When I went to the Sexual Health Expo in Brooklyn two weeks ago, I definitely did not expect to end up buying a greeting card. Among the booths of some of my favorite brands, between powerful vibrators and remote controlled butt plugs there it was. A whole beautiful wall of same-sex love. I was perplexed. I felt validated and important. My mind started drifting away and I wished I could give my first girlfriend from more than 10 years ago one of these creations.
Back then we would make our own hand-made greeting cards. She would make me collages of our pictures: kissing, caressing, just being in love. Looking back at these times I wonder whether we were making our own gifts of love because we were young and crazy about each other, or if not having a “product that represented us” played a big part.
Jessica and Caroline, the wife and wife behind J Caress, greeted me and took me out of my trance. Was there anything they could help me with, did I have any questions? Well, yes, indeed, I had ALL the questions. What is this? Lesbian and gay cards? Do YOU make them? Are you girls a couple? Awww… My heart was melting with their beautiful story and how they created their business around one of the many injustices LGBTQ people face on daily basis. When they got married, before it was even legal in their own state, they received the same card gifted to them by all of their guests. There was only one same-sex greeting card available? That’s all? Over the years, their friends got married in different states and they kept receiving the same greeting card. That’s when it hit them. They might need to start making their own creations for their own hugely underserved, excluded and discriminated against community.
Cartoons of the lesbian couple Puss and Bitch and the gay couple Bear and Hare or the intimate erotically charged cards of gay and lesbian couples kissing, embracing, smelling each others’ skin, you’re not going to find yourself wondering what to buy, because if you are anything like me, you would want to buy them all! I absolutely adore the one of Puss and Bitch at the airport security, having their luggage scanned: toys, anal beads, hand cuffs, lube and a collar. Hell yeah, it’s not just me that has to sweat it every time passing through a TSA check.
We might have equal marriage rights but you know what? There’s a far cry from being equal if we can’t even celebrate properly. If we don’t see examples of couples like us when we go to buy our friends a greeting card. Rituals matter and representation matters. And yes, in 2016 we still face homophobia on a daily basis. Recently, a fellow sex educator of mine was threatened and harassed by an Uber driver not in some little town in the middle of nowhere mind you, but in Chicago, for being gay. She received a number of disgusting and horrifying Tweets when she shared what happened to her on social media. What did Uber offer her? $5 credit for her next Uber ride… Seriously?
You can show J Caress some love by going to their website or by following them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram but you know what matters even more? To show your bisexual daughter your love, appreciation, and support. To buy your gay or trans best friend an appropriate greeting card.
If I had one wish, what would it be? It would be to see more LGBTQ role models. To see more BDSM representation, to have more consensual non-monogamy visibility. I want to see greeting cards for triads, for poly families, for subs and doms. Cards that honor us in all genders, shapes, colors and orientations.
Note: The resolution of my pictures is lowered on purpose, I don’t want anyone stealing their designs and work.