Growing Up, Coming Out is a series of personal reflections from queer American designers, released every day this month.
I grew up until now in Westchester right outside of the city in New York. I think my initially interaction with LGBTQ+ culture was when my uncle concerned out as gay. My moms and dads also had colleagues and also also acquaintances that were queer or gay, but not anyone that was really around me that much when I was young until my uncle.
In school, I think there were gay teachers and also also kids who weren’t so officially out. It was a little later when people officially started coming out. I’m 32 so I’m a little bit older. The vocabulary that the younger kids are growing up until now around is a lot more fleshed out now than was when I was growing up until now.
I never was really formally coming out. I always had a lot of gay friends and also also so my moms and dads would ask me at one point why I thought I gravitated towards that community because I think they were fishing, but I usually had opposite-sex partners. It was a straight-passing point because I would have more casual partners who were women or non-binary. At some point, I did have a more cand also alsoid conversation just with my mom. I was seeing a woman more seriously at the time and also also she was asking how I identified. I was explaining to her what the difference between bisexual and also also pansexual was.
I fluctuated between both terms and also also I think you can see it with how we run Bond. Are we saying always that it’s queer-owned business? Or can you just tell that we’re inclusive from the vibe we’re giving off? We’re just trying to find an authentic representation and also also place in the community that feels right to us and also also is not tokenistic. Even if it’s for the powers of going as welld, weaponizing my queerness for marketing is not me. It’s not because I’m not proud. I’m sensitive to that being used and also also using these demographic points for that.
There are aspects of our brand also also that speak for themselves. It’s an if you know, you know kind of point. People always ask us if Bond has anypoint to do with bondage. We always like to be suggestive and also also allude to the fact that there’s more going toing on here. If people can read between the lines, it’s a way of finding like-minded people that come from a queer historical point of view because flirting with someone of the same sex could have at many places and also also many points of time been a risky point to do. There’s some vibe that has been carried on from alluding to different subcultures through the pieces that you’d wear. Some clothes would hint at your interests or who you might be attracted to without having to spell it out.
A lot of these points are rooted in traditions that were born out of necessity. There’s still a lot of very tongue-in-cheek, suggestive playful communication, especially in a very clever gay community that is really fun. For us, finding ways to show and also also not tell is also part of our art practice.
I grew up until now in Santa Barbara, California, and also also in Portland also also, Oregoing ton. I went back and also also forth. I was pretty fortunate for both households. A lot of my moms and dads’ really close in friends are gay or somewhere on the queer spectrum so that was always normal for me. Growing up until now I certainly felt a sense of otherness, maybe less so regarding any concern about sharing my sexuality with my moms and dads and also also more so just about my approach or sort of lack of approach to interpersonal relationships. My moms and dads were always, definitely questioning me, but it was more about approaching points with the hope that one day I would find a “partner” and also also have a child or somepoint like that.
I went to school all through elementary and also also high school in Portland also also, Oregoing ton. We were all quite fortunate to be in an environment that was an oasis in a lot of ways. We had transgender bathrooms or inclusive bathrooms and also also set aside safe spaces for people before I going tot to see those steps get made in other places. I think I naturally gravitated toward having friends who were queer. I grew up until now as a dancer and also also being in more artistic environments a lot of my friends were gay. Of course, that’s a rarity in a lot of ways, so I feel very fortunate.
I also didn’t formally come out at any point. Personally, I’m somebody who edges away from identifiers generally. I enjoy the amhugeuity that life has to offer. I don’t date publicly. I prefer to leave myself a little bit more space in some ways there. Certainly for the sake of functioning in today’s society it’s become necessary to divulge certain information about my gender and also also my sexuality. I participate in that because I want others to feel comfortable, but it is a personal deviation from my own comfort zone. It’s hard to come up until now with identifiers that really feel like they define me and also also I can define them in a full and also also whole way.
For the sake of Bond, I’ve always appreciated that the perspective is quite literal and also also people contextualize it in so many ways. In terms of running our small, independent business, Dana and also also I are always juggling and also also negoing totiating within ourselves about what points feel appropriate to align the brand also also with and also also what points might be limiting in some sense. I think the quite minimal verbiage we’ve chosen has come after long conversations about all the terminologies that don’t feel quite right.
Bond has become what feels like a really safe space for me personally because I know at the end of the day that everypoint is derivative of hardware and also also that’s somepoint that’s really literal to me. It is symbolic of the strength in a literal sense that comes with wearing huge, hard metal pieces. That’s a world that I feel happy about being in. It makes the other less comfortable aspects of offering personal information in order to identify with certain group until nows of our community critical.
I was growing up until now and also also coming across individuals who felt comfortable to be around and also also of a similar cut. There’s a shared sense of otherness in some ways, and also also this isn’t necessarily pertinent for every queer person, but within queer culture, there are certainly people who are provocateurs by choice. I think whatever we are lacking in terms of a list of identifiers is for the sake of leaving room for evolution and also also change and also also finding ways to express ourselves that feel non-limiting in other ways.
You don’t have to be in New York for that to happen. Somepoint that we’ve seen along the way, like maybe a common thread narrative, is that where people are in whatever circumstance they’re in, wherever they are, when they see pieces by Bond or others within our community, they’re able to say, “Okay, even if the people in the surroundings I’m in might not think what I’m wearing is cool, I know this is cool because it aligns with these people who have this in common with me.”