Philly AIDS Thrift in Queen Village

Updated July 25

A great way to show support for the LGBTQ community during Pride Month is to patronize queer-owned businesses. Only thing is, there’s no official directory.

In general, the city tries to keep track of businesses run by minority groups. The Philadelphia Office of Economic Opportunity maintains an opt-in database for services owned by women, those owned by people of color and the ones run by people with disabilities.

But there’s not yet a spot for places owned by LGBTQ people.

“Right now, LGBTQ businesses are not in that database as this is not a category that currently counts toward minority business participation for city contracts,” said Lauren Cox, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

In the last few years, the city’s queer-owned businesses have sought inclusion in the database, which is mostly used by municipal officials to ensure that city contracts go to a diverse assortment of companies.

“We just really want to be next to the other minority and business services — those owned by women, African-Americans and the disabled,” Evan Urbania, who leads Center City marketing firm ChatterBlast, told WHYY in 2017. “We want to be in that same class and category.”

Several states, including California, Massachusetts and Washington, have created some kind of classification for LGBTQ retailers. And locally, the Port of Philadelphia established its own contracting category for queer people.

Though they haven’t yet come to fruition, Philadelphia’s efforts to recognize LGBTQ businesses are underway.

Starting last December, queer proprietors have the option to identify as such when they respond to a city RFP. The Office of LGBT Affairs will collect that data through the end of this year to get a benchmark of where things stand, and will then determine next steps, according to Cox, the department spokesperson.

Meantime, where can you shop to benefit the queer community? To fill in the gap, Billy Penn crowdsourced a list.

From Etsy shops to brick-and-mortar storefronts, here’s a handful of places you can spend money year-round to benefit LGBTQ business owners.

Know another we should add? Tell us.


Bee Daddy and Sons

Each t-shirt, blouse and pair of jeans is printed with hand-made stamps on second-hand and used fabrics.


Super affordable tops, tote bags, hoodies, hats, pins and paper goods.

E’s Tees & More

They specialize in graphic tees with queer messaging… and some Game of Thrones, Ariana Grande and pro-pot sentiments too.

Naturally Queer

Tons of merch to help uplift queer people of color.

Nerdy Keppie

A place for LGBTQ and nerd culture to coexist — with all the Star Trek apparel to prove it.

Pals Socks

In the market for children’s socks with adorable images of zoo animals or milk and cookies? Look no further.


Darb Garb

Funky, custom-made packers and undergarments for trans and gender-nonconforming people.

Gina Divito

This Philly-based artist is selling off enamel pins meant to honor the black, trans roots of the Stonewall Riots.


Tucked inside a Pine Street rowhome, this little-known jewelry store sports hundreds of intricate displays. Take your time walking through.

Hearts n Bruises

Brain earrings, Pokemon pendants and pronoun pins. Need we say more?

Molly Bee Studio

The place to go if you want an enamel pin that reads “pockets against the patriarchy.”

Tribble Orphanarium

Because no one wants to be left out of the Gritty merch game.


Another Planet Barber Shop LLC

Check this place out even if it’s just for the atmosphere — this sci-fi barbershop is sequins, lava lamps and glow-in-the-dark galore.


Get your haircut here to fund free, age-appropriate ​hair styling services to African-American youth of any gender.

Spirited Tattooing Coalition

Artists are at the ready at 49th and Baltimore Avenue for all your permanent ink needs.


Bianca Fanty

Pins, books, stickers and tons of zines on deck from this UArts student.


This trans arts collective is almost brand new. Just launched last week, it’s mission is to celebrate and cultivate queer-positive artistic spaces.

Kapp Kapp

Brand new contemporary art gallery that opened last Saturday in the Gayborhood. Peep the current exhibit, “Living and Real,” ’til the end of the summer.

South Street Art Mart

This pop-up shop just got converted into a permanent outpost. They’ve got pins, patches, prints and apparel made by a handful of local artists and ripe for the purchasing.


Big Blue Marble Bookstore

This Mount Airy community bookstore offers up a wide selection, including e-books and audio books, and the option to order titles straight to the shop.

Giovanni’s Room

Now run by the Philly AIDS Thrift team, this is the oldest LGBTQ bookstore in the country.

Food & drink

Black ‘n Brew

This East Passyunk cafe serves La Colombe coffee, homemade baked goods and some simple, yummy breakfasts and lunches.

Cake Life Bake Shop

Sweet and savory pastries on deck at this trans-owned bakery, plus the option to preorder some exquisite custom cakes. Also, one time the owner won the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

Flow State Coffeebar

All together, this East Kensington cafe operates as a coffee shop, bakery, gelateria and coworking space.

James Philadelphia

An upscale eatery at 18th and Arch, co-owned by Ben Haney and his husband, real estate agent Jamie McFadden.

Mission Taqueria

This second-floor, Center City Mexican cantina has delicious margs and tacos — and a shuffleboard on site.

One Shot Cafe

Tucked away on a Northern Liberties side street, One Shot has daily brunch and artfully-crafted coffee drinks — and a library upstairs!

Oyster House

Great spot to kick back for happy hour and slurp up some fresh shellfish.

Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar

This Gayborhood staple was founded almost a decade ago to fill the void of a true sports bar catering to Philly’s queer community.

Tavern on Camac

Truly something for everyone here with a chill piano bar downstairs and a colorful nightclub upstairs.

Toasted Walnut

A two-story lesbian bar in a city that desperately needs them.

Turney Safran Restaurants

The 13th Street corridor in Midtown Village is dominated by this restaurateur duo. There’s Barbuzzo, Bud & Marilyn’s, Lolita, Jamonera, Verde — and the list goes on.

Things to do

1149 Co-op

Advertised as a safe space for activists to organize, there’s a cooperative kitchen and an event space on site.

Beyond the Bell Tours

A couple of independent tour guides will walk you through some of Philadelphia’s most monumental history. Bonus: snag a spot on one of their LGBTQ history tours.

Fairmount Bicycles & Brewerytown Bicycles

A couple of friendly neighborhood bike shops offering sales, service and rentals. The Brewerytown outpost focuses on commuters and beginner mountain bikers.

The Gables Bed and Breakfast

Set in a quaint West Philadelphia Victorian, the Gables is a great choice if you’re looking for a more personal brand of lodging.

Hawkmoth Events

From this one you can expect dance parties, art galleries, community conversations and fundraisers.

Manayunk Chambers Guest House

Need a staycation? Here you’ll find a full-service luxury, boutique hotel.


This is a pop-up West Philly community space that centers black and brown queer people with programming like after-parties following Pride and the Roots Picnic. Get there before it closes on June 15.

Philadelphia LGBT Mapping Project

Tour the Gayborhood with historian Bob Skiba, curator of the William Way Center’s LGBT Archives, for an inside look at the neighborhood’s storied past

Philly Bike Tour Co.

Guided cycling tours all over the city, including trips circling Philadelphia murals and Fairmount Park destinations.


Mechanic Shop Femme

Car-fixing classes designed for women and LGBTQ people so they don’t get scammed by their mechanics.

Opry Audio

Full-service amplifier repair service run out of a Fishtown music store.

Spruce Street Video

Stationed in the heart of the Gayborhood, here’s a great spot to pick up new photo/audio/video digs.

Swiger Photography

This wife-and-wife team will capture your wedding, special event, family portrait, you name it.


Danny’s Midnight Confessions

This sex shop has been a Gayborhood staple for 40 years! Stop by to fill your adult toy needs.

The Groove Hound

A decade-old doggie daycare and grooming salon on Frankford Avenue.

Holy Shit Cerise

Professional astrology! The FB page posts regular horoscopes, plus you can book individual consultations and readings priced on a sliding scale.

Nana Catherine’s Apothecary

This certified Reiki practitioner sells tons of home goods and accessories all meant to contribute to healing and good energy.

PASSIONAL Boutique/Sexploratorium at PASSIONAL Toys

The South Street outpost offers everything from sex-positive classes and toys to tools for gender expression.


As hinted at in the name, this East Passyunk shop offers exotic plants and animals. Need a blue tongued skink? This is the spot.

Philly AIDS Thrift

What can’t you get here? A Philadelphia staple, this second-hand shop sells just about everything you can think of, with all the profits benefiting AIDS relief organizations.

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...