Queer Fil-Canadian duo’s café caters to queer peers
EDMONTON, Alberta – Two self-described queer Filipino Canadians are operating their own café despite the pandemic to pursue their dream of providing a safe space for people like them.
Mavi Az Atolentino and Reika Herradura, both in their early twenties, said school used to be their “closet,” but they had nowhere else to go after classes because they had to hide their queerness even at home.
“The queer community has very limited options and not a lot of them are accessible. For example, bars. Only 18+ people can access that. What about the youth that need that space?” Atolentino told CTV News.
Herradura concurred, “We just wanted a place where we can belong in the community and have a safe space as both queer individuals.” Now, their Southgate Centre shop, Intent Coffee, which opened Sept. 5, does just that. It serves local baked goods and coffee farmed by Indigenous women in the Philippines.
A GoFundMe campaign raised $6,000 for plumbing and electrical expenses, helping Atolentino and Herradura turn their dream into a reality. They have hired six people from the queer and trans BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color) communities.
“It’s really, really excellent coffee,” one customer told CTV News Edmonton.
“We are Filipino, so we have to support them,” said another.