Tag Archives: LGBT Business

Get Fit At America’s Only Queer Gym

Being a queer woman at the gym is a lose-lose situation.

If you’re femme, then you’ll have to keep looking over your shoulder, ready to defend against “well-meaning” (read: creepy) straight men who think the gym is a great place to cruise for women. There are only so many times you can say, “Stop correcting my form, Chad, and no, I don’t want to see you flex or do 100 pushups and please stop watching me run on the treadmill” before it gets old.

If you’re more masculine presenting, men often don’t know what to do with you. Some see you as a threat to their masculinity and get angry. Dealing with constant harassment and staring is exhausting.

Nathalie Huerta is sick of it.

The Oakland, California resident was tired of turning the wrong heads at the gym. She says:

I grew up in the gym and when I was more feminine, I only dealt with the general gym creeper dudes. Yet, the minute I cut my hair and ditched the makeup, things got weird in the locker room (women hiding from me) and in the weight room (pissing contest with dudes).

So she opened LGBT-only facility The Queer Gym in 2010. It currently has 150 members and is expected to reach 175 by the middle of 2017, at which point it will open new locations.

The Queer Gym aims to be a place, first and foremost, where LGBT people can work out in safety. Huerta says, “How can you think about getting healthy if you’re worried about getting jumped or sexually assaulted in the locker room?”

Yes, hookups do occur – with lots of attractive queer ladies and lots of adrenaline, what do you expect? – but that’s not the point of the gym. Huerta envisions a place where queer women can feel good about themselves and focus on their own wellbeing.

Working out at The Queer Gym is more than a chore. It’s a community. Some of the people who’ve met at her gym have even gotten married.

This is the first and only LGBT-only gym in the US. Get an in-depth look or check out the official website.

Equator Coffees & Teas Becomes First LGBT-Owned Business To Be Named As A U.S Small Business Of The Year.

California-based coffee roaster Equator Coffees & Teas had incredibly humble beginnings as business partners Brooke McDonnell and Helen Russell launched the company out of a small, Marin County garage in 1995. Now, the business employs 90 people, has more than 350 wholesale customers and several properties including its 5,5000 square foot flagship roaster in San Rafael as well as retail cafes at LinkedIn and micro-kitchens at Google.

Now, though, Equator Coffees & Teas has another milestone to be proud of as it has just been named California’s Small Business of the Year by the U.S Small Business Administration. This also makes Equator Coffees & Teas the first LGBT-owned business to win the award, as it is has been certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).


With the win, Equator Coffees & Teas was praised for its commitment to social responsibility. For example, in 2011 the business became the first American coffee roaster to become a certified B corporation which recognised its work regarding sustainable roasting methods, eco-friendly worker housing and more.

Of the Small Business of the Year win, Helen Russell says that:

It is such an incredible honor to be recognized by the SBA as Small Business of the Year for the State of California, and we are grateful to the GGBA for advocating on our behalf, to Capital Access Group for nominating us for this prestigious award and to the NGLCC for being a champion for LGBTBE firms at the national and international levels.

As an entrepreneur, a women-owned business and a LGBTBE-certified business, I am proud to say that the SBA has been there for Equator at all stages of our growth over the last 21 years.”

Jacklyn Jordan, the CEO and president of the Capital Access Group which nominated Equator Coffees & Teas for the award also added that McDonnell and Russell “have not only created a successful, socially responsible business, they have also helped to influence the overall trajectory of the coffee industry through their early support of the Fair Trade movement.”