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Queer Figures in LB: Hot Java’s Original Owner Marsha Naify

Queer Figures in LB: Hot Java’s Original Owner Marsha Naify

Historical Society of Long Beach
Image of Marsha Naify provided by Historical Society of Long Beach.

Marsha Naify was born and raised in San Francisco but moved to Long Beach in the 1970s where she became involved with the local lesbian and gay community.

In Long Beach, Ms. Naify opened the Community Coffee House/Hot Java in the late 1990s with the intent of uniting the LGBT community in the area referred to as Long Beach’s “Gay Corridor,”  which she owned until 2006. She also owned a retail home goods and design store in downtown Long Beach, along with other commercial and residential properties.

Ms. Naify was president of the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club from 2001 to 2004 and was the driving force behind raising more funds than the club had previously raised. Under her leadership, the club continued promoting LGBT rights, garnering greater political influence, and increasing membership. Lambda worked to combat police harassment. She also served as a member of the City of Long Beach’s Human Relations Commission.

In 2012, she joined an effort at the Historical Society of Long Beach to document the local LGBT community. She became co-chair of the HSLB’s LGBT History Project Steering Committee. She gave of her time and money to create a multi-year effort to increase archival resources documenting the local LGBT community. She led the committee in raising unprecedented funds for the Society’s project. The results of the project included a year-long exhibition entitled, “Coming Out in Long Beach,” seven oral history interviews, archival sources preserved for future generations, panel discussions, multiple history conference presentations, and internships with local college students. The project brought together leaders from the LGBTQ Center, Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride, Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club, and the Imperial Court with historians who helped gain recognition for the community and context of Long Beach history. Ms. Naify made this project possible and was honored by the Lambda Democratic Club in 2013 for her efforts.

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Ms. Naify is a philanthropist who was a board member of Children Today, a Long Beach organization that works to “foster long-term stability and success in children and families who are facing homelessness or who are involved in the child welfare system.” During her tenure, she oversaw the design and construction of a new school for the children. Ms. Naify also contributes to The LGBTQ Center in Long Beach, The AIDS Food Store of Long Beach, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, Saddle Up LA, KCRW, Best Friends Animal Society, the Center Theatre Group, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Human Rights Campaign, The Victory Fund, UNICEF, and a variety of political campaigns and progressive causes. She is currently a member of the California Democratic Party’s Chair Circle and the Biden/Harris Finance Committee.

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