Queer people have always played a role in shaping how we eat and cook. But after generations of being siloed or forced to “tone it down,” queer chefs today are claiming their power like never before.
Of course, this can also feel like a bleak time for the queer community. Rates of food insecurity are disproportionately high; reports amass on the dwindling number of gay and lesbian bars; and 2022 is set to be a record-breaking year for anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. But that’s why new queer spaces are so vital right now, and why their collective evolution beyond urban nightlife (though we love that too) is so striking.
We’re talking about the trans-owned restaurant in Asheville refocusing the narrative on empathy and care; the Oakland café dreaming up new ownership models; the cross-country pop-up feeding trans people of color for free; and even the Zoom cooking class creating a digital safe haven for queer families. It is these places—queer-owned, queer-focused, and very intentionally dedicated to compassion, visibility, and community—we’re here to celebrate.
We’re presenting these stories to you in June, a month dedicated to Pride. But we’re also reflecting on how food acts as a vehicle for fostering connection and joy all year round. This is a snapshot of where we are right now—and a promise of more to come.
—Chala Tyson Tshitundu, Elazar Sontag, and Hilary Cadigan