However, Jennivee’s Bakery in the Chicago neighbourhood of Boystown is gaining a name for itself as an inclusive space for the LGBT+ community, OUT reports.
Because, "everybody deserves to have good cake," says owner Jenne Vailoces.
Vailoces is a transgender woman from the Phillippines who trained as a physical therapist but eventually decided to pursue her dream of opening a bakery.
“I’m so thankful that it’s doing really well,” she says.
With the business thriving, Vailoces is looking to hire more employees and is enlisting the help of TransWorks—a local organisation that advances employment opportunities for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.
Vailoces says the wave of cake shop owners who have chosen to discriminate against LGBT+ customers under the guise of ‘religious freedom’ is upsetting.
“It saddens me when I hear stories of people using religion as a justification to discriminate and to exclude people like myself,” she says.
On being transgender, Vailoces says: “My mum said I was different even when I was inside her womb.
When a friend of hers asked who she would choose to be in another life she said: ‘I would still choose to be trans because a lot of the experiences I’ve lived through in my life, although they’ve been difficult and challenging, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Vailoces is currently preparing for Pride celebrations in Chicago and plans to hand out cupcakes to people marching in the parade.
"Hopefully this bakery will be a mainstay for the LGBTQ community,” Vailoces says.
“I feel like Chicago needs a bakery that the LGBTQ community can proudly call their own."