Angela Tavárez and Ana de León opened La Fábrica in 2014 to create a safe space for Dominican women to share art, food, and feminism.
“All industries are male-dominated in the [Dominican Republic],” said Angela. “But we are opening ways to women, and this is one of those spaces.”
The couple combined their love of food and art to create a restaurant and art collective for women and allies to express themselves.
“Don’t let the word ‘woman’ signify weakness or having little influence,” said Ana. “You know, instead let it be a symbol of yes, I can, that it’s a challenge that every day you have to wake up and think about.”
The LGBTQ+ community is subjected to violence and discrimination in the Dominican Republic, making it especially difficult for business owners to be openly gay. It took the couple years to come out publicly and they say they still face harassment.
But La Fábrica is still surviving against the adversity, and the women host weekly conversations there, where women of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome.
“You need to be brave and confront any challenge, independent of your gender,” said Ana. “You can always get to where you want to go as long as you don’t limit yourself.”