AB Chao Is Gay: Mom and Design Blogger Extraordinaire Plays For Your Team, Has Cute Hair

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.

Photo by Ben Corda via {AB Chao}

Photo by Ben Corda via {AB Chao}

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.

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. yay, congrats on coming out, AB! welcome to the club.

    also hansen i’m obsessed with the fact that your new beat is “design blogger ladies who come out.”

    • I just really enjoy when my love of people being lesbians plus my love of design blogs merge into one love.

  2. the feeling of totally relating to someone’s experience and actually seeing yourself in their story = a feeling i don’t get to have very often. i’m like, basically dying over here.

  3. “Y’all, I am real gay. For ladies.”

    Put this on my tombstone. Change the tense, but chisel that right onto it.

  4. I’m real gay for Anna Beth Chao. Love her long time. Welcome out of the stale ol’ closet, AB.

  5. I painted my bedroom a dark charcoal a couple of years ago because of AB Chao. Happy and proud she is gay all the way.

  6. She is so cute, like a real life Tinkerbell! I just came out to my best friend two days ago, best feeling ever to get that off my chest and everything.

  7. Ah, I’m familiar with AB from Television Without Pity and many of Pamela Ribon’s blog posts. Congrats, lady!

  8. “Religious Craft-During-Naptime Mommy Blogs”
    THIS along with the over-used word “hubby” or “dh”

    • I’m wary of asking… but what is “dh?”

      Because “hubby” is bad enough. That word, like the word “woot,” makes me want to claw my eyes out and/or my ears off.

  9. I’ve been ALL about the mommy blogs lately (hello, biological clock), and a gay mommy blog is just perfect. I’ll add this to my list (Neon Fresh and Rage Against the Minivan also being stellar)

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