A great many companies and enterprises are becoming more LGBT-friendly, as workplaces and towards their client-bases. We see ads support trans women as mothers, endorse queer love, and model how a family should love their queer relatives. And this is great! For all of us who are marginalised, invisiblised and silenced due to our sexuality, gender and gender expression, mainstream acceptance does increase our safety, well-being and our ties with our family and communities.
But our growing visibility is also leading to companies and enterprises which are founded and run by LGBTIAQ+ people, and hey, if you’re shopping online, it might be nice to show your support.
Here are my top five online companies to support in 2021:
Be Unic: Gender Inclusive Fashion for the LGBTQ community
Showcasing queer designers with clothing, accessories, footwear, and home decor, the BeUnic site also is a treasure trove of resources, reviews, opinions and support for community and wellness. The site is easy to navigate and materials are beautifully designed, and the overall sense of funky, luxurious, and inclusive design is felt on every page. BeUnic specially speaks out to break gender norms and restrictive ideas of expression and fashion, and is a lovely place to shop for gifts for friends.
Pride Circle is a relatively young organisation in India, begun as a space to build LGBTIAQ+ inclusion in corporate and other work spaces for queer and other alternative persons in the Indian workforce. They are currently working with over 150 companies, domaestic and international, to raise awareness and sensitivity, advocate for infrastructural change, and empower safe spaces for queer employment. Their conference RISE – ‘Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity’, was first organised in 2019, and was the largest job fair and conference of its kind in Asia at the time.
Gaylaxy: Empowering eXpressions
Gaylaxy, like Gaysi, sets out to fill the void of nothingness where all the queer content in India should be. Gaylaxy set out to be a regular issued online zine as opposed to a blogging/expressions platform, and still keeps on top of the news in the queer world and is a great place to follow to see what is happening in the queer world and how it affects us. Founder and Editor-in-Chief Sukhdeep Singh has been with Gaylaxy since its inception, and thus the site has evolved with a clear vision and heart.
Queer Bazaar is a branch of MIST, a Pune-based organisation that hopes to build bridges between queer communities, allies, mainstream society. They run events, support groups, resource pages and meetings to showcase and celebrate queer joy and love. Queer Bazaar grew organically from there, and has supplied merchandise for Namma Pride in Bengaluru among other things. Their masks are particularly good, soft and with a sleeve for a filter, and they come in different pride flags for different identities!
This queer-owned media company aims to change the popular narratives of the queer community in India by taking the power of expression back into the queer community’s hands, out of mainstream bigotry and oppression. They want to curate and publish queer stories from queer voices in print and on-screen, and collaborate with artists from the community to create art that speaks of our real selves. In 2012, they published *Out! Stories From The New Queer India*, an anthology of queer narratives edited by Minal Hajratwala, and they’ve been like a juggernaut ever since. Check them out and find out if they have something you want to read, watch, or submit to!
Consumption and commercialism aren’t going to solve every problem we face, but for those of us who can, and want to, a little shopping in the right spaces can make us feel at home.