THE first LGBT+ café could be opening up in York as soon as 2022 as a York artist starts to turn their dream into reality.

Almost £1,000 has been raised in less than a week by those who want to see Nelli Mooney, a 25-year old Finnish born non-binary interdisciplinary artist and art director, bring their vision of 'Lunar Café' to life.

With plans for rainbow cakes, coffee supplied by Abstract Coffee Roasters, support groups and a shop stocking LGBT+ merch, Nelli wants to bring more representation to the high streets of a city known for its progressive history.

After all, diarist and landowner Anne Lister took a sacrament to seal her union with Ann Walker in Holy Trinity Church in 1834 while York Pride takes place each year.


  • LGBTQIA+ refers to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally and pansexual.
  • Non-binary means people who feel their gender cannot be defined within the societal confines of ‘male’ or ‘female’.
  • Non-binary means some prefer to use they/them pronouns

"I have had this idea in my head for quite a few years now," Nelli said.

"I tend to have a lot of ideas and I get inspired to create concepts which I think would benefit a particular community.

"Considering how many Yorkshire people identify as LGBTQIA+ there isn't anywhere for us to go.

"I used to live in London and spent a lot of time in both Soho and East London areas. I loved it, however, I wasn't comfortable how the London LGBT+ scene seems to often focus on drinking or taking drugs.

"I just wanted to meet people like myself and connect. Hence the idea of a coffee shop. I wanted to create a safe and cool place I personally wanted to go to, where the floors aren't sticky and you don't have to shout over the music to ask who their favourite Queer Eye host is!

"My dream for Lunar Café is to be a super quirky and cool spot in York, a place where people 'pilgrimage' to from around the North (or why not from all over the UK!). I want both the design and the concept to be super unique, to contrast the wonderful medieval architecture of York."

Lunar Café will also have a spot for a makeup artist to make LGBTQIA+ folk feel confident, a photography area and a hair stylist who specialises in trans hair.

Explaining the benefits of this hair salon, Nelli said: "When people transition, it can be extremely difficult for them to go to a hairdresser and say 'I am trans. Can you cut/dye my hair to make me feel gender euphoria rather than dysphoria? Or could you tell me a little bit about wigs?'.

"The hair stylist might panic and say something that they don't mean or they simply cannot unlearn the male/female binaries of hairstyling for that particular customer.

"Or, even if a salon would be supportive of trans people, a transitioning person will still feel anxious and fear of being judged. A hair stylist specialising in trans hair will help the transgender person feel comfortable in their own skin by truly helping the customer look and feel great - that's what hairsalon's are all about, right?"

Nelli added: "Lunar Café's Instagram followers have also expressed their wish for Lunar Cafe to hold small wedding ceremonies at some point and I think that sums up the vibe: unexpected, unusual and lots of fun."

It's something that resonates personally with Nelli who began learning about their identity at the age of 15.

Nelli explained: "I don't belong to either gender category - as soon as I first came across the term 'non-binary' I knew that this was it.

"Sometimes cis-people say to me, 'Why do you need a label, why can't you just be you?'.

"I personally like labels that help me define my identity. I don't see anything wrong about that. It's like asking a man or a woman, 'Why do you give yourself a label of being a 'strong independent woman' or a 'nice man'?'

"I want to create a space where all genderqueer people feel welcome and not having to worry about having their gender identity questioned."

The crowdfunding page will be live until the end of May with a target of £5,000. You can donate to the cause here.