Long Beach has been recognized for decades as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly towns in the entire country. This quality manifests itself the most during Pride Weekend (May 17 to 19 this year), when thousands flock to our city to celebrate diversity and the freedom to live as they choose.  

Many Queer-owned Downtown businesses will be reveling in the spirit of the weekend as well.  Meet these business owners and creators, who will be celebrating, contributing, and perhaps recalling their own journey during all the festivities. 



Garcia opened Dappers & Dames Parlour in 2016 after being in the barber and salon world for many years and realizing there was a severe lack of diversity and inclusivity, particularly for Queer people. “I wasn’t feminine enough for the salon nor was I masculine enough for the barbershop,” said Garcia. “It was then I knew I was destined to create a safe space in which all people are welcome.” 

Born in Burbank and raised in Riverside, Garcia began her career as a licensed stylist in 2004. After moving to Long Beach in 2010, she became a dual-licensed barber and stylist in 2014. “I absolutely and wholeheartedly love what I do,” she said. “I love to be of service to others. Also, I love the freedom to express my artistic skills and vision through haircuts, color techniques, styling, and shaving. In addition, I love the relationships I get to build with clients and to provide them with one-on-one personal attention and care.”

For Garcia, navigating the balance between celebrating the LGBTQ+ community’s unique identity while appealing to a broader audience requires a thoughtful and inclusive approach. 

“Our business plays a significant role in contributing to the ongoing diversity and inclusivity of Downtown by hosting and sponsoring events, providing a sense of community, raising awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, and supporting local causes and charities in the interest of contributing to positive change.”  



Angles is the owner and creator of Thai District, a restaurant in the heart of the East Village that has become known for its elegantly prepared dishes and locally sourced organic produce. Angles and his partner Ty, a pastry chef, bring decades of experience to the table. 

“I was born in France and came to California in 1988,” Angles explained. “I was a professional chef.” After working in several restaurants in L.A., he started a new job in Long Beach at La Grotte, the only French restaurant in Long Beach. “When La Grotte closed down I decided to start my own place. Frenchy’s Bistro opened in 1996 and became a big success. This is where I met my partner Ty, who stopped in for lunch and asked to talk to the chef or owner. I was both!” 

The pair opened Thai District in 2015 and have been going strong ever since. “The role we see for our business is to continue supporting diversity and inclusivity. This is Long Beach’s identity. We welcome everyone. Our banner out front with the name of the restaurant is basically a rainbow flag. We put it up about six years ago and have heard nothing but good comments.” 



Jewels is the Executive Director of Entertainment, Marketing and Media for Hamburger Mary’s, which operates as a restaurant, entertainment venue, and nightclub. “It’s a unique and welcoming establishment,” said Jewels.”It is a space where you can bring your grandma, your partner, and all your co-workers together to celebrate any occasion — especially a random Wild Wednesday!”

After moving to Long Beach in 1998 as an 18-year-old, Jewels became involved with Hamburger Mary’s when it burst onto the scene at its original Alamitos & Broadway location in 2001. “Over the years, through several Hamburger Mary’s incarnations, I’ve been so lucky to bring light and joy to our community with fabulous entertainment, drag shows, and dance clubs,” Jewels said. “We relocated to Pine Avenue over 10 years ago. The larger venue, ample parking, and consistent growth have been fantastic. This location is home to countless charity, fundraising, and community events, along with diverse entertainment throughout the week.

“It’s been an absolute joy over the last several decades to represent our community and be an advocate for our citizens,” Jewels continued. “Providing a safe and welcoming place to all is our passion.”  



Daniel is Owner and Creator of Albert’s Petite Sweets. He is able to apply his artistry as a chocolatier to small, intimate candy gifts – and enormous functions where thousands of sweets are required. “I enjoy promoting inclusivity by diversifying celebrations and cultures with my chocolates,” he noted. “For instance, during Pride Month I will be launching a line of LGBTQ+ themed chocolates and confections.”

Born and raised in the Philippines, Daniel moved to America in 1987 at age nine. Years later, after establishing a career as a personal trainer, he decided to make a drastic shift, baking and selling cake pops out of his home. “It was a grueling journey,” he recalled. “There was a moment in my life where I was homeless, but through the help of close friends, I was able to have a place to live, persevere, and grow my passion into a business.” Daniel mentioned the Downtown commercial kitchen space Partake Collective as a pivotal element of his success.

These days, Daniel makes chocolates for high-end clients such as Westin Hotels and the Disney Corporation. ‘What I love about chocolates and making candy is that it is a very flexible medium,” he said. “I know how to make chocolate and confections, and I’m also a mold maker who can add logos, customize 3D designs, and themes to all my chocolates. One of the ways I’m able to connect with the LGBTQ+ community is my ability implement any logo or theme for special occasions, theme parties, and corporate events.”   



Teves Lee named her shop Afros of Hollywood because her original shop was located on Hollywood Boulevard! “Elizabeth Taylor’s star was right outside our door,” she said. “It wasn’t easy, though, to be a Black-owned, Gay-owned, Woman-owned business on Hollywood Boulevard.” A Long Beach resident since age 15, she decided to eliminate her 80-mile-a-day commute, set up shop in Downtown Long Beach, and be close to the Long Beach gay community, for which she had always had a soft spot. 

Lee, who spent her early childhood in Carson, is a fifth-generation barber and a graduate of the John Wesley Barber School at 7th and Pine Ave. “My mother‘s great-great grandfather, my great grandfather, father, brother….We’re all barbers,” she shared. “I’m proud to be carrying on a family legacy.” 

A real go-getter, Lee has opened two more barber shops and a vocational barber school. She also partners with various groups for the benefit of youth. “I’m proud to be passing on a skill set that no computer can duplicate,” she said. 

The LGBTQ+ community is not the only reason why Lee thinks that Long Beach has such a good vibe. “It’s also because of the melting pot of people that makes up the community, be they gay or straight. I’m fortunate to be able to reap the benefits of the new era that’s upon us, in an area full of people who are comfortable coming through the door regardless of what color they are.”