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Monday Cute: These L.A. “Cuties” are Raising Gay Funds for Their Gay Coffee Shop That’s Super-Gay

Iris Bainum-Houle and Virginia Bauman of Cuties Coffee Los Angeles

Iris Bainum-Houle and Virginia Bauman; image: screencap

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled adorable animals to bring you some adorable people building community for queer folks in Los Angeles.

Iris Bainum-Houle and Virginia Bauman have taken what started in 2015 as a monthly warm, queer pop-up event called “Queers, Coffee, and Donuts”, and turned it into a brick-and-mortar business that has become the only non-alcoholic, inclusive, explicitly queer meeting space in Los Angeles.

Cuties Coffee is a bastion of love, acceptance, amazing coffee, and Virginia’s so-good-they-should-be-criminal donuts located in East Hollywood. While the coffee and nibbles are great, what truly makes Cuties special is the space it provides for queer and trans people to simply be themselves in an environment that centers them. Even their logo (which is this post’s featured image on the TMS home page) is gender-fluid!

Even better, it provides opportunities for connection and community during daylight hours, whereas most other queer spaces are nightlife/bar-oriented, which might not be every queer person’s cup of tea (or coffee). And it’s not just about socializing. It’s also about political action, and Cuties hopes to be a space where the queer community can organize to make their voices heard in a safe environment. It’s a community newsletter, it’s events, it’s a safe meeting space. Cuties is a movement.

Now, they need a bit of help. According to their Patreon page (which you should check out for their awesome video where they highlight just how gay their gay coffee shop isspoiler alert: it’s hella gay):

Cuties is a queer coffee shop and community space in East Hollywood; our mission is to bring the queer community together. We’re looking for funds in order to support the community work we already do and expand our scope. We cannot maintain our pace and go further without additional help.

Our goal is $12,000 per month and with these funds we want to support and sustain our community work. We want to pay more queer + trans writers and creators. We want to stay open later and host more events and support groups. We want to bolster up other organizers and provide space for local queer + trans organizers.

I’ve been going to the “Queers, Coffee, and Donuts” event since before I came out as bi. It made me feel safe and comfortable in a queer space in a way I hadn’t really felt before. There was never any pressure to be “cool” or “more butch” or to move any faster with flirting than I wanted. It was unabashedly femme, while welcoming everyone of all genders and gender expressions. It was a place where I could just be, and get to know queer folks, and eventually feel safe enough to realize that I was more than just an “ally.” I was thrilled when they opened their brick-and-mortar coffee shop, because they were already excelling at building queer community, and I was glad that they’d have a central location that people could hang out in more often.

I really want them to be able to stay open. L.A. desperately needs a space like this that centers, and employs, queer and trans folks. Whether you’re in L.A. or not. If you believe that the LGBTQ+ community anywhere and everywhere deserves places to connect, to organize, and to feel safe, consider supporting Cuties Coffee!

And for those of you who are really missing your adorable animal fix this morning, here’s an awesome gay bulldog:

Bulldog at Broadway Street Festival, Seattle Gay Pride 2012.

(featured image: Cuties Coffee)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.