Lisa Cannistraci, the owner of Henrietta Hudson—a Manhattan lesbian bar—is officially partnering with WorldPride | Stonewall 50 for the parties of a lifetime: Pride Soup (Queer on the Pier) and Siren, catering to two communities: the lesbian and the queer communities.
Lisa Cannistraci is known as a community icon. When the Cuby Hole closed its doors in 1990, Cannistraci (who was bartending there) joined forces with veteran lesbian club promoter Minnie Rivera to reopen the bar. Henrietta Hudson was thus born on Gay Pride 1991. It is now considered a lesbian institution.
Cannistraci was the VP of Marriage Equality USA when the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. She was at the hearings with Edie Windsor who changed history forever. She is a fervent activist for the LGBTQ community and remains engaged in the fight against AIDS.
As one of the legal guardians of Storme DeLarverie, an early leader in the Gay Rights Movement (who passed away in 2014), it is of course of personal significance to Cannistraci that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. DeLarverie was a singer, cross-dresser and bouncer who is rumored to have thrown the first punch at the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.
“It is going to be an extraordinary and historic month as we celebrate the shoulders that we all stand upon in furthering LGBTQ rights,” says Cannistraci.
1. Describe yourself in a six-word sentence.
I’m a woman on a mission.
2. What was the last thing you shared on social media?
A dance video for our WorldPride SIREN event.
3. What do you think is the main challenge facing LGBTQ people in your community?
I feel we need to be more mindful to engage in intersectionality within our community. We cannot rest on our laurels on the rights we have acquired over the past few decades. We must remain diligent and stand up for our trans brothers and sisters while they are struggling for equality. “The people united can never be divided” was one of the mantras of ACT UP.
4. What is your favorite LGBTQ business where you live?
Big Gay Ice Cream.
5. What advice do you have for people looking to get the bar and events industry?
Don’t make it about you. Embrace our differences and create a space for all parts of our community. Use the space as a platform for positive social change.