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PRIDE MONTH: The Brick Hut Cafe

Happy Pride!

To mark the occasion, ARTXV will be shining a light on and celebrating the intersectionality of the LGBTQIA+ and disabled communities. Historically, the disabled rights movement has been pioneered to a great extent by lesbians, supported by queer allies and incorporated into gay rights movements by transgender activists and drag queens.

Sharing a common fight for basic human rights including healthcare, housing, employment and societal inclusion, these groups demonstrated the true power of community and defiance during the late 20th century:

The Brick Hut Cafe

The Brick Hut Cafe was a lesbian co-op in Berkeley, CA, running from 1975-1997 (nearly 22 years). It served as a cafe for all community members and allies, an information centre for activists and a safe haven for the whole community.

two women with short hair, one with glasses and another with a hat, looking up at the camera with joyful smiles. Behind them is a window with the words in bold 'Brick Hut Cafe'.
Sharon Davenport and Joan Antonuccio, members of the founding feminist collective, at The Brick Hut Cafe

two white women with cropped hair smiling at the camera under a sign saying "the brick hut cafe". one women has her arm around the other

"We welcomed everyone who was an ally in our common cause of

social justice and inclusion."

- Sharon Davenport, founder of The Brick Hut Cafe

4 women laughing outside the Brick Hut Cafe: two women in chef overalls and two in casual clothes.

"We were a haven for lesbians and gay men, an information center for LGBT activists, an anchor for a diverse community that included working girls, bad-boys, suburban queens, transmen and transwomen. We were the Dyke Diner: the Lesbian Luncheonette: the Chick Hut: the Brick Hug. When AIDS hit a group of customers affectionately named the Shattuck Street Fairies (SSF) we became a refuge and an information outlet for AIDS awareness.

Sometimes we were the last stop: as when Ron, one of the SSF housemates, was lovingly carried in on the arms of his friends for his last Brick Hut meal."

- Sharon Davenport

The Brick Hut Cafe extended their community work beyond the cafe, and beyond the LGBTQIA+ community. They closed the cafe frequently to attend protests, demonstrations, rallies and parades, with a sign on the door saying "JOIN US". These rallies weren't limited to those for the LGBTQIA+ community, but extended to anti-nuclear, anti-war, feminist and disability rights events.

Notably, they supported disabled protestors during the historic 504 Sit-in, bringing cooked meals to the protestors along with the Black Panthers, enabling the protest to go on for as long as it did (26 days: the longest peaceful occupation of a federal building in US history!). This protest ultimately led to the signing of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in programs or activities that receive federal funding.

grainy black and white photo of a group of people, a mixture of those standing and in wheelchairs, eating at a table with big tubs of food, at the disability protest, the504 sit-in
Protestors and allies at the 504 Sit-in

Hear from the protestors themselves about being supported with cooked meals:


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