Who We Are: LGBTQ+ Sewists!

Oh gosh, people. Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? We’ve been lucky to have so many contributions to the Who We Are series that we are swimming in to-be-scheduled posts… but even so, I apologise that this particular topic had been waiting so long!

We initially put out a call for contributions for LGBTQ sewists in November, and then published Jasika’s beautiful post about the intersectionality of her crafting as a queer biracial woman. We got to play a small part in the launch of the #sewqueer hashtag through Shannon’s post about being a queer sewist.

Meanwhile, we received the following contributions, and two stand-alone posts which just happen to be written by women with similar names! We’ll be publishing Claire and Clara’s post later this week.

DSC_0103.JPG

Regan says,

Hey folks! So you asked for a paragraph or two on how being aromantic/asexual has shifted my focus to my clothes. First, some definitions:

  • Asexual: not feeling sexual attraction often or at all. Not looking at a person and thinking, “Wow, they’re hot!” There’s lots of different ways to be asexual.
  • Aromantic: not feeling romantic attraction often or at all. This often manifests in lack of dating. I consider myself demiromantic, meaning that I can only feel romantic attraction when I am already close friends with a person. It means that casual or blind dates are out of the question for me.

Neither of these imply that a person is broken, heartless, cruel, or robotic. Ace/Aro people can still have meaningful relationships, they just lack certain elements like sex or romance.

Realizing I was aro/ace helped me feel better about how much time I spend thinking about clothes and aesthetics. I mean, I haven’t sewn since this summer (cough science major cough) but I still think about what additions to my wardrobe I want. Quite a lot. Now, I can reassure myself that I’m not fixated on clothing, but even if I am a little, it’s alright. I’m not choosing material things over dating and bonding with someone — I rarely care for dating and those social norms, and I’m not capable of romantic attraction for someone I just met. I believe that focusing on aesthetics — how outfits look or their presentation — isn’t bad, because it makes me more confident to know I’ve captured a certain vibe. I have this one outfit that feels very western and Montana-y and I love it. I enjoy cultivating certain aesthetics.

Realizing I’m on the spectrum for both aromantic and asexual didn’t change who I am. I’m still a nerd with lots of hobbies. It helped me feel a little bit better about dressing the way I want to, even if it’s just for looks.

image1(2).jpeg

Siobhan says, 

I’ve thought about this a lot, I don’t know any other lesbian sewists I real life, although I do on Instagram. I miss not having these women as part of my sewing community, but having said that, I’ve found wonderful, not just accepting, but embracing, women in the sewing community. In fact lesbians have judged me for sewing — I stopped sewing for years because of this — but I’ve never had judgement for being a lesbian in the sewing community.

During the past 2 months of a public vote on marriage equality in Australia, the sewing community has been a loud and proud supportive voice and I feel throughly embraced by it. The sewing community is a place where I feel very comfortable — they are more interested in my hemline than whether I’m wearing a frock or a flannel shirt.

Madeline says, 

When people talk about why sewing is important to them, a theme I hear over and over is body acceptance. For me, my body and my queer identity are linked. Part of being queer is having to be comfortable in spaces that weren’t created for people like me. Learning to love my body and learning to accept and love my own queer identity have gone hand-in-hand for me. Creating my own clothes only furthered that acceptance. In learning that it’s not my that my body doesn’t fit the clothes, its that the clothes don’t fit my body, I am reminded that there is a space and a place for me as a queer woman — a queer sewist — and when spaces aren’t welcoming, that’s on them, not on me.

I’m a queer cis-woman. I generally use the umbrella term queer when I have to give a quick identity run down since it lets people know I don’t fit neatly into a sexual identity. If I’m giving specific terms, I say demisexual and pan romantic. I use the phrase “on the asexual spectrum”. When I learned the word demisexual, it was earth shaking. Being able to craft an identity for myself through all the learned words — queer and demi and ace and pan; the difference between sexual and romantic — settled something in me I didn’t even know was unsettled. Having words to name who you are is so important.

It’s that naming your own identity that fits in so well with being a sewist. In making my own clothes, I am making very deliberate choices about how the world sees me. Clothes are part of how we communicate identity to the world. I can — and do — use clothes to hide behind, but when I make my own clothes, I make them for my full self, because I make them as my full self. I can’t be anything other than a queer sewist.

I know that our Sewcialists conversations highlighting LGBTQ sewists aren’t over after this week, though — inclusion is a daily act, not a theme month! If one thing is clear, it is that queer sewists feel left out of the mainstream blogosphere, and that is something we can all work to improve. If you aren’t already, please consider supporting LGBTQ sewists by following the #sewqueer hashtag, and commenting below or on social media!