3 LGBTQ+ Owned Clothing Brands to Buy from this Holiday Season

3 LGBTQ+ Owned Clothing Brands to Buy from this Holiday Season

Sometimes you just need a good ol' queer themed t-shirt.
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Around this time of year, it seems like everyone is rushing out to buy the same gifts: candles, socks, gift cards. Gift shopping can be stressful because you don't want to buy the same generic sweater at Macy's for your best friend that everyone else is also buying.

This is the year you want to be unique and branch out. Maybe you know someone who just came out or someone who's a member of the LGBTQ+ community and you want to get them a statement shirt, something as special as them. Or maybe you want to buy something for yourself this holiday season, that's okay too; sometimes you just need a good ol' queer themed t-shirt.

Here are three LGBTQ+ owned apparel companies who directly support and cater to the community!

1. FLAVNT Streetwear.

FLAVNT is an Austin, Texas-based apparel company. It's run by Chris and Courtney Rhodes, who are siblings and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Their products feature various phrases such as "Gender Roles Are Dead," "Pretty Boy," and "Gal Pal;" they also have bright tie dye shirts that say "Keep Austin Queer," a play on the city's infamous phrase, "Keep Austin Weird."

I received a shirt of theirs last holiday season and am still obsessed. The quality is much higher than what I've ever found in stores at the mall. The phrases featured on the apparel are both unique and heartwarming; finding LGBTQ+ themed apparel within chain brands is nearly impossible so having a company out there that is run by members of the community makes FLAVNT quite special.

2. Transient Apparel.

Transient Apparel is a "queer community based brand" that was founded in March 2016. They sell boxers, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and beanies that feature their skull logo. They also sell transgender pride flag colored lanyards and pins, along with FTM (female to male) transgender boxes filled with various products such as binders (undergarments that compress one's chest) and packers (a prosthetic).

Their products are colorful and reasonably priced. On their Instagram, they are constantly posting images of customers wearing their merchandise and announcing new arrivals and sales. They have a smaller social media following than the other two brands listed, but it was started for the exact same reason: to support the LGBTQ+ community and create unique products relating to its beautiful members.

3. GC2B.

GC2B was founded in 2015 and is a "trans owned and operated company based in Maryland." The company is known across the LGBTQ+ community for their high quality, reliable chest binders. In short, these undergarments compress one's chest so that it appears flat; they can be an essential part of someone's everyday.

Binders are especially crucial for many transgender men and non-binary folks, but keep in mind that anyone can use one (there are no rules when it comes to making yourself comfortable within your body). They help ease dysphoria (the discomfort and disconnect that one has with their body) by allowing the individual to look in the mirror and see their chest flattened; this can help the person feel validated and a little more at home within their body.

Even though the thought of giving someone a binder as a present may seem as boring as socks or underwear, it truly isn't. Binders allow individuals to look at their bodies and help them feel a little less foreign; these undergarments can help people feel validated within their identity because for the time that they're wearing it, they get to feel like their body matches how they feel on the inside and that's the best gift you could give someone.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Why Growing Up In Lynn Massachussetts Made Me Racially Color Blind

One girl's story about how her city made her realize how important diversity truly is.
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When I was in second grade at Hood Elementary School our teacher asked us to look at our classmates next to us and write down something that we all have in common. While everyone seemed to be writing down the same basic ideas, such as parents, clothes, fingers, toes, etc.., I wrote down "We all have hearts." As the teacher read my answer aloud, she was blown away and all my classmates sitting next to me came up and hugged me. Even at such a young age in such a diverse classroom, we all recognized the inside of a person's heart is way more important than how they look on the outside.

The city of Lynn, Massachusetts is known for its rare, beautiful diversity. I had the privilege of growing up there and honestly I would not have wanted to be raised anywhere else. The unique acceptance of such diversity in a big city is the reason I am the woman I am today. When I first meet someone, I see no color. If I am judging someone, I am not judging their race, their clothes, or how they look but I am judging how they talk to me and how they treat others around them.

Growing up in Lynn gives you the advantage of viewing people inside out, race having no value in how you see a person. The melting pot that is my group of friends has truly given me such insight on how different cultures live and celebrate their lives. Yes, I am a white girl who knows how to Bachata, a specific Spanish dance, and I thank diversity for that. Even at only 20 years old, I feel like I have lived a lifetime due to all of the different cultures I have been able to embrace while living in Lynn. I have seen strangers, and even friends my age experience all different walks of life. From the bottom end of the spectrum on Union and Essex street, to the highest end moving toward Ward 1, I have seen it all.

As I moved away from Lynn and into the spectacular city of Boston, I realized something. Making roommates with strangers from towns I had never heard of before made me realize how much I missed Lynn. I have met people here in the city who never even had a black person in their school and when I try to converse with them about race or politics they are so one-sided because they have only ever seen one side. I feel sorry for them because they were never able to experience all the amazing people and cultures I have been able to experience. They have never gone to a party with Spanish, Cambodian and Jamaican music playing all at the same time. They have never tried a pastellito. They have never danced Bachata. They have never seen how truly beautiful diversity really is.

In the wake of everything going on in our country lately between Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, I ask you to stop, take a second and picture the other side. Take your one-sided mind and open your eyes because the only way we can save ourselves from this is to be unified. Diversity is beautiful, and you are, too.

Cover Image Credit: ushersnewlook

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Please, Open Your Mind About The Kavanaugh Case

I don't care if you believe Dr. Ford or not, open your mind and look at the facts.

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I want to talk about the Kavanaugh case. The case that has been in the headlines for quite some time. The case that has brought up things that no one likes to talk about. The case that has made it, according to some, so that there is a "war on men."

I don't normally write about controversial topics, but there is something not sitting right with me about this one. It's not about the fact that people have continuously attacked Dr. Ford's claims, it's about the fact that they attack her claims because, "she's just trying to tear down a successful man." They dismiss her because she's just a hurt democrat with a political agenda. They ignore and mock her not only with fake photos of her at the age of her assault, but the president of the United States publicly mocked her testimony at a rally - but the saddest part of that? The crowd clapping and cheering as he mocked Dr. Ford. The president's constant tweets throughout the days have included one where he talks about the harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Kavanaugh from the, "mean & despicable Democrats." From the moment she came forward, it was no longer about the fact that this woman is hurt and has been broken down by a sexual assault at a young age, but from that point on it was about politics and the fact that because Dr. Ford is not a republican, that she's lying and all of her allegations are uncorroborated and false.

Whether you think so or not, whether you believe Dr. Ford or not, I refuse to dismiss her, to call her names, to mock her, or to be as despicable as those who have done exactly that to her throughout this entire ordeal.

The reason for the title of this article though is because I want everyone to look at the facts of this in their rawest form. Kavanaugh, 53 and Ford, 51 were both born in the Washington, D.C. area and raised in and around the area of Bethesda, MD. Approximately the same age, from the same area, ages 15 and 17 in 1982, the year of the alleged assault. Bethesda, although a city of between 60,000-65,000 people, no one can deny the fact that there is a chance, even the smallest one that at some point, Ford and Kavanaugh crossed paths. Especially, due to the fact that they were in the same age group and in the same city at the same time. Now no matter if you believe it or not, there's no denying the small chance that they just happened to cross paths and if that is the case then that means that there is a chance that her claim is true.

I personally, believe her. If you don't? Fine. But to me? Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is courageous. She is a mother, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a Dr. of Psychology, a woman who was sexually assaulted, and a woman who spoke out about her sexual assault, not because she wanted to but because she felt she had to - to protect others and help those who needed the help and inspiration to speak out about what has happened to them. A woman who has made a difference by coming forward.

This is not a war on men. This is not about politics. This is not a matter of whether she's lying, or telling the truth, because people only see what they want to see in this. They see someone with a political agenda. I see someone who wanted to prevent this from happening to others. They see a liar. I see someone with courageous truth, who wants justice for herself and others.

Now, moving to the idea that her allegations are false and that she is supposedly, only trying to bring down a successful man. Who needs to bring down a successful man, when they themselves have their own successful life? The idea that she's lying about the whole thing, why make up such a story when you know that there is bound to be backlash towards you and your claims? I will agree that yes there are those that make up false allegations for their own personal pleasure, and yes I will agree that I think those who falsely accuse to be proven false deserve to be punished. But, does that mean we should automatically dismiss all claims due to a few who have falsely accused others.

Sexual violence statistics are astounding - 1 in every 6 American women are the victim of some type of sexual violence. The statistics don't lie, yes, people do, but the numbers don't and this is only based on those that we know of. A lot of victims do not come forward with their stories, and often times horror stories like this, make it so those who haven't reported push their pain deeper and deeper. I admire those who come forward, inspired by stories like Dr. Ford's.

I realize how long this article is getting to be, so in conclusion, I would like to say that you don't have to agree with my view on this case. You don't have to believe Dr. Ford's testimony, you can believe Judge Kavanaugh - enough people did to get him voted into the Supreme Court. But please remember, that almost everyone has a story like Dr. Ford's, and although you might not believe it, but the stories being told are not to attack men. There are some good ones left in the world and we can be thankful that those who are good around us are the way they are. I think that in this situation, everyone is innocent until proven guilty - just like those involved in other crimes. Those who are proven false should be punished, those who are proven true should be helped, and those who come forward should be believed unless proven otherwise.

I stand with Dr. Ford, I believe her and am inspired by her courage to stand tall against the man who hurt her, who I believe to be Judge Brett Kavanaugh. I believe survivors. I believe women, men, everyone, until proven otherwise. Stand with and be kind to those who speak out, and most importantly, open your mind and listen.

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