On June 1st — much like any other morning — I opened up Instagram and was shocked by the number of Pride posts I saw. All I could think about was how trendy being queer has become. There were rainbow cookies, murals, donuts, clothes, nails — you name it. Nevertheless, as a queer woman living in New York City, I was ready to indulge and start my rainbow tour of the city!
Then it hit me — shit, they got me! These companies are using our colors, our words and slang, and our culture to sell their products to preach unity and support. Don’t get me wrong, the awareness and visibility are great — but the LGBTQ community, specifically trans women of color, need money, jobs, and resources. Because of this, I made it my mission to only fill my belly with sweets and treats that are actually giving back to the community, and not just using food coloring and clever marketing to attract my people.
I compiled a list of local NYC restaurants and businesses that are doing just that. Put your money where your mouth is, and support these shops!
1. Baked by Melissa — Pride 25 Cupcake Pack | Multiple Locations
Baked by Melissa is a company known for its delicious bite-sized treats, now for Pride month they’re queered up! These little cupcakes are soft, moist, and… charitable. 10% of the net proceeds will be donated to New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, also known as The Center. The Center offers the NYC LGBTQ community an array of health, wellness, and cultural support and services.
2. BakedinColor — Signature Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake and Brownie Rainbow Cookie Cake | Turnstyle Underground Market (57th St Subway Station)
Baked in Color is notorious for their irresistible soft chocolate chip cookies that come in any color you desire. To celebrate Pride, they sell special cookie and brownie cakes that are perfect for a Pride Picnic with friends! They also sell regular sized rainbow cookies and brownies, as well. A portion of the proceeds of the cookie cakes will also be donated to the New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center.
3. City Cakes — Rainbowdoodle | 251 West 18th Street
There is a reason so many people find joy in rainbows, and this particular @citycakes version just happens to taste amazing, too!😍🏳️🌈🍪 In 1978, Vietnam War veteran, designer and then-drag performer (!), Gilbert Baker was commissioned by Harvey Milk to replace the triangular symbol flag that had previously been used by the LGBTIQ community, but carried with it many painful associations. The rainbow flag regularly flown now promotes inclusion and acceptance of ALL people, mimics our nation’s flag and is representative of nature’s pure beauty. We promise you each #Rainbowdoodle we sell is unique, and the insanely difficult task of making these beauties is surprisingly parallel to cultural acceptance: focusing on the final result makes the journey completely worthwhile. ❤🧡💛💚💙💜 Quantities are limited each day, customers are limited to 4 per person (via our website also), and $1 from every cookie purchased goes directly to our friends at the NYC @antiviolence Project.
City Cakes is a cake shop in Chelsea that’s known for is half pound cookies. This month, the half-pound cookie gets a rainbow makeover called the Rainbowdoodle. $1 from every cookie purchased goes directly to the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP). AVP strives to end all forms of violence, specifically to the LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities by organizing and education. AVP also provides counseling to survivors of any violence. Quantities are limited each day customers are limited to 4 cookies per person so get there quick!
4. Dana’s Bakery — Rainbow Black and Whites | 60th and Third Ave in Dylan’s Candy Bar
Dana’s Bakery is known for its fun twist on the classic macaron, but recently they baked up a rainbow black and white cookie. They’ve teamed up with (RED) to raise money and awareness for the fight against AIDS. Each time that you buy a box of red velvet macarons $5 is donated to (RED). Buying the actual rainbow black and white cookie doesn’t raise any money unless you buy a box of macarons with it!
5. Just Salad — Big Gay Garden Salad | Multiple Locations
IT’S BACK! Let your pride shine this month 🌈 For the third year in a row, we are a sponsor of @nycpride, and to celebrate, we brought back the Big Gay Garden Salad! $1 from every salad sold will be donated to NYC Pride! 🙌🏼 #JustProud #JustGay #NYCPride . . . . #Justsalad #Plantbasedfood #eatpretty #eatingwelleats #buzzfeast #feelgoodfood #eattherainbow #whatsonmyplate #wholefood #plantbasedlife #Thenewhealthy #gloobyfood #Gay #Gaypride #gaypridemonth #Gayguys #LGBT #LGBTCommunity #Lovewins #Lesbian #Gaycouple #gaylove #ComingOut
Oh, this is different! Let’s throw a salad in the mix, shall we? Just Salad get its acclaim for their amazing build it yourself style salad bar and their reusable bowls for frequent visitors. This year Just Salad has teamed up with NYC Pride to create their colorful Big Gay Garden Salad. $1 from every Big Gay Garden Salad sold will be donated to New York City Pride. NYC Pride is an annual to celebrate the LGBTQ community and commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Donating to NYC Pride you are also supporting other annual events and programs that educate and celebrate the community.
6. Supermoon Bakehouse — Pride Croissant | 120 Rivington Street
Our pre-baked 🌈 PRIDE CROISSANTS 🌈 are the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen… Don’t forget that the flavor inside will change everyday because no matter who you are, inside or out – you’re still delicious! $1 from every Pride Croissant sold will be donated to the @lgbtcenternyc . #everybodyloveeverybody #supermoonloveseverybody #wewillbakeforyou #croissant #pride #pridemonth #pridecroissant #newyork
Supermoon Bakehouse specializes in all things flaky and sweet! During Pride Month, Supermoon Backhouse drops their most colorful croissant! $1 from every Pride Croissant sold will be donated to the New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center.
Let’s be real — this list is not long at all, especially compared to the number of companies that are selling Pride-themed products. I also want to acknowledge the lack of diversity in the organizations that are being donated to. Many charities are more mainstream and over-donated, while the ones that benefit the most marginalized folks in our community are under-resourced. There is still A LOT of work that needs to be done. Companies need to wake up and smell the Pride, because it’s not all just rainbows and love. There are real communities suffering and have been for years. Their problems can’t be solved with your Instagram-worthy rainbow pretzel. Hopefully, this sheds some light on businesses that are trying to do it right — feeding our bellies, souls, and pockets.
Enjoy your conscious rainbow tour and be proud while doing so!