As I’ve grown up and embraced my identity, it’s so interesting to look back and see how quickly changes have been made, especially in the past few years. When I started high school, people were still saying “That’s so gay”, and “faggot” was not an uncommon word to hear. But by the time I graduated, both of those things would’ve been surprising to hear. For me, that helped me to feel a little more comfortable with who I was. Nowadays, it’s a little easier to figure out where and when I—and other people in the queer community—feel safe to be who we are. Unfortunately, those judgements of safety are not always made without error, and different members of the community (like black trans women and femmes) are targeted disproportionally. For me, there tends to be a lot of hint-dropping throughout various interactions as I try to figure out where my safety stands. Even though there’s been an unbelievable amount of hard work, being LGBTQIA+ is still not universally tolerated, and various identities are even erased altogether.
One of the main motivations behind creating the Quiet Deviants designs was to make something that could be worn in the face of intolerance to not only show who we are, but to also build upon the legacy of those before us. There’s something empowering about being able to walk in to an unsafe (or unsure) space and proudly display an element of who you are—especially one that people may try to deny or gloss over. We all have these places or people that come to mind that are unique to each one of us. Family members, schools, churches, work, and friends of friends, just to name a few.
What if instead of hiding who you are, you could show the world without subjecting yourself to a conflict that will sap you of energy and fill you with discouragement? It’s a subversive act of rebellion—one that that you can take up on your own if needed. Not every LGBTQIA+ person wants to (or can) be a loud advocate, nor should they be obligated to do so. Truly, at the core, we’d all just like to go about our lives. It’s not too much to ask.