Mountain Moving Coffeehouse

Coordinates: 41°58′38.37″N 87°40′20.28″W / 41.9773250°N 87.6723000°W / 41.9773250; -87.6723000
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Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn and Children
SuccessorKindred Hearts' Coffeehouse
DissolvedDecember 10, 2005
Legal statusCollective
PurposeWomyn's music and culture
Coordinates41°58′38.37″N 87°40′20.28″W / 41.9773250°N 87.6723000°W / 41.9773250; -87.6723000
Region served

The Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn and Children was a lesbian feminist music venue, located in Chicago and known across the United States. It operated for thirty-one years, from 1974 until 2005. The name of the organization evokes the political task that feminists must "move the mountains" of institutional sexism and homophobia.[1] The alternative spelling of "womyn" represented an expression of female independence and a repudiation of traditions that define women by reference to a male norm.[2]

The "coffeehouse" was a once-a-week Saturday night gathering, held at a rented space in churches,[3] in various north side Chicago neighborhoods, that presented woman-identified music and entertainment by and for lesbians and feminists. Drug and alcohol-free, the space was intended as an alternative to the lesbian bar scene.[4] The organization was founded by lesbian-feminist activists as a safe-space for women and their young children. Male children over the age of two and transgender women were not allowed to attend.[5]

The womyn-born womyn policy generated some controversy during the 1980s when pressure was put on the coffeehouse to allow admittance to men, as well as in the 1990s when the policy was contested by transgender women.[6] It was claimed that the policy was discriminatory and created "mental difficulties" for transgender women.[7] The policy was also challenged in the 1990s by a local gay male journalist. However, the organization defended its policy and never allowed admittance to men or to transgender women.[8]

In 1993, the coffeehouse was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[9][10]

Upon the closure of the coffeehouse on December 10, 2005, it was the oldest continuously operating womyn-born womyn and girl-only concert venue in the United States. A successor organization was created called the Kindred Hearts' Coffeehouse, which serves as a monthly event offering women's music.[11]


  1. ^ Duke-Whitaker, Lois (1999). Women in Politics: Outsiders or Insiders?: A Collection of Readings. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. p. 380. ISBN 013096610X.
  2. ^ Neeru Tandon (2008). Feminism: A Paradigm Shift
  3. ^ Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. 2011. p. 177. ISBN 9780299284046. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  4. ^ Baim, Tracy (2008). Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community. Chicago, Illinois: Surrey Books. p. 127. ISBN 9781572841000.
  5. ^ A Native's Guide to Chicago, 4th Edition. Chicago, Illinois: Lake Claremont Press. 2004. p. 245. ISBN 1893121232. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  6. ^ "Mountain Moving Memories". Windy City Times. September 28, 2005. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  7. ^ Boston Women's Health Book Collective (2005) [1971]. Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era (35th anniversary ed.). New York City: Simon & Schuster. p. 153. ISBN 0743256115. OCLC 57283896.
  8. ^ Bergquist, Kathie; McDonald, Robert (2006). A Field Guide to Gay & Lesbian Chicago. Chicago, Illinois: Lake Claremont Press. p. 183. ISBN 1893121038. OCLC 70249202. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  9. ^ "Inductees to the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. 2015. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn and Children". Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. 1993. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Mountain Moving Tradition Lives On". Windy City Media Group. Retrieved 2012-12-22.

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