Straddlers, we’ve got a new member on our softball team. AB Chao is a writer, interior stylist and “sometime photographer” who runs a super popular and beautiful design blog, appropriately titled AB Chao. She’s been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Anthology Magazine, Bon Appetit, Apartment Therapy, Etsy, eBay’s The Inside Source, Television Without Pity, Dooce.com, and about a million other design blogs. She started writing online in 2001 and AB Chao, the blog, has its own design camp. Yesterday, AB came out! She wrote,
Y’all, I am real gay. For ladies.
Which in my opinion is the best way to come out. I especially appreciate that she included the “for ladies” explanation there. She went on to explain,
I’ve described coming to the realization that I’m gay as having a void in my life, not knowing what it was, and trying to fill it with everything I could find: writing, decorating, career paths, expensive jeans, all of the bourbon.
(I feel you on that last one.)
And then, one sunny fall day, getting on a roller coaster, careening down to the stomach-dropping part of the ride, and finally, finally understanding, “Oh. THIS is what that was.
She goes on to explain how it wasn’t easy, realizing she was gay while married to a man and having an older daughter, but what ultimately made me laugh was her friend’s reaction, “But I thought lesbians don’t have good design taste? How is this possible?” You should read her whole post over on her blog.
AB is actually the second big design blogger to come out this summer, with Grace Bonney paving the way in early June. AB said to Autostraddle, “Grace Bonney is a good friend of mine, and has been a great support [and] inspiration to me.” The design community has been overwhelmingly supportive of both of their coming out stories, with comments on AB’s post replying, “The bravest. Cheers to you and to a beautiful future.” and “Can I get your number!? Joking aside, as a woman who has not come out and is frankly still a bit confused I find your courage inspiring. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Grace and AB’s coming out stories are really important within the design blog community. The design and craft world can appear overwhelmingly heteronormative from the outside, with Religious Craft-During-Naptime Mommy Blogs and platforms like Pinterest being huge forces within the community (seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I silently judged a hay-bales-and-cowboy-boots pin on a Dream Wedding board, I could be lounging on a beach in Bora Bora Bora). But take a second look at AB Chao and Design*Sponge. Sure, we like throw pillows, making jewelry and putting together really impressive tablescapes, but there’s no reason these activities can’t be inherently queer. After all, we’re queer. We enjoy design, we’re bloggers and we’re real gay. For ladies.