Looking for queer community in L.A.? Start here

An illustration shows people getting their haircut, hiking, dancing and rollerskating.
(Ashley Lukashevsky / For The Times)

Life is sweeter when you have solid friends alongside you for the ride. People you vibe with, ideally where the layers of your personhood are honored, the belly laughs roll freely and the door for each other’s authentic selves is always wide open.

It’s no secret that finding your people can be challenging; the same goes for finding spaces around Los Angeles that align with your current adult self. With Pride Month 2022 kicking off, it feels like the perfect time to shout out some queer spaces around the city. Not just queer as in not straight, but queer as in growing, healing and thriving outside of the binaries we so often get forced into. Queer as in being deep in community with people who are also on their own gender and identity journeys. Queer as in world-building, expansiveness and the universe of possibility, pleasure and freedom beyond rigid categorization.

This guide to a queer L.A. isn’t comprehensive — and it’s focused on off-the-beaten path and emerging spaces — but hopefully it’ll make finding community, activities and chill places to hang a bit easier.


Whether you’re an L.A. native or a newbie, here are 15 queer spaces around the county you should know.

Los Angeles has pride parades, pride proms, pride concerts and pride comedy shows planned throughout June.

June 2, 2022


Dance it out with Queerchata

(Abby Mahler Photography)

Bachata, good vibes and dancing it out at the park is a winning combination. Just ask Queerchata’s founder, Bex Nitti (he/they). The dance classes are for trans and queer folks, plus friends, and are offered on a pay-what-you-can sliding scale of $5 to $25, with a number of free tickets available. As the event reminder always says: “Wear comfy shoes, bring water and get ready to have a really QUEER time.”

The mission is to create a “degendered and very queer version of Latin dance.” In addition to forming new connections, exploring dance styles and having a great time, the classes and performances are meant to spark meaningful cultural appreciation.

The next class is on June 18 at Precinct DTLA. Bachata class is at 5 p.m. and social dancing will be from 6 to 9 p.m. You can also catch the Queerchata group performing at the halftime show for the L.A. Sparks on Pride Night, June 23. A block of tickets will be available for anyone who wants to join the group for the game. Stay up to date on Queerchata events on Instagram or Discord.


Instagram: @queerchata
Where: Elysian Park, downtown L.A.


Bask in poetry nights and sound baths with Cuties

(Sasha Jones)

The Cuties community is a special place for queer and trans folks looking to form genuine connection, or, as Chief Executive Sasha Jones endearingly puts it, “the tenderqueers” — a.k.a., the “playful community of artists, poets and lovers who are uninspired with the typical WeHo crowd.”

Cuties’ popular bricks-and-mortar East Hollywood coffee shop may have been lost in 2020 but the community that was cultivated around the space has remained intact.

On the agenda this summer: themed poetry nights (June’s theme is joy), guided outdoor sound baths, Zoom drawing hangouts and a movie night series in partnership with arts nonprofit the Queer 26 featuring “The Watermelon Woman” and “The Handmaiden.”

Also in the mix are queer family picnic meetups (dog parents and those looking to get info about expanding their queer, trans and gender nonconforming families are welcome), weekly co-working dates in Long Beach, with another weekly co-working meetup launching in the Arts District later this month, and the June 16 Nite Market, with more than 20 vendors and music performances at Plant Chica in West Adams.


Instagram: @cutiesla
Where: Throughout L.A. and Long Beach


Roll into Rainbow Skate Night

Rainbow Skate Night at Moonlight Rollerway on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 in Glendale, CA.
Rainbow Skate Night at Moonlight Rollerway is a mainstay in the LGBTQ community, especially for those looking for sober options.
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

When’s the last time you went roller-skating? Have you ever? Rainbow Skate Night is the perfect occasion to throw on that outfit you’ve been waiting to take for a spin and fully lean into the carefree fun and blissful nostalgia of a skating rink.

It might also be the place that makes you realize — while gliding through a sea of smiley figures on skates, as the cool breeze of the AC and a timeless bop such as Cher’s “Believe” plays — that sometimes life can be pretty sweet. This all-ages queer dance party on wheels is a sober event held every Wednesday from 8 to 11 p.m.

Instagram: @officialmoonlightrollerway
Phone: (818) 241-3630
Where: 5110 San Fernando Road, Glendale


Indulge in good food at Stormé Supper Club

Storme Supper Club
(Nia Lee)

This wine and supper club centering queer Black women, femmes and gender-expansive folks in Los Angeles is a space to commune and feel good. Chef, artist and Black Food Futurist Nia Lee — who coined the latter title to describe the ever-evolving intersection of historical Black food traditions and art — says the pop-up gatherings around L.A. are “intentional, loving, nourishing, lit!” And food’s at the center of it all.

From protests and parades to the homes of early gay rights activists, the Southland has played a key role.

May 19, 2022


One meetup may look like a pasta dinner on a beautiful day in a bungalow garden. Another, a cozy spring picnic at Barnsdall Art Park in East Hollywood featuring roasted summer vegetable sandwiches with whipped garlic and olive oil on fresh-made, vegan sourdough focaccia. Oh, and rosemary vanilla bean sugar cookies, black truffle potato chips and sparkling wine.

A conversation at the supper club can easily flow from what’s bringing guests joy lately to exchanging excitement over the newest Akwaeke Emezi novel to the roller-coaster ride of dating in L.A. as a queer person.

Instagram: @stormesupperclub
Where: Throughout L.A.


Shop at the lively Queer Mercado

Queer Mercado
(Gaudencio Marquez)

School counselor Diana Diaz knew Latinx youth needed a family-friendly space to engage with queer peers and elders in East L.A., but the Queer Mercado has evolved in ways she hadn’t imagined.

First dates, two engagements, a number of familial reconciliations and introductions to a loved one’s queerness have all taken place at the monthly market. A typical mercado experience may feature queer DJs, drag shows, poetry and comedy, dance lessons and youth music performances.


Queer Mercado, a monthly gathering of vendors who identify as Latino and part of the LGBTQ community, is hosting its one-year anniversary

Aug. 16, 2022

The mercado was co-created by Ryan Montez, who oversees entertainment coordination, and Gaudencio Márquez, who oversees outreach and helms a complementary podcast, which highlights members of the mercado community.

The vibe is lively, with no smoking or drinking allowed. From June to September 2022, the mercado will provide a free 10-by-10-foot space for school-age students interested in selling their art and crafts or launching their small business.

Instagram: @thequeermercado
Where: Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy, 319 N. Humphreys Ave., East Los Angeles


Get gender neutral haircuts at Salon Benders

Rachel Fishbough, left, works on Dr. Kasa Niesner's hair at Salon Benders on Thursday, April 7, 2022 in Long Beach, CA.
Rachel Fishbough, left, works on Dr. Kasa Niesner’s hair at Salon Benders on Thursday, April 7, 2022 in Long Beach, CA. Niesner is a loyal customer who flew in from Nashville to get their hair done at the salon.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Clients from all over, some coping with L.A. traffic they wouldn’t endure otherwise, come to this full-service Long Beach salon for the sense of community cultivated by owners Jessie Santiago and Cal Bigari. There’s an ease that comes with not having to explain layers of your queerness and nonconformity. Pricing is hourly, gender-neutral and based on the complexity of the service.


Thoughtful personal touches, from the “quiet hair services” offered to honor introverts to the queer and trans-informed approach to makeup, waxing and reiki services are key to Salon Benders’ appeal.

Instagram: @salonbenders
Phone: (562) 528-8804
Where: 957 E. 4th St., Long Beach


Set an alert for fun times with Girl(friends) L.A.

Kirsten Hart and Lucy Smith at Girl(friends) L.A.
(Girl(friends) L.A.)

Looking for wholesome fun in an environment that centers queer women and underrepresented genders but welcomes all? Kirsten Hart has you covered.

After noticing the dearth of lesbian bars in L.A. and struggling to find comfortable queer spaces as a bisexual woman, Hart created Girl(friends) L.A., a party series/social club focused on establishing community and friendship. She now co-hosts it with GFLA attendee-turned-friend Elizabeth Tzagournis.

Expect regular dance parties at the Friend in Silver Lake, bingo and raffles, intimate get-togethers, cocktail hours and, come June 12, Girl(friends) L.A. hosts its first Queer Flea Market from 12 to 4 p.m. at Liberate Yourself in Sherman Oaks.

Instagram: @girlfriendsla
Where: Throughout L.A.


Shake it off at Hood Rave L.A.

Hood Rave
(okay aire)


Sometimes you just want to shake off your worries on the dance floor, serve a lewk, bussa whine, flirt and be surrounded by community while your body responds to a fire DJ set.

Hood Rave, a dance party centering L.A.’s underground Black queer community, absolutely gets that. The party was created by DJ and sound artist BAE BAE (Kumi James) and DJ Kita. The rave showcases the talent that exists throughout the African diaspora, with an emphasis on femmes. The lineup boasts performers such as Sudan Archives, Pink Siifu, cry$cross, Chrysalis and JELLY.

Instagram: @hoodravela
Where: South L.A.


Tap into your inner artist at Junior High

Junior High
(Sela Shiloni)

Junior High aims to be a warm and enriching space for anyone who has ever felt marginalized. Stories of wearing gender-affirming clothing for the first time at a Junior High event, connecting with lifelong friends or romantic partners and securing housing are common at this nonprofit art space.

Haven’t been in a while or looking to come through for the first time this summer? The center has plenty of nourishing activities and mingling opportunities to choose from. Send Nudes and No Nudes are biweekly figure drawing workshops started by friend of the organization Mads Gobbo. Junior Not High is the biweekly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, which is free and open to anyone seeking sober community. Valley Girl is a monthly comedy show by L.A. locals for anyone who needs a good laugh.

The Old Gays have amassed more than 7 million followers on TikTok with delightful videos that bridge generational gaps.

June 1, 2022


Junior High also offers workout classes, one for those looking to get a good sweat on and another for yoga beginners. Art Club, founded by two longtime Junior High staffers, creates space for artists to sell their wares or for creatives to find more people to learn and grow with.

Instagram: @juniorhighla
Where: 603 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale


Sip in the sunlight at Liberation Coffee House

A place focused on providing resources and thoughtful community space to queer, trans and gender-nonconfirming folks? One that also has refreshing interior design and reinvests its profits into life-sustaining community support? What’s not to love? The Hollywood cafe, gallery and shop is located in the Los Angeles LGBT Center and staffed by graduates of the organization’s intergenerational culinary arts program, a training program for employment in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Visitors enjoy cozy vibes, gorgeous natural light and a variety of pastries, coffees, teas, smoothies, breakfast burritos, sandwiches and snacks.

Instagram: @liberationcoffeehouse
Phone: (323) 993-8954
Where: 6725 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood


Learn something new at the Feminist Center for Creative Work

Riso Printing Workshop with Cynthia Navarro/Tiny Splendor at Feminist Center for Creative Work.
(Salima Allen / Acid Smile Studios)

Expect easygoing, creative, adult community center vibes at the Feminist Center for Creative Work (formerly the Women’s Center for Creative Work). It’s a worthwhile space to check in with if you love queer spaces where art is centered in an unpretentious way.

Things slowed down during the pandemic, and the physical space in Frogtown is no longer, but the good news is programming, including art exhibits and happy hours, will be picking up steam. Get notified of upcoming events by signing up for the FCCW newsletter and following on Instagram.

Instagram: @feministcenterforcreativework
Where: Glendale and throughout L.A.


Hike with Black Girls Trekkin’

Black Girls Trekkin
(Black Girls Trekkin)


Co-founders Tiffany Tharpe and Michelle Race have taken their lived experiences as Black women and their appreciation for the outdoors and spun them into a beautiful, expansive community.

Through the group, Black women and others can access the serenity and rejuvenation of being immersed in nature. The focus may have started with hikes, but plans to broaden the group activities are on the horizon. Black queer campouts, rock climbing, kayaking, snorkeling, outdoor yoga, beach/trail cleanups and outdoor photography adventures are on the wish list. Sign up for the email list and keep up with the Instagram for future meetups.

Instagram: @blackgirlstrekkin
Where: Throughout L.A.


Take the mic at Queer Cafe

Jack Scott performs at the Queer Cafe
(Asher Phoenix)

When reflecting on the community that Queer Cafe has grown into, creator Ari Tibi thinks of the music, the storytelling, the open-mindedness, the impactful emotional offerings that have moved guests to tears.

“It’s a sentimental experience because we’re a family when we’re in there, never taking for granted that not everyone has access to queer-friendly spaces,” explains Tibi. “Queer people are never just queer — of course we’re so much more than that one identity — but that experience is unique and it comes across in [people’s] artistry every time. Even if you’re not queer, I’d think you can’t help but feel that freedom too.”

Anthony Diaz and Kevin Alcaraz’s plant shop has had lines so long since opening last fall that their neighbors sometimes joke that they must be selling something harder than pothos.

June 1, 2021


Queer Cafe started as a birthday party for Tibi last summer, quickly sold out, and has since become a regular event with a residency at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. “It was a celebration of the freedom I saw from other performers being out and queer onstage, because for a long time, I tried to minimize my own queerness.”

The next event, which will celebrate the cafe’s one-year anniversary, is June 18 at 9 p.m. ($12) and will feature an open mic at the end.

Instagram: @the_queercafe
Where: 1623 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood


Sweat it out at Everybody Gym & Wellness

HyperBody, in foreground, leads a "Butt Stuff Tuesday's," class at Everybody gym in Los Angeles on May 29, 2018.
A class at Everybody gym in Los Angeles on May 29, 2018.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Gyms can be a mixed bag, especially when factoring in who and which kinds of bodies are made to feel welcomed or alienated. Everybody is on a mission to subvert those toxic norms. It prioritizes respecting a person’s gender, queerness and body, in every shape, as part of facilitating good health. The 8,000-square-foot facility includes a fully equipped gym, two classrooms, an outdoor gym and patio, a gender-inclusive locker room, a sauna and two private showers. There’s also a range of classes such as Zumba, spin, boxing, dance, yoga, Pilates and weight classes.

Instagram: @everybodylosangeles
Phone: (323) 352-8618
Where: 1845 N. San Fernando Road, Cypress Park


Get comfy at High & Tight

From the couches to the feel-good selection of music, comfort has remained a priority at High & Tight since it opened in February 2019. Owner Tasha Johnson hopes the full-service barbershop feels like a space where guests can stay a while — to lounge, do some work, maybe get a manicure in the back of the shop.

Visitors consider the shop, whose services range from fresh fades to hair coloring, a balm for the gender performance often expected at other establishments. Fun fact: The shop is also an event space for parties and other gatherings.

Instagram: @highandtightla
Where: 4759 W. Washington Blvd., Mid-City