The Coolest Queer-Owned Stores to Shop This Season
From tees and art to leather and lube, these stores have your holiday shopping list covered.
The holidays are here, and with them comes the fun of finding the perfect gifts for your family, baes, and besties. Instead of spending hours at the mall or scrolling online, let us help you shower your loved ones (and maybe even yourself) with some queer pride from the coolest LGBTQIA+ businesses across the country. From they/them themed jewelry to “thinking of your butt” greeting cards, our list will have you ready to celebrate the season and your favorite people in it ... both naughty and nice.
Founded in 2019, The Little Gay Shop features original artwork, clothing, and stationery created by LGBTQIA+ artists and designers like Ash and Chess, a queer and trans couple who specialize in retro-style greeting cards, and Gaypin’ Guys, who create pins “for people to feel like they're representing their community and starting conversations.” Add some rainbows to your loved one’s wall with some eye-popping art, send a different kind of holiday greeting with a “thinking of your butt” card, or buy a bunch of pins, buttons, and stickers for stocking stuffers.
Los Angeles, California
Founded by queer-owner Rachel Berks, Otherwild is a store, design studio, and event space all in one. Encourage your loved ones to show off their pride with originally-designed tees and sweaters, spice up your home with Boy Smells candles (try the Pride Collection featuring scents like Ambrosia, made of mandarin peel, rosemary, galbanum, iris, hinoki, and vanilla), stock up on Best Witches cards, and more. Your purchase also supports the community, as Berks donates a portion of her proceeds to organizations and social justice causes like Planned Parenthood and The National Center for Transgender Equality.
As a kid, getting underwear for the holidays wasn’t fun, but Needz changes that. The store features a vast collection of sexy men’s underwear from brands like PUMP!, Nasty Pig, Black Unicorn, and Skull & Bones you can pick up for one of your favorite peeps, or even yourself. If you know someone who loves leather, you’re in luck. There’s an extensive collection including harnesses, pants, and cuffs from CJ’s Leather, as well as a wide selection of adult toys and lubes.
Why buy your bestie a generic sweater when you can give them a Golden Girls friendship ring, glittering unicorn earrings, or other kick-ass jewelry made by genderfluid designer Cat Conley? Founded in 2013, Steer Queer also sells necklaces and earrings with your preferred pronoun, like the popular they/them hoops.
New Haven, Connecticut
Launched in 2014 by lifestyle designer Alex Dakoulas, Strange Ways works with over 100 independent artists and designers to sell pins, patches, clothes, tapestries, and other unique gifts like the well-hung trophy and box of donut magnets. Items celebrate individuality and special collections support LGBTQIA-inclusiveness, Women’s Rights, and Black Lives Matter.
Named in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Citizen Ruth is a feminist shop that “blends intersectionality into handcrafted accessories and gifts” like mugs, magnets, and ornaments. Buy one with RBG herself, or choose from designs inspired by Schitt’s Creek, 9 to 5, The First Wives Club, and other queer icons. Shopping here really does make you a good citizen, too: your purchase directly supports the work of 250 female, queer, and marginalized artists from all over the world.
Will Acton, queer owner of Pumkinfish, is a former optometrist with an eye for all things unique and wondrous to liven your holiday gift-giving. Located in downtown Indianapolis, the shop is a treasure trove of knick-knacks and fun gifts like bath soaps, cocktail mixers, and wine for your cat (a non-alcoholic and all-natural drink topped off with catnip), plus a big selection of other pet and human goods, too.
If you know someone with a real sweet tooth, order some of the yummy treats made by the queer owner of Capital Candy Jar, Dave Burton. Try offerings like almond toffee bark and caramel clouds, and be sure to get some chocolate-covered Oreos decorated with DC landmarks and American flags — both for yourself and to leave out for Santa.
Salt Lake City, Utah
A cozy neighborhood queer bookstore, Under the Umbrella highlights LGBTQIA+ writers from around the world and provides a safe space for the community. From classic fiction to small presses, you’ll find something for everyone on your shopping list. Their extensive selection also focuses on stories from queer people of color (especially women who are Black and transgender), individuals with disabilities, sex workers, asexual and aromantic people, and other identities not often represented. Bonus: there are drag history tours, open mic nights, and queer tarot readings for those who visit in person.
New York City
Exit 9 has been a New York institution for 26 years. Browse the aisles in their East Village or Brooklyn stores for greeting cards, NYC-centric gifts, toys, and more. Or visit the Queer Here section of their website for pride socks, a Queer Cocktails recipe book, and queer candle collections. No matter who you’re shopping for, you’re bound to find a cool gift here.
Multiple locations in the Midwest
A store toting the “Gay Agenda" collection?” Yes, please. Raygun sells cool t-shirts, postcards, and barware with sayings like “It’s Rainbow Time Bitch” and “Conversion Therapy Dropout” that make great gifts for sassy friends and loved ones. Stores are located across Iowa in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City, as well as Chicago, Kansas City, and Omaha. Or you can shop online from the comfort of your couch, too.
Shop original pride tees, headgear, and “cards for people who aren’t uptight” at Louabull, a queer boutique and gift shop, which is the only store in its area that meshes both Southern and queer pride. They also sell tees in kid’s sizes, so you can add some rainbows and pride to a little loved one's wardrobe.
Shop handmade gifts like original art and jewelry and support the work of women and queer creatives at Virago Gallery, a store and concept space. The name Virago is Latin and means female warrior, making a gift from here is the perfect way to celebrate all of the strong women in your life.