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September 22, 2022

Nicole Rizzuto

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International Coffee Day and the LGBTQ Community

September 22, 2022
Nicole Rizzuto

“You could say I’m a little … obsessed with coffee.”

Point Scholar and MIT student Ari Peró spent much of the pandemic binging coffee-related media and has since turned their regular consumption of late-night café con leche into a “full-blown craft.” Focused on finding a good coffee machine without breaking the bank, Ari “‘Frankensteined" their hand-frother to make milk foam without a steam wand and spent two years searching for their dream espresso machine–– a broken one they could refurbish.

Ari’s love of caffeine helps fuel their busy schedule. A student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ari was elected President of G@MIT last spring and is working on recommendations for more trans-inclusive classrooms on campus. G@MIT is the LGBTQ cultural organization at MIT for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Before entering college, Ari was a cofounder of the national organization, Students Demand Action, which focuses on ending gun violence in the United States. Ari is studying urban studies and planning as well as music at MIT, and they graduated from a nationally-recognized arts high school. Over the last year, they’ve been working on video installations that spotlight the experiences of trans and nonbinary People of Color.

“I hope to utilize these projects I have poured so much time and passion into developing as a platform from which to illuminate allies on the trans experience,” Ari said.

Ari is just one of the many LGBTQ college students who love coffee. As Oct. 1 is International Coffee Day, Point wanted to take a moment to celebrate this staple beverage of the college experience and reflect on the connection between delicious iced coffee and the LGBTQ community.

“My ideal coffee order?" Ari said. "A hazelnut latte." 

See one of Ari's self-made frothy drinks below.

A coffee in a black mug made by Ari Pero.

How is the LGBTQ Community  Connected to Coffee Culture?

“He gives me free iced coffee every time I go in which is every hour on the hour and thank you very much and occasionally on the half hour.”
- Jack McFarland (played by Sean Hayes) in the 2001 Will & Grace episode, "Coffee & Commitment.”

Although there’s no clear-cut connection between iced coffee and gender or sexuality, the continued popularity of iced coffee in LGBTQ culture has led to a very important phenomenon: the creation of LGBTQ cafes that cater to people in the LGBTQ community who are living sober lifestyles.

"We do everything friends do: we drink way too much iced coffee, we watch bad ‘90s movies, and hang out at Waffle House dreaming of college and gorging on carbs."
- Simon Spier (played by Nick Robinson) in Love, Simon.

In 2019, THEM published an article focused on the importance of sober spaces for the LGBTQ community. Places like Cutie’s in East Hollywood, Odd Fox Coffee in New York City, and Mutiny Information Café in Denver cater to populations that cannot otherwise access LGBTQ culture at their local gay bar. This includes people who choose to live sober lives and folks under the age of 21 (the majority of college students). Sober spaces for the LGBTQ community allow for greater intergenerational connection, more inclusivity and accessibility, and considerably more coffee consumption.

“The only gay thing I’ve done all weekend is a drink like a gallon of iced coffee.”
- Heather Hogan, Managing Editor of Autostraddle on Twitter, 2022.

On International Coffee Day, Point salutes all coffee lovers in the LGBTQ community and celebrates those who, like Point Community College Scholar, Lerkeshia Littlejohn, prefer tea.

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