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STRONGER TOGETHER - Supporting Queer & Trans owned business

STRONGER TOGETHER - Supporting Queer & Trans owned business

The world is a huge marketplace and we have endless options for how we vote with our hard-earned dollars. Buying locally retains the money we spend closer to home, keeping our neighbours employed, our neighbourhoods interesting, and our economies vibrant. Supporting Queer & Trans owned businesses is further important because they are part of everyone’s community. 

It is no secret that folks in the LGBTQ2S communities face greater challenges than cisgendered heterosexual folks in gaining employment, bringing their whole selves to work, and facing hostility in the workplace. Trans folks in particular endure bathroom questioning, being addressed by incorrect pronouns and hearing inappropriate questions. Supporting local queer and trans businesses provides empowering and self-sustaining employment for these entrepreneurs as well as their staff and suppliers. 

We all like to have our lives and communities represented in the products that we purchase. Supporting queer and trans businesses is the best way to ensure that products and services reflect a diversity of experiences and needs. We can choose to use our funds to help sustain their endeavours that reflect the choices that we like to have in the world. Those who don't identify as LGBTQ2S can use their privilege to support and enjoy the products created by these entrepreneurs. Further, making choices to support these businesses run by Indigenous, Black and People of Colour means that those who are also marginalized through racialization are supported for success. The more we can lift each other up and support diversity of employment, products and services, the more we all can experience, flourish, and prosper.


Instagram: @toni_marlow_co

WHAT THEY OFFER: Undergarments for people who redefine gender norms - period boxers and packer boxers for women, trans men and non-binary people assigned female at birth.



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "Being your truest self without shame or guilt. Being proud of who you are, being deeply grateful for those who have & continue to fight for our rights & fair treatment in society, & doing our part to make it even better."

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "We already face much discrimination in our personal lives, it also carries over into our professional lives. All the support we can get helps to keep the lights on and/or grow from survival to thriving. Also, the community is strong but can end up keeping our brands within the community where we feel safe and have the most contacts. When mainstream organizations promote & support queer-owned businesses, it really helps spread awareness to others who otherwise wouldn't have known about us."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "Largely... my business was created primarily for queer afab folks who wear men's clothing, how have historically been left out of fashion and the functional design consideration. I am my own customer and I saw the gap in the market for mens style boxers designed for the afab body."

BBJ Pop Merch

Instagram: @bbjdotca

WHAT THEY OFFERTees & apparel, handmade accessories & gifts


What does PRIDE mean to you?: "Celebrating the joy and resilience of queer hearts and lives!"

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "Community is everything for small businesses! Spending money with queer-owned small business literally puts food on the table for people in our community.

(It's nice that big brands communicate inclusion with heartwarming Pride-themed ads, but I doubt the shareholders are grateful for every sale!)"

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?:  "Sometimes it's right there in text on a garment! We've drawn inspiration from our experiences with Toronto's queer evolution, and support community, arts and queer-specific orgs like the Will Munro Fund for Queer and Trans People Living with Cancer."

ASLAN Leather

Instagram: @aslanleather
Twitter: @aslanleather

WHAT THEY OFFER: Strap On Harnesses, Packing straps and Bondage gear designed for all body types



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "I am still here I am Queer, Trans, Poc and I am not Going Away."

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "We have to fight hard every day just to feel accepted, so supporting our community is essential for it's survival."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "It is the reason I started my business. I needed a strap on harness and there was nothing available in Toronto. I finally found one at the MichFest in 1991. When I first used it I found that I could not adjust it to be secure against my body. The first time I used it it broke while I was trying the tighten it. That was the moment I realized that I could design better strap on, specifically so that I as a young butch dyke ( Trans man to be) could express my sexuality the way I felt it, and that creation helped me evolved into the Trans Man I am today."

Take Some Risk Inc.

Instagram: @takesomerisk
Twitter: @duanebrown

WHAT THEY OFFER: Digital Advertising Agency



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "PRIDE is a celebration of who we are as a community but also a protest to make sure we don't get complacent about fighting for our rights. No one is free until we are all free in our community. Especially trans women and people of colour. We should not settle for anything less than equality for all."

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "If we don't support the businesses and non-profits that we love and think are doing important work, they won't be around one day and we will be left with bland basic AF Starbucks."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "Being a gay black male, I think about my privilege as a man but also about the insights and experiences that help me guide our business. I think about hiring the most diverse team possible but also how can I get our clients to better support LGBTQ+ business. It's not enough for clients to say they care, I want them to open their wallets and give money."

Grilled Cheese Affairs

WHAT THEY OFFER: Social Advertising and Content Marketing Agency



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "PRIDE to me is both a celebration and a reminder. Today, we’ve created PRIDE to be this celebration of our other-ness as part of the queer community and use it as an avenue for everyone to celebrate with us. To join us so that we can realize that, differences aside, we’re all still a social community participating as part of a working whole. But to me it’s also a reminder. A reminder that to get to this point, there were trials and tribulations that led to the societal acceptance of our community and how, despite getting this far, we still have a long way to go. And many communities to support."

As someone in the advertising industry I’m always cognizant of what the corporate representation of PRIDE is today. Slapping a rainbow on a logo haphazardly seems to be the trend and I’m happy to see that slowly, conversations are happening everywhere on the significance of what it means to support PRIDE as a brand – for example, calling out the steps an organization will make to ensure that everyone in the company feels like they belong.

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "To me, owning a business in-and-of-itself is an incredibly important pursuit because small businesses build communities and we need the variety in order to keep things interesting in the world. But it is also important that business owners wear their “other”-ness with pride because of what it can mean for someone who has this idea that starting a company and being successful only happens to certain types of people. We are starting a lot of conversations around representation today in media, but I think this should also expand to the entrepreneur."

These days I feel that the word itself is muddied and I’m hoping that by being a proud, queer business owner I, among my other fellow business owners who aren’t what is typically represented as the “type”, can be the push for those who feel like they can’t because of who they are. That there is space and possibility waiting to be found."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "I think like anybody who grew up as a minority in any sense, be it colour, race, or identity, etc. you tend to have more of an acute awareness of not just your own differences but also the unquestioned choices that people make. Like, why in stories of epic fantasies – where I’m a HUGE fan – white characters are never described by their colour, but everyone else is. It’s the same sense for queer characters in stories as well. These assumptions that make up our lives as we participate in the world is systemic and it’s hard to notice if you’ve never felt like you were the “the only queer in the room”. There’s a lot to unpack there actually, haha.

Ultimately, being able to lead my team into understanding those aspects as a business owner who is both queer and a POC creates opportunities to have those discussions and shape what it means to do good things for our field (i.e. advertising). It’s time we realized that those conversations and questions should be asked, and I intend to use my ability to direct how content and advertising is done to make sure that we are creating stories where people truly feel like they belong, with brands that have the courage to do so. It’s a societal shift I openly advocate for both in our company culture and with all of our clients."


Instagram: @niazamar
Facebook: niazamar

WHAT THEY OFFER: NiaZamar provides intersectional education, a love centred community and a space for Black folks claiming freedom.



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "Pride is about honouring the journey. Celebrating all that we are and have grown to be, while also acknowledging and paying respect to our history. The Black and Brown folks who risked their lives to demand we be treated with the humanity we deserve. Pride is a time to celebrate and remember all of it."

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "It is important to shop at queer own business because it gives queer folks the opportunity to be part of the business sector, have purchasing power, visibility and opportunity to create safe spaces. When we have access to economic enterprise we are able to cultivate much needed spaces that are not always a given for us. During pride month we see corporations slap rainbow flags on everything, but are they invested in our communities? Buying from queer companies and BIPOC queers allows folks to have access to building their communities, supporting their families and thriving in the ways we deserve. The corporatization of pride is a reminder that buying power in capitalism often comes with access and more choices." 

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?:  "NiaZamar’s focus on intersectional education is rooted in my own lived experiences as a Black queer femme. Wellness conversations are often approached from a framework that does not acknowledge intersectionality and the unique lived experiences that come from our multifaceted identities. Spaces that are predominately Black have a history of not considering Black queer/trans identities and their needs, while queer spaces have been predominately white. This leaves folks like myself left out of wellness and mental health conversations, seeking tools and community but feeling fragmented in the process. NiaZamar encourages a holistic approach to wellness and self-love. Our workshops, keynotes and speaking engagements not only affirm the identities of folks in the room, they educate those who may be misinformed or lack a frame of reference. Intersectional approaches to wellness encourage us to move from a place of tolerance to transformative connection. My identity allows me to be open to all I don’t know. I hire other queer/gender diverse folks to widen the scope of our work and cultivate a safer space for others."

Pleasure Peaks

Instagram: @pleasure_peaks

WHAT THEY OFFER: Cannabinoid Sexual Health Products & Classes

What does PRIDE mean to you?: "PRIDE means pleasure and love for all! No matter what gender or race!"

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?"Queer owned business are disproportionately under funded and supported. We need to do everything we can, where we are to support our community."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?:  "Being a part of the alphabet mafia means we need to support each-other goals. We've taken out all of the female verbiage from our product packaging since we learned men are also using our products. It's important to grow with the community!"

Earthsea Acupuncture

Instagram: @earthseaacupuncture


WHAT THEY OFFER: Acupuncture

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?"We take care of each other!"

GRRRL Spells

Instagram: @grrrlspells

WHAT THEY OFFER: Art, accessories, & clothing



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "Pride means being able to live unapologetically and authentically as our queer and trans selves!"

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?"It is important to support queer & trans owned businesses as they often do not get the same opportunities or income as cis/straight people due to discrimination. It is also important to support queer businesses directly, instead of big brands and corporations who only make queer products during Pride month to profit."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?:  "I created GRRRL Spells as I couldn't find any clothing or accessories that spoke to both the queer, trans, and goth side of me, so I hope to fill in that gap for other fellow spooky queer folks!"

Amanita Designs

Instagram: @amanitadesigns

Facebook: amanitadesigns

WHAT THEY OFFER: Masks, accessories and zero waste solutions

What does PRIDE mean to you?: "It means embracing the legacy of our queer ancestors who fought so hard for the rights we have today and to pledge to do the same for the next generation."

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "We're often at a disadvantage in general society, and supporting queer owned businesses helps us. Also the visibility we provide is important to others in the world."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "I have a Pride collection which I love to use in my day to day life! I'm also super open to people choosing what they love and what works for them—no judgement ever!"

Ontario Bird Flashcards

Instagram: @ontariobirdflashcards


WHAT THEY OFFER: A beautifully curated deck of 100 unique photos of Ontario Birds, with the name on the back of each card.


What does PRIDE mean to you?: "For us, Pride is simultaneously a celebration of the freedom we have to be who we are as a same-sex female couple about to have a baby, as well as a time to reflect that many others still do not have those freedoms, and that there is still a lot of work to do to continue the battles for basic human rights begun by our queer elders."

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "Queer-owned businesses tend to be local small businesses that directly support their communities. When queer-owned businesses thrive, it increases visibility for the entire queer community. The unique creativity and passions of the queer community have been suppressed for far too long, and supporting local queer businesses directly contributes to a more vibrant and diverse society."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "Birding is a hobby that has largely been dominated by straight white men. As two queer women, we strive to be visible in the birding community in order to highlight that birding can be accessible to anyone."

Rooting For You

Instagram: @rootingforyourplants

WHAT THEY OFFERHouseplant care and style consultant services

What does PRIDE mean to you?: "Pride is a time for me to revisit and recommit to my values, especially around challenging capitalism, colonialism, and heteropatriarchy. It's also a time I look forward to connecting with others in the community, while giving myself some space to relax and experience joy."

Broad Lingerie

Instagram: @broadlingerie
Twitter: @broadlingerieto
Facebook: BroadLingerie

WHAT THEY OFFER: Lingerie & swimwear for D cups and up



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "Pride is about joy, and love, and celebration. It’s also about fighting with everything you’ve got for a new and better world for our whole community."

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "Queer-owned businesses often need our support more, as queer folks are less likely to have the financial backing that non-queer businesses may get. And for more intimate businesses or those that can support a client's queer identity (like lingerie shops, hair salons, clothing boutiques) queer clients may often get better, more inclusive care from queer-owned businesses."

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "The lingerie world is often very cis-het in focus. It's common for brands and shops to assume that all lingerie-wearers are women, that everyone buying lingerie as a gift is a man, etc. Broad doesn't do this! We strive to be a place where all busty people (and those who love them) feel comfortable, listened to, and seen as their whole selves. We don't make assumptions about what you need or want based on how you look - we ask! We also do our best to approach our work in a way that's trauma-informed, with a strong emphasis on consent and education."


Pink & White Productions — Makers of PinkLabel.TV and

Instagram: @crashpadseries @pinklabeltv
Twitter@pinkwhite @crashpadseries 

WHAT THEY OFFER: Queer Adult Cinema



What does PRIDE mean to you?: "Sharing in the confidence (and support/safety from ones community) to live life to the fullest. "

Why is it important to support queer-owned businesses?: "Queer-owned businesses often support industry peers and our community at-large. Unlike large, monopoly-aspiring corporations, our small businesses seek collaborative competition, which in turn fosters a healthy and exciting marketplace where we all can thrive. "

How does your queer and/or trans identity inform your business?: "Our perspective is integral to how we produce our films and run our business. As we know what it is like ourselves to be excluded or tokenized, we strive to provide agency and opportunities. Prioritizing performers' needs and collaborating with fellow filmmakers is part of what makes our work relatable and unique, and enjoyable!"