Supporting LGBTQ-Owned Businesses
Pride Month is likely to conjure up images of rainbow-colored parade floats and corporate branding. But, lest we forget, the celebratory month’s origins can be traced back to the Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969, when police raided one of New York City’s most popular gay bars, the Stonewall Inn. As officers began to make arrests, the tavern’s patrons took a heroic stand, igniting a city-wide uprising that continued for days.
Today, we commemorate that historic moment and show our support for the LGBTQ community with events across the globe. But it’s important to put your money where your mouth is, which is why we’re highlighting some of the best queer-owned brands, from a crowdsourced makeup company to a third-wave coffee roaster.
Stuzo Clothing is a queer-owned brand that offers affordable, genderless apparel that’s made in Los Angeles. From tanks emblazoned with the words “Yep, still gay!” to hats that read “Woman Up,” the company’s socially conscious garments aren’t afraid to make a statement. Big name celebrities Tiffany Hadish and Spike Lee, who have sported the Stuzo brand, have certainly taken notice.
Known for re-popularizing the slogan “the future is female” with its zeitgeisty graphic T-shirt, Otherwild is a queer-owned product and apparel company based in Los Angeles. Like Stuzo, the brand sells graphic tees with justice-focused messages like “The patriarchy is a pyramid scheme,” though Otherwild also has more expensive, fashion-forward pieces, like this handmade top made from upcycled and repurposed lycra.
Not only is TomboyX a queer-owned business with a commitment to producing “underwear that fit regular bodies,” but it’s also a Certified B Corporation, which means that it has to meet rigorous environmental impact standards. Eco-conscious shoppers can choose from a panoply of TomboyX’s underwear garments, including dinosaur print boxer briefs and fit-tested compression tops.
Austin-based Flavnt specializes in streetwear, featuring a wide selection of five-panel hats, hoodies, and topical graphic tees. Identical twins Courtney and Chris Rhodes, both of whom are queer, founded the company as an LGBTQ-focused brand committed to featuring gay, straight, queer, and trans models.
In an effort to overcome gender norms and challenge the fashion industry, Emma McIlroy founded Wildfang in her studio apartment in Portland, Oregon. Since then, the brand has established two bricks-and-mortar stores and an expansive online shop, which has something for everyone — regardless of your gender identity. Whether you’re looking for a dapper blazer or a patterned button-up shirt, Wildfang has you covered, all without reverting to outdated gender norms.
Skin Care & Makeup
Malin + Goetz
Skin care addicts and facial fanatics are likely familiar with the LGBTQ-owned Malin + Goetz brand. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, the company has made a name for itself thanks to its line of skin care essentials and recognizable labels — not to mention the rave reviews it’s received. So the next time you want to pamper yourself, it’s worth checking out Malin + Goetz’s online store.
With its line of vegan, gender-fluid skin care products, Noto Botanics is a great choice for socially conscious shoppers on a budget. While you can buy the company’s products a la carte, Noto also offers lower-priced bundles, including a limited-edition pride kit. The $59 pride bundle comes with a vial of hair and body oil and a sustainable ripstop bag. What’s more, 10% of the kit’s proceeds will be donated to SAGE, a nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ+ elders and caregivers.
Alder New York
Alder New York is a queer- and woman-owned skin care brand founded by two professional designers in New York City. While the company’s selection isn’t the largest we’ve seen, it offers pretty much everything you need to maintain a skin care routine, including a lightweight vitamin E and C moisturizer and a glycolic acid cleanser with sea kelp.
True to its name, Fluide is a beauty company that designs cosmetics for all genders and skin types. The LGBTQ-owned brand’s most popular products include its celestially inspired palette, its understated blue lip gloss, and its pride bundle of seven different universal liners. And like most companies on this list, Fluide’s products are vegan and cruelty-free.
The trailblazing, LGBTQ-owned Volition Beauty brand was one of the first successful crowdsourced skin care brands. What does that mean? The company takes a bottom-up approach to beauty, asking its customers what products it should research, develop, and sell. Inspired by a customer’s homemade turmeric treatment, one of Volition Beauty’s most popular products is its Turmeric Brightening Polish.
Food & Drink
If Kyoto-style cold brew, bloom pour, and crema are part of your lexicon, then there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Equator Coffees. The LGBTQ-owned roaster has won multiple awards for its wide selection of third-wave coffees, which you can order online or try at one of the roastery’s nine locations. Equator also offers a subscription service for true caffeine addicts.
Despite its German name, Wunderkeks got its start in Guatemala after one of the company’s founders, Hans Schrei, decided to take a month off work and bake more than 1,000 cookies for the community. A lot has happened since then. Schrei married Luis Gramajo, who became the company’s co-founder; the couple immigrated to Texas; and now they’re shipping thousands of their cookies and brownies across the country.
If you can’t cook, but you’re trying to impress your guests — or better yet, your date — Omsom might save the day. Co-founded by Kim Phan, a queer Vietnamese-American woman, Omsom offers what it calls “starters,” or little meal packets that include all the sauces, spices, and seasonings you need for a restaurant-quality Asian meal. You just have to open the Omsom starter, add your protein and veggies, and suddenly you’re a chef.
Coolhaus has come a long way since 2009 when its owners, Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, were selling ice cream out of a dilapidated postal van. Now, you can order their plant-based ice cream straight to your door. You read that right. Whether you want to try the company’s signature Sammies or a pint of Chocolate Molten Cake, this queer-owned business has ice cream delivery down, thanks to a combination of styrofoam and dry ice.
If you’re tired of Cheetos, Ritz Crackers, and other banal American staples, then you can spice up your snack drawer with Bokksu. The LGBTQ-owned subscription service sends a mixture of Japanese snacks and teas — edamame senbei and sakura-flavored pastries are highlights — to your doorstep every month for $49.95 (less frequent options are also available).