From the Editor: The Humbug Award

Photo by McIninch/

Ebenezer Scrooge? On the cover of the last regular issue of the year? The one that’s supposed to be celebratory? The one that’s about awards and accomplishments?

Yes. Because Ebenezer Scrooge is a celebratory cover figure. It’s an image of redemption and hope. It’s one that shows how complex people can be, how multi-faceted situations are, and how things can be so dark yet still lead into light.

In fact, I’d bet Ebenezer Scrooge would be considered for an award after finding new value in the people and conditions of that era. As Scrooge sees the errors in the ways of the past, he trips over himself to make up for them.

When we think of how people emerge as leaders, it’s often under less-than-ideal circumstances. Conditions are bad. Politics are oppressing. Someone is suffering. Things need changing. And from those negative elements come some positives. At some point, someone says “Bah! Humbug!” and takes up the cause to make things better. They start or join an organization. They fight for what they want and think is right. They help others. They inspire others. They make it their occupation to turn darkness into light, or they eke out just a little more time and energy on top of their jobs and families and other activities to make things better.

In this, my favorite issue of the year, we honor them with awards. I asked you who you wanted us to know about, you answered, and in these pages are some exemplary people who are making the rainbow community better for everyone. I am so proud to feature them. And I thank them. Congratulations to the Lavender Community Award winners. We are fortunate to have you.

Also, congratulations to the artists and organizations that are given some extra limelight in John Townsend’s Arts Year in Review. You have given us levity and beauty and heartbreak and learning opportunities all under the umbrella of entertainment this past year. You reflect our world and sometimes turn it inside out. This community, in particular, needs you. We need you to push the boundaries and expand how we view things. For this community especially, we need you to push the gender binary, just as indicated on our cover in Dan Norman’s photo of Ebenezer Scrooge being played by Charity Jones in A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie as Nathaniel Fuller’s understudy, as explained by E.B. Boatner later in this issue in his piece, “We Are All Ebenezer Scrooge.”

In the spirit of always making things better, we’ve shuffled some things over here at Lavender and this is my last issue as managing editor of the magazine. I’m going to instead be editorial director of all of Lavender Media, which is really just to say that I get to refocus my time and energy to moving the company forward with digital and video while giving someone else, Chris Tarbox, the role of handling the print edition, under my supervision. Chris is an award-winning writer from the newspaper world, he’s funny as hell, he’s a conscientious and aware person, and we will have a lot of fun as an editorial team. He’s got the heart that I want the magazine to have. We will both be working to make things even better for our audiences here at Lavender. For you.

As always, thank you for everything. For reading along, for sending in ideas, for letting us cover your stories and events, for letting us represent you. Have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year.

With you and with thanks,

From the Editor: Silver & Gold

We’ve got only a few of issues left in 2017: this Holiday Gift Guide, the Year End Issue with Lavender Community Awards, and the Pride Pages Directory. Two with editorial content and then the last one is full of resources for this community. So, I’m taking the time to shine a little light on Lavender Media as we just won a few more Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association (MMPA) Excellence Awards for our trophy case and that is something
that never gets old.

For the last year, we proudly wore the crown of Magazine of the Year, having earned the title after winning a whole lot of these awards. This year, we took it easy and only went for a handful of them and came out with three winners: an article, a spread design, and a feature design. Not bad, folks. Not bad.

So, without further ado, I’d like to congratulate my colleagues, Hubert Bonnet and Mike Hnida, who do great design, layout, and photography for us and who are moving into doing more video production. They nabbed a silver and a gold. And I’d also like to congratulate our former assistant managing editor, Shane Lueck, for writing a piece worthy of a gold, that is a very important and lasting piece of research and history for this community.

With pride and with thanks,

From the Editor: Hybrid Driver

Photo by Belish/

Nah, I don’t drive a hybrid vehicle, but I’m definitely a hybrid of a driver. I’m part of that Xennial generation—the micro-generation be-tween Gen X and the Millennials. Years ago, our age group was referred to as “cuspers” because we’re neither one nor the other. It means we bridge and take on attributes of the generation ahead of us as well as behind. As a 40-year old, I’ve embraced a whole lot of technology in my time, as well as still read paper maps and do things the “old school” way. Print isn’t dead. It’s in a stack on my occasional table, waiting to be read with all the other things on my tablet.

The advancements in technology were downright shocking the last time I got a new vehicle. I went from a 2008 Jeep to a 2016 Fiat (the puffed-up 500X). Some things were similar like 4WD to AWD, but I went from a CD player and radio with an aux cord to a Bluetooth connectable system that gets satellite radio. I didn’t even spring for the navigation system, but chose to just use my iPhone that sits in a holder clamped to my vent. That’s my hybrid approach to my vehicle. I can’t quite afford all the bells and whistles, and I know how to hack the technology well enough to not need them. But what excites me more is that this new technology is aging just enough to be showing up in the used car lots. Those of us who are accustomed to driving things until they die have a whole new world of affordable technology to make our lives and drives a whole lot more comfortable and easy. Fantastic.

Randy Stern is an absolute gem in this community and represents us well in the automotive writing world. Not only does he write a review of a specific vehicle in every issue, but he also wrote the entire feature section of this issue, including a great piece about buying a used car. I recently went through this process with a friend as she needed to get a replacement for her limping workhorse. The new vehicle had to last a long time and be dependable (really, who hopes for a car that doesn’t fit that description?). It needed a leather interior due to kids and their lack of motor skills. It needed the capacity for a lot of gear. It had to be fun… or, it’d be nice if it were fun. But it definitely had to be affordable.

I wish I’d had Randy’s handy guide of terms as we went shopping because there are a lot of things to consider above and beyond a per-sonal must-have list. Thankfully, Richard at White Bear Mitsubishi got her hooked up with a sweet ride. As it happens, she not only got some-one’s beloved Outlander that they’d souped up to meet their specs when they bought it new, but she also was able to tack on a ridiculously mind-easing warranty that’ll last the lifetime of the vehicle, all for a great cost and a dreamy interest rate. The a la carte warranty even includes random tire problems, which seem to be plentiful in our Land of 10,000 Potholes.

Sometimes we feature a lot of swanky and luxurious cars in this magazine, and sometimes we bring it on home for those who want to be a bit more reserved in our spending. Or perhaps just reserved in spend-ing for vehicles and then we hit the stores and clubs and vacations a bit harder. Hybrids, in style and spending.

So, grab your maps and turn on your podcasts. Embrace whichever generation you’re in and enjoy what this day and age have to offer in vehicles.

See you on the streets.
With you and with thanks, Andy.

From the Editor: Housekeeping

Photo by Spanishalex/

It’s that time of year again when I need to clean out my virtual to-do list and let you know about some of the things that are happening around Lavender Media and our Lavenderland. Housekeeping works well in an issue dedicated to Winter Home & Garden topics. Speaking of this issue, have you noticed we’ve been including regular articles about senior living? This one is about Universal Design and how to either design or retrofit your home to work for you as you age. We’ve included more topics for the aging community this year because it is an important facet to pay attention to, particularly because the rainbow community sees a significant number of people go back into the closet as they get older. We need to make an effort to make sure our elders don’t suffer erasure in our society, that they don’t get lost in the shuffle, so we’re trying to do our part.

On the flipside of dedicating more material to the aging segment of our community, we are also going to be featuring more online content for the younger set in our demographic. Look for some changes to happen here at Lavender Media. In addition to the Lavender Magazine that you’re either holding in your hands or reading via the internet, we’ll be increasing our video and online content to get this community in front of the eyes of more of the younger folks who take their media in shorter, more visual snippets. Okay, as a 40-year old, I also tend to enjoy all sorts of videos on Facebook on my phone as I’m going about my day. So, maybe this is one way for me to still feel like part of the younger set (as I squint and wonder if I need bifocals).

Speaking of videos and online content, Halloween is just around the corner. We’re going to be featuring a number of fun Halloween posts on our website, so keep an eye out on social media. And, if you’re not into social media, all of our content is always at, so check our “Recent Posts” section for anything new. If you’ve got Halloween events being held in public places, be sure to add them for free to our events calendar so people can know about them. Also, from me to you, please be careful and take care of each other this Halloween season. Be safe and have fun.

I can’t believe the year’s already this far gone! It’s that time of the year for the Lavender Community Awards! Do you know an individual, an organization, or a company that has done great work for the rainbow community in the past year? Take a short amount of time to fill out the information in the form on our website to share the gratitude and recognize the efforts put out by these great people. Be sure to include any contact information possible for the nominee so that the Lavender staff can reach them. Oftentimes, your nominations are the first time we’ve known of a person and their contributions to this community, so the more you can tell us about them, the more likely it is that we can honor them. Nominations are due by noon on November 4, so go to this link to get yours in on time:

Election Day is November 7. No, it’s not a presidential election year that tends to get more voter turnout. But, as we know, each level of public office counts. Get out and vote. Every election day is historic.

Last but not least, congratulations to our WNBA champions, the
Minnesota Lynx! You are tremendous coaches, athletes, and ambassadors. Thank you for all you do.

With you and with thanks,

From the Editor: We Do

Photo by golubovy/

When I was growing up in rural Minnesota, I craved more. I wanted to know more of this world, more of who’s in it, more of how I fit into it, more of how I could help others fit in. I remember my mother either won our bought us tickets to see Sweet Honey in the Rock perform at the College of St. Benedict, still in rural Minnesota, but in a college town outside of St. Cloud. It was probably my first concert in a concert hall. I can remember the night was dark, in must not have been during the summer. I was in awe of these amazing women of color and their songs. Their voices. The fact that they used their bodies for percussion and how low the woman singing bass could go. They did not sit properly with their knees together, as women are supposed to sit, but sat as if they each had a cello between her legs. Instead of the posture to make room for an instrument, the posture was to make each of them an instrument. They gave me my senior solo that was about the AIDS quilt which I sang to a surprised audience a few years later: “They unfolded your lives, one by one. They laid out your patchwork under the sun.” They helped me be political with my singing voice. I have loved them all these 25 years since.

A few weeks ago, I was able to see them share the stage with Cantus, our own a cappella superstars, at Orchestra Hall. I’d already seen Cantus with Chanticleer recently and was absolutely gobsmacked by the talent within that small and mighty group of men. Cantus, who has been in the news for bringing a bit more politics into their programming recently. Cantus, who rose even higher in my esteem because of this programming. With the members of Sweet Honey in the Rock (which includes an American Sign Language interpreter as a matter of course), Cantus brought us all along for an evening of meshing music and cultures and styles and rhythms. It was as if we were at a wedding and the two families who would be brought together by the union were starting to dance. They each showed who they are, and then they joined together and brought us with them on their musical journey of give and take, learning and growing.

One of the songs that always soothes my soul is “We Are…” from Sweet Honey’s 1996 album Sacred Ground. They sang it when they were on stage in Minneapolis and it reminded me of some of the themes I’ve talked about in this magazine. How this community is full of people who belong to each other. How what binds us together is a love, and the politics that surround that love. How we stand on the shoulders of giants and have our chosen family members, as well as how we pass on an inheritance to those who come after us in this community. There is a very real legitimacy that this community struggles to keep after seeming to have attained it in a few areas, but this song is a reminder about how it never hurts to validate ourselves and what we’re doing; that we exist and we do things, both simple and complex. The song starts very simply, “For each child that’s born a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are.” And later, the refrain reminds us and then reiterates how “We are sisters of mercy, brothers of love, lovers of life and the builders of nations. We are seekers of truth, keepers of faith, makers of peace and the wisdom of ages. We are our grandmothers’ prayers. We are our grandfathers’ dreamings. We are the breath of our ancestors. We are the spirit of God.”

So, whether you take that song literally or figuratively, sacredly or secularly, we are the people who have inherited roles in this community and we also will be passing our roles on to the next. We are grandchildren and we will be grandparents. This community is a family and we bring our own to it as we bring them together with others at a wedding. By saying, “We do.”

We are. We do. We will be. Together.

With love,

From the Editor: Co-Dependents

Photo by budabar/

I wake up to panting in my ear. Panting near my feet. Panting on the other side of the bed. Grendel, my 11-year-old Glen of Imaal Terrier, started panting in the middle of the night almost a year ago. It used to be accompanied by having to go eat grass outside as soon as he could, but now he takes Pepcid in the morning and night, just like many seniors do. Still, the panting. We go out into the kitchen and he has some water. I drag my phone and blanket to the sofa sectional and he goes between the other wing of the sofa to the rug to the sofa to the rug for the rest of the night. And then pants in my ear some more at some point. Or at least he did this morning. As someone who lives a half a block from a light rail station in St. Paul, I can handle automated voices, dinging electronic bells, loud talking and yelling, trains and tracks, and all sorts of things. But a terrier breathing loudly wakes me up.

Because we’re each other’s other. We are attuned to how each other is doing. He’s not my blood, but he’s the other heartbeat in my life. My life is quiet and I can hear his stomach making noises across the cavernous room while I’m working. He smacks his lips in bed, which can be so annoying that I want to give him away to the first taker. And then he curls up in my armpit so I lose feeling in my fingertips and I don’t want to move for fear that he’ll toddle his furry self away from me. So, really, I even adore his quirks. I crave his closeness and warmth. I love his smelly breath and the side-eye he gives me when I move even the slightest bit.

After all the panting this morning, it turned out that he had a bad stomach, which resulted in a race to get outside and a bath right when we got back into my loft. This is rare, and so is the “bland diet” meal of chicken and rice that I just made for him as a hopeful antidote for his messy morning. He scarfed it and is now snoozing on the sofa again, damp and tired from his eventful existence. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. As someone who’s never had a dog or pet, I’ve never lived through a life cycle of another being that’s cruelly built to last so few years. Every day is a learning process. Every night that results in that fuzzy face panting at me in the morning is another one that I give thanks for, that he’s still here and making my life about more than just me.

I depend on him and he depends on me. We are both codependent and each other’s dependent. Co-dependents. The disrupted sleep is nothing compared to what he’s given me.

Many people in this community know this co-dependency. So many seek it as rescue volunteers and foster homeowners, like Lorelei and Ian in our story about Save-A-Bull. Whether a foster or owner or parent to a pet, I laud you for adding heartbeats to your household. And I hope you find our vet section and pet marketplace in this issue useful (or entertaining) as well.

With yawns and thanks,

From the Editor: A Road to Cope

Photo by wmsphoto/Bigstock

We’ve got a variety of fall getaway angles for you in this issue, from near to far, for younger and older, with other people in the rainbow community or not, featuring adventure and relaxation. I have made it a goal to travel as much as I can, which has been achieved with various degrees of success on an annual basis, as opportunities, vacation time, and budget allow. I’ve got wanderlust on a regular day, but this has been a challenging year which has made me both want to hide in bed as well as throw my stuff in a sack and hop a train, dog in tow.

But, I’m not running away quite yet. I’m sure I’ll take smaller trips this fall to river towns as I usually do: Pepin for Harbor View Cafe, Stockholm for Stockholm Pie Company and A-Z Produce (aka The Pizza Farm), Stillwater for antiques and cupcakes at Mara-Mi, and Winona for the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Just as a quick little trip, I’ll even run to Wayzata to Bellecour for a piece of crepe cake (okay, two pieces, since it’s silly to make the trip without bringing any home to nosh on later), which I’m exaggerating as a “road trip” only because people in Minneapolis and St. Paul tend to make the suburbs seem light years away. Small trips keep me going as maintenance for my well-being; it just makes me happy to have destinations.

Next week, I’ll also be taking a long weekend on Minnesota’s North Shore with friends I’ve known since we were in the three- and four-year-old class in Sunday School. It’s a trip to celebrate all of us turning 40 this year. We will be driving from separate places and meeting near Tofte at our villa on Lake Superior. We’ve all been to the North Shore somewhat recently, so it’ll probably be a journey that will focus more on us reconnecting with each other and relaxing together, sharing meals, laughing, and taking strolls down Memory Lane. This trip calls for s’mores and coffees and drinks and donuts…not to mention a meal at Sydney’s in Grand Marais as well as one at New Scenic Cafe in Two Harbors. I can’t wait.

Then, in November, with a handful of friends I’ve had since college who also turned 40 this year, I will fly down to Mexico City for a long weekend, thanks to some dirt-cheap fares we found via Thrifty Traveler. Between that and sharing the cost of the Airbnb, we’re going to be able to spend most of our money eating our way around the bustling metropolitan area, and the exchange rate is definitely in our favor. We could do ourselves some damage. Apart from eating, I’ve got very few goals other than to tour Frida Kahlo’s home and take photos of as many street murals as possible, as well as enjoy the hell out of the lovely people who I’ve chosen as family.

This year, more than any other, I need to have something to look forward to…and I need to get away. Other years, my travel has been exploratory. This year, it’s more therapeutic. Just getting some road beneath me is calming. When I’m with someone else, we can chat about whatever is on our minds or silently do some sightseeing. Or, if I’m alone in my car for a day trip, I’ll listen to an audiobook or a podcast, usually about true crime, that gets me away from the relentless newsfeed online. It’s a matter of coping, which is something that is crucial in a time when current events are mercilessly triggering.

I feel more relaxed even just from writing this out. Things seem more optimistic when I’ve put plans down on paper. When distraction is an actual goal, life takes on a different flavor. A hopeful one.

I hope to see you out there in the world, however you choose to get away.

With you and with thanks,

From the Editor: The Reality of Art

Photo by sean gladwell/

When I was in high school, I was into all the performing arts. Well, not dancing, because I still refer to my hometown as the setting for the movie Footloose, where dancing wasn’t to be done and books were always at risk of being burned. But the plays and musicals and choir and speech were (and are) very supported by the community, and what we performed at the school was often some of the only very narrow glimpses into the arts world that the community saw. We had some fairly strict guidelines about what the productions were allowed to be and usually stayed within bounds, but I can recall a little backlash from the extra-marital love scene in Into the Woods my junior year that relegated us to Oklahoma! my senior year.

Who’d I play? Everybody’s favorite overweight whatever. I was Jack’s Mother. I was Aunt Eller. I even played Esther Finkelstein in a play about a Jewish butcher shop in which two Lutherans and a Baptist won an award for a show that had us assume roles (and Yiddish accents) outside of our culture. Overweight people are to be comic relief and I was proud to be getting roles; I did them well. I understood that there were some roles for which we just do not cast overweight people. Cinderella wasn’t plump. Love interests weren’t portly, even though they could mature into soft and round aunts and mothers later in their fairytale lives. It’s what culture has said and it’s what I internalized. I could be white and play non-white roles, but I could not be overweight and be considered a love interest. Those were the norms. Okay then.

As I reflect on these memories, I think of how many limits were enforced and how many were expanded in the arts. Some subjects were taboo, and roles and who could play them were in step with what our culture has internalized. When I look around today, what norms are our culture still enforcing? We’re talking about things like whitewashing and cultural appropriation more, and we are seeing pushback about who is playing which roles. It is no longer a given that we will see predominantly white people in major roles on stage or screen, though by looking at Netflix and how few movies there are out there for non-white people, it’s a staggering misrepresentation of who actually lives in our world. But on stages? We usually hope to see boundaries broken and pushed and turned on their heads to give us life more as it is lived than as it is determined to be profitable by producers.

Bluntly, the arts are showing us that a role should not be limited by what our culture has defined that roles should be. I am so proud that, while Hollywood might still be struggling with representation, particularly in terms of race, our stages here in the Twin Cities have given us people of all different skin colors as Cinderella and Prince Charming and as gentlemen in Shakespeare’s Verona and in Jane Austen’s England and Seurat’s France and Dickens’ waltzing Christmas production, among so many others. There are contexts when race is the key to the casting and contexts when it isn’t. And it’s refreshing to see those boundaries challenged.

Where could we use more expansion? Still in terms of race, we should never assume that subject is crossed off on a list as completed. We’re seeing a few more mixed-size couples out there, whether the couples are gay or straight. But, and here’s where I draw the obvious connection to this community (though the rest of what I’ve said here is remarkably relevant), can we see more same-sex situations as we’ve seen mixed-race casting? Is it possible for us to go there, too? Race is pushing the norms, can sexual orientation and identity as well? I’m asking you, too, because I don’t know if everyone would believe it to be so slam-dunk of an answer. The most beautiful Shakespeare productions I’ve ever seen were by Propeller Theatre Company at the Guthrie a few years ago when the all-male company played both male and female characters so poignantly. We’ve had all-female productions of Shakespeare by the Jungle Theater, Ten Thousand Things, Theatre Unbound, and a same-sex casting by Mu Performing Arts.

But how often is it a cross-gender casting where a woman is playing a male role or a male is playing a female role? Could we actually expand that to make the role into an opposite gender from which it was originally written? Could we have a male Cinderella? Could Romeo be  female? Can we have genderqueer love stories in our mainstream Western canon productions? It’s not a simple answer, but it’s one worth pondering. As you sit in the audiences this season, consider these questions. How important is it that our productions hold to the internalized norms and can we expand them to fit what our culture actually looks like, particularly in terms of sexual orientation and identity?

With you and with thanks,

From the Editor: A Room of One’s Own

Photo by style-photographs/

Virginia Woolf published A Room of One’s Own in 1929 which was based on a series of lectures she gave that included themes about making space for women in writing, in education, and even just literally, in terms of physical area. In it, she talked of lesbians, she talked of how women are idealized by male writers in fiction which mirrors or translates also to real life. She was criticized for not acknowledging class differences between women and not addressing how race affects class and access for different women. She started a topic, and through criticism, the topic was broadened and made better. It’s a difficult process and it is a crucial one.

I think of the concept “a room of one’s own” in lowercase letters when I think of things like my own college major, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies. Why did it exist? Because the topics we covered were not included enough, or satisfactorily, in the general lessons and books and classes throughout academia until then. The topics of women and gender and sexuality needed their own space and attention. Their own teachers. Their own classrooms. Their own degree. Within my classes and studies, I was able to look at specific groups under the umbrella term of women, but, between 1995 and 1999, we hadn’t gotten far enough into the inclusion of gender and sexuality to see just how diverse the specific groups under the umbrella are. And, since then, the field has likely been racing to keep up with the changes happening in our culture.

As an important note, I also remember seeing Lavender for the first time on stands while I was at Macalester College, since it also started in 1995. Lavender, itself, is a room of one’s own for this community. It’s closer to what Virginia Woolf may have been talking about since it’s a collection of writing about, for, and by the people of this community, the only one of its kind in the area. Each issue might only cover a few of the groups that fall in a very crowded “room” that could use some remodeling and expansion, since it’s a free publication that only prints as many pages as advertising can support. If you look at the arc of a year, though, you might see more of the “room” that this community encompasses. Yes, Lavender exists in a world outside its gender and sexuality parameters, because a room is within a larger structure. None of us exist separately from each other. But, throughout the year as the budget allows, Lavender’s room expands and takes space in the larger structure of our culture to become as large as we can make it.

In this issue, the Fall Home & Garden Issue, we feature some spaces that are literally “rooms of one’s own.” As someone who lives in an artist loft which is subsidized and is to save space for people who choose lower-income jobs as artists, I understand how novel it is to live with people who focus on the arts; it’s a unique and unifying experience. Talking about Marshall Flats by Clare Housing (pg. 28), I can only imagine how it must feel to live with other people who are struggling with HIV/AIDS, and hope that it is unique and unifying for them as it is empowering. And as the article stresses, it’s because of these actual rooms that people with HIV/AIDS are able to find more stability (and ability) in order to address their medical concerns to the points of being undetectable and untransmittable. How’s that for an actual case study for the benefit of giving someone a room of one’s own? Stupendous.

So, as we move through difficult conversations and politics, this room of ours can seem both very small and unnavigably large. There are so many people in this room with so many different issues affecting us that it’s hard to believe it’s all the same room. And sometimes it isn’t the same room. Sometimes people leave to find more space, which is part of how intersectionality works with people actually belonging to various rooms at the same time. But we all still live in the same structure together and I am so very glad for that. Let’s keep doors open and welcome mats out.

With you in the room and with thanks,

From the Editor: Bespoke Community

Photo by Seagull J/

Wedding style and weddings. For those of us who aren’t looking at walking down any aisle other than the cereal aisle—whether we’re not dating, not interested, or no longer unmarried—the topic could be less than interesting. Some people have strong emotions about focusing on marriage, both positive and negative. Out of our 26 issues that we put out per year, we do gear at least four of them toward marriage. And it’s important that we do. Because who else is? For free? With resources close to you? With vendors in this community as well as those who support this community? All of that is just plain positive, and we need to spread as much positivity around as we can these days.

In this community, we’ve got people who will be marrying as same-sex couples, as well as those who may be marrying as opposite-sex couples if they include someone who is bisexual or trans. And there’s no saying you have to identify as any gender, either, to make sure we acknowledge that queer and non-binary/enby members of this community may not want to be classified as same or opposite or any. So this issue and wedding style covers a florist and a bartender in our community, killer catering that supports our community, and bespoke clothing that is for any type of couples and bodies that want to find clothing for their special day…or to attend a wedding of someone special in their lives.

As the internet has reshaped how we access what we need in life, I appreciate how it’s opened up my access to clothing. Any of us plus-size people know that the stores only carry so many sizes. Same for tall. Same for petite. I remember when I got my first order of custom-made clothing from eShakti after plugging in my measurements and sending them to India (let me know if any companies here in the U.S. do this for a reasonable price)…I put on clothing that was made to fit me and it was sheer euphoria. My body does not conform to the norm, but I was able to find clothing for it. I felt as invincible as pieces of fabric can possibly make a person feel. And, while all of that works for my everyday clothing, if I needed a special occasion outfit, I’d definitely look for someone close by and in real life to help me. It’s that important to me.

When we get into the gender binary and looking at whether or not stores out there have what people in this community need, what do we find? It depends. It depends on the person, the body, the retailer, the goals for the clothing…and what about weddings? That narrows the search even more. So what do we offer here in this issue? Resources for people who want to feel invincible on their wedding day. Or as a wedding attendant or guest. Or for a great date. Or even a job interview. Bespoke clothing will help you find what you want for your day, wherever you identify in terms of clothing. Two suits? Two dresses? A suit and a dress? Any and all of the above.

Bespoke. It means that something is made to fit a particular person. And I can’t think of any better term for this community.

With you and with thanks,