Usually, when I think of Pride month, I think of celebration and acceptance. But this year, I think about loss. In the wake of the Orlando massacre, I feel emotionally exhausted. I also feel a need to do something.
I am a member of the LGBTQA community and the children’s book community. Since there aren’t too many of us who belong to both, I thought this might be an area where I can help bring about change. That was the reason why I illustrated J.J. Austrian’s beautiful book, Worm Loves Worm.
It is so important that children see lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally characters in books. My wish for them is to live in a world of acceptance where people are trying to understand and appreciate each other’s differences. Our visibility is crucial. LGBTQ people need to be seen as real three-dimensional human beings. The inability for some to see us as human beings with real hearts and minds makes it easier for them to fear and hate us. We can help our kids be good friends and allies. We can help “different” kids love themselves. Books like this one for the youngest readers are a great way to start.
In honor of Pride month, and in memory of the victims of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, I’m donating 20 copies of Worm Loves Worm to schools around the country, courtesy of Balzer + Bray. Enter to win a copy for your school! Just tweet this this post on Twitter and include the hashtag #wormloveswormpride. On June 30th, we’ll select 20 random schools and mail you a copy!
Happy Pride month everyone!
Worm Loves Worm also appeared on this awesome list that the Advocate published: 21 LGBT Picture Books Every Kid Should Read. Another great resource for middle grade and young adult queer titles is Lee Wind’s blog, I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell do I Read?
My company, Queer Getting Married, had the honor of being present at Seattle City Hall the first day of marriage equality in Washington. If you saw any pics from that day of people wearing ring pops, we were the people handing them out! Please watch, cry, clap, woot, and share with friends! ♥
Hello dear readers! So sorry I’ve been away for a while. I have been a bit busy. Since last May, my friend Jenny and I have been working on a new business venture, and we just launched this past Friday!
Queer Getting Married is a wedding invite company geared towards the gay community! Our mission is to create new traditions in wedding design for queer couples and allies with damn good taste.
Yes, I know –>GASP!<– But wait, there’s more!
Since we believe that gay marriage (or what I just like to call “marriage”) is a civil right that belongs to all people, we are donating 5% of all profits to organizations campaigning for marriage equality.
“Why should gay people shop at Queer Getting Married? What’s the difference between these and other invitations?” Aside from donating money from each order, Queer Getting Married wants our customers to feel secure that the invite company they are ordering from believes their union is as meaningful as anyone else’s and that their order will be treated with the utmost respect and care. Also, there is no such thing as “traditional gay marriage.” We’ve waited a very long time for this reality, so why should we be tied down by some cumbersome outdated designs? Your save the dates and wedding invitations are printed declarations of your love! We want to help you celebrate your marriage with ridiculously stylish designs that break the mold of traditional wedding stationery.
“So…do you only do invites for the gays, or can a straight couple ask you for your services?” As I said in our mission statement, we serve queers and allies. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an “ally” is someone who does not personally identify as queer, but supports queer people. If you’re reading this right now (and you’re not queer) you’re most likely an ally, otherwise we probably wouldn’t be friends. Don’t worry, if you’re a hetero, we won’t judge your lifestyle choices 😉
“This is amazing, Mike! What can I do to help?” Awww, thank you so much for asking! You can help by posting on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, talking to your gay friends who are getting married, or your gay friends who aren’t getting married, or your straight friends who support marriage equality, or your barber, or your Brazilian waxer, or your nosey neighbor that won’t stop talking to you even though you’ve given them all possible social queues. The point is, share, share, share whenever you can. Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. We are really looking to the community to help us get this off the ground. Amazingly, within an hour of posting our new site on my Facebook page, a bunch of my friends already started re-sharing without me even saying anything. You all know who you are, and I’m truly touched. Thank you.
Soon after, Jenny and I were having dinner, and she said that I should really consider getting into making wedding invitations as a business. I had made several wedding packages before, and really enjoyed it, but I could see myself becoming very bitter making other people’s wedding invites when I’m not allowed to get married (which hopefully will become possible in Washington state this November once we get through REF 74). The next day I was working on their invites, and something clicked. I’ll just make invites for the gays! Now that would make me smile! I texted Jenny my idea, she said it was brilliant. We had always wanted to start a business together, and here it was! And there was much rejoicing. (yaaay)
Since then, it has been a long, windy road. I left my very stable job as Design Team Lead at Groundspeak at the end of October so that I would have more time to work on QGM (that’s cool-speak for Queer Getting Married–get with the lingo!). We’ve done a crap-ton of paper-work and searched high and low for the right printer (and it looks like we’re still looking for a long-term printing partner).
Working on all of the designs was so much fun. I loved experimenting with different typefaces and layouts, and pushing the limits of what a wedding invite can be. All of the samples on our site were printed on digital press, but we’ll be offering offset and letterpress! The site features our ready-made designs that people can purchase (I’ll be setting the type), and we also offer custom orders! The current site is temporary. We put up the temporary site just in time for the GLBT Expo in New York this past weekend.We have some super-duper web guys working on a more robust site, where you can actually place an order and personalize online. Matthew Elsea from Clutch Design is doing the web design, and Marc Bonne from Design Nebula is working on web development. They are such good guys and easy to work with.
Jenny and I are both thrilled to finally be able to share our vision with you. Feedback is always welcome, so please do let us know what you love or dislike about the current site or products. Here’s to new beginnings!!!