given me the opportunity to respond in kind and connect other members of my community to one another. On the hard days (and there are many) the ability to bring the community together is what keeps me going. I love seeing faces light up when people come into the shop for the first time. I adore watching folx connect over coffee. I delight in providing moments of whimsy and softness in a world not built for either.

With programs like the suspended coffee—where patrons can buy two coffees, one for themselves and one to be redeemed by a future customer in need—and the community tab—where non-Angelinos can donate to make sure everyone is able to get a beverage and feel comfortable in the space—Cuties focus is on anything but the bottom line. But nonetheless, bills need to be paid and staff compensated in order to keep this truly necessary space accessible.

There are a lot of ways you can help. You can sign up for their newsletter and pledge $5 a month to Cuties’ Patreon or you can give a one-time donation, both of which can be done here. Anything helps. And if you don’t have the expendable income to help financially, you can share their Patreon “on all of your social accounts, on your newsletter, on your event pages, send it via text or email to people you know in the community & allies! Call your family members who say they have ‘nothing against gay people.’ Ask them to put their $ where their mouth is.”

To read more about Cuties current situation and the important role they play in the community, Iris Bainum-Houle, fellow co-founder Virginia Bauman, and social media coordinator Leslie Foster have all put their thoughts to paper via Medium posts, which can be found here, here, and here, respectively.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via In Los Angeles, Cuties Coffee Serves The Queer Community by RJ Joseph

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