Perfectly Queer

by | Mar 1, 2023 | 0 comments

I met my wife in October of 2013, and we had our official first date in November of 2013. When you hear folks talk about how they “just knew” they wanted to spend the rest of their life with someone they just met, I have told folks it was likely indigestion. Well, contrary to my personal belief, that’s exactly what happened to me. I had never dated a woman before, and that was followed by nervousness with how to tell folks that after 30-some years of my life, I finally figured out the reason no other relationship worked – because I’m gay.

Hard to Tell  

Telling my pre-teen/teen kiddos was the easiest, as they just wanted me to be happy. Telling my friends was not difficult either, as they also either wanted me to be happy or made it easy to identify folks who were not supportive. It was telling my family that was the hardest. 

Several family members claimed to be supportive, until we decided to get married; these family members refused to attend our wedding because our relationship went against their religious beliefs. That moment was the first time I remember feeling raw and exposed for being who I authentically am.

A few years later, I decided to start my own small business, Auntie M’s Creations, and made it part of our vision to make sure folks felt included for being their authentic selves. I started out making handmade soaps. After attending several artisan events, we began to add more products to our repertoire, including bath bombs, shower bombs, and shower steamers.

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More Than Rainbow Washing  

The bath and shower products eventually took center stage, and our supporting product lines pivoted to focus on affordable, luxurious, self-care and inclusivity. For example, in several of our bath bomb shapes, we have airbrushed them with rainbow colors, and they have rainbow colors inside that will spin out of the bath bomb, in the bathtub. We have done the same for several other LGBTQ+ flags, too. We also created ginger-persons, and grouped them together in pairs for same, non-binary, and opposite gender equality.

Inclusion is incredibly important to our family, as we have a very diverse household. I grew up next to a Native American reservation, immersed in Native culture, and as an adult birthed three Native American children. I’ve had my DNA reviewed through 23 and Me, and although I have 0% Native American in my DNA, most of my family is Native American, and they call me their Sister, Daughter, Mom, or Auntie.

My bi-racial children have encountered many situations with a lack of acceptance for who they are. Throughout their lives, I’ve had to show up in situations and educate folks (even teachers) on how their behaviors were contributing to a lack of inclusivity and other issues, to ensure my children (and others) were being treated fairly. This passion for inclusivity translates into my professional life with Auntie M’s Creations.

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Let Your Flag Fly  

The Auntie M’s Creations logo is in rainbow colors, however, that doesn’t automatically mean someone is LGBTQ+. My wife and I work most of our events together, and being our authentic selves, we 100% fit at least one of the lesbian stereotypes, so most of the time folks catch on. Despite this, there have been times folks would come to our booth making ill-placed comments regarding many current events and the LGBTQ community. 

As a businessperson, it can be difficult to make that spur of the moment judgment call to educate folks, or to just decide to let it go because you can’t change someone’s mind who isn’t looking for change. Our invisible Wonder Woman cuffs aren’t as effective as they should be—and the comments still sting. So, I made the business decision to hang a flag from the side of our canopy that says, “Let Me Be Perfectly Queer.”

Over the last several years, we realized some folks were not thrilled about our flag, and there were times we received rude comments which made us think we should take it down. But we didn’t. This flag was about being a LGBTQ+ business and creating a safe space for anyone who needed to feel accepted. It is heartwarming to see folks stop by just to tell us they love our flag, or to hang out and chat and share their story. Folks just need to know they are welcomed and included, and these comments supported this part of Auntie M’s Creations’ vision.

As LGBTQ+ businesspersons, we joined the WI LGBT Chamber of Commerce and OPEN, and built relationships with other LGBTQ+ artisans and allies. Our business doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar retail location (yet); however, we still attend select events throughout the state. We have the support of our inclusive family, friends, and customers, so we can be perfectly queer.

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