Last year around this time I sat on my couch with tears streaming down my face as I binged my newly favorite show, Queer Eye. How wonderful to have a show that brings awareness and reconciliation on such a large platform as Netflix.
Not only do I adore the Fab Five for their entertainment value, but I was beyond impressed with how they were able to approach hard topics with immense grace and the intention to reach understanding.
I was so inspired by the show; with the buzz of Pride Month last June, I wanted to join in on the rainbow festivities. Unfortunately, I was not able to release the design of my rainbow sweater in time for pride month. I vowed that would not be the case for this year, and boy did I set out to make a statement.
Before I tell you about my newest Rainbow Dress design, I wanted to share why it felt so important to make.
I am happy to say that I grew up in Los angeles as part of a very diverse community. Sharing meals, music, dancing and fellowship with people from a multitude of backgrounds and cultures was a blessing that I enjoyed. My parents always taught my sisters and I to be open minded and non-judgemental. I grew up knowing that if someone walked through our door, no matter what ethnicity, religion or creed, my Italian mother was going to serve them a hot plate of food.
Though my community was exceptionally inclusive, it was not always perfect.
Sadly, homosexuality was less accepted and homophobia seemed to be the status quo, mostly at church and in Christian school. “No homo” was a commonly used phrase among my peers in high school. Describing something as “gay” carried a negative connotation; an unfortunate habit for many.
It wasn't until I went to college and began singing professionally that I was exposed to the LGBTQ community. I remember the process I went through: trying to reconcile the more religious views I had been raised to believe, with my new reality of singing in gay bars and forming deep friendships with gay people.
Though many of my LGBTQ friends had been burned by the church or even their own families, there seemed to be a richness of courage that manifested as an outpouring of love, acceptance and encouragement for others.
I realized that Jesus does not call on us to judge one another but to love one another and that is the only message worth applying.
It seems ridiculous now to think that I even had to let go of preconceived notions based on sexuality, but it is a journey many have been on and many have yet to begin. In my social circles now, I strive to be someone who sheds light on these topics and champions the LGBTQ community.
I wanted to make a rainbow dress to celebrate love.
Love looks different to all of us but is the most powerful, beautiful force on earth. It is the only thing worth protecting and fighting for.
I long for a world where our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are safe, honored and their rights protected equally.
During this month of pride I will be having more conversations about how I can help make this world a better and safer place for LGBTQ people. I invite you to do the same.
My Rainbow dress took over 200 hours to make. I used 20+ different colors of yarn including specialty sequins yarns to highlight each color of the rainbow. I’ve never had so much fun making a piece! It made me giddy to create with the colors and sparkles. The lace pattern is one of my favorites to use, even though at moments the complexity of detail made my brain hurt.
I am so proud to share this project not only as an art piece but also because of the intention behind it.
We all deserve to love and accept ourselves.
We all deserve to experience the love and acceptance of others.
10% of proceeds for this dress with be donated to The Trevor Project: A non profit organization which provides resources and support to LGBTQ youth. To read more about The Trevor Project click here.