Here are a few ways to support Toronto’s queer community during (and after!) the Covid-19 pandemic…
The Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival has announced their new Keep It Queer initiative, designed to help jumpstart the queer economy through buying queer, hiring queer and supporting queer businesses this summer! The series of initiatives include an Ontario queer business guide database called Support Queer, a queer production crew database called Out On Set, and a queer-focused online shop called The Closet.
This summer you can buy queer by shopping The Closet, comprised of the festival’s own queer-designed merchandise, as well as a marketplace called the Creator’s Closet for queer entrepreneurs and independent creators to promote their work and businesses. You can learn more about 15 of the individual creators that have set up shop with thecloset.insideout.ca by reading below:
Aman Gill is a multidisciplinary queer non-binary south asian artist from Toronto, Canada.They have always been interested in helping others so they decided to try fashion design, because they love to express themselves through what they wear. Aman was frustrated by the lack of colour and boldest from retail fast fashion stores and knew there was a better way. As a result, they made Aadhe clothing. Aadhe Clothing is a unisex streetwear brand, inspired by graffiti and street art with an inclusive and socially conscious mindset.
Annguyenart caters to those who have grown up dreaming of mermaids, unicorns and witches. Whether it is a pin,
a sweater or a tote bag, each product is designed from scratch with the utmost care and quality in mind.
Macenzie Bond is a young, black, queer artist living in Toronto. With her art, she aims to utilize colour, ink, texture and digital art to create erotic cartooning by adding a queer, poc, femme gaze.
Trinidadian-Canadian visual-illustrator, Sarahjean Richardson (she/her) is a self-taught, queer artist. She creates with a variety of mediums including pen, alcohol-based marker, and digital media. Her artwork centers on adaptations of realism blended with vibrant, and colourful graphic design. As a Black, queer woman, she uses her art to appreciate and honor Blackness by amplifying the beauty and diversity of her community.
Mando and the World
Mando (Amanda Wand) is a queer, Toronto-based, abstract intuitive artist that uses creativity to understand her lived experiences and emotions. Amanda fell in love with the cathartic process of self-expression after creating her first painting 16 years ago and has been creating ever since. Intuitive art helped her accept her queer identity and discover more about herself. Amanda’s artwork can be defined as vulnerability in colour.
Juniper & Eve
Juniper & Eve was founded by Eva M, a fashion designer with an environmental science degree, who creates sustainable, small-batch underwear for EVERYONE across the gender spectrum. Her goal is to design inclusive garments, so that no matter who you are, no matter your style or what body parts you have, Juniper & Eve will have something that work for you! No gender labels, just comfy ecofriendly undies!
Created by brother sister duo Maxx & Sherrol from Toronto, Pack Animal takes pride in bringing you not only stylish and affordable apparel, but products made with the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in mind. What started as a line of gender & sexuality affirming underwear has now grown into a much wider range of apparel for everyone – a line of all inclusive fitness and activewear that empowers every-body to feel their best, no matter what gender, shape or size you are.
Rikki Ellul is a Canadian born Maltese entrepreneur and a local Toronto Queer artist creating live edge woodworking projects, resin art, and some paintings here and there. Rikki makes custom one-of-a-kind charcuterie boards, desks, river tables, benches, and many other items. He is normally known in the queer performance scene as East King Productions who created the show Kings and Classics but with the lock down and all live shows being cancelled, he decided to walk in the footsteps of his father and grandfathers and start handcrafting one-of-a-kind wood projects.
We’re Operation SOAP, a Canadian Pop & Pop Shop! We’re dedicated to producing premium quality apparel that looks cute and feels great at an affordable price. All of our garments are produced to last using state of the art production processes via socially conscious manufacturing wherever possible. A portion of profits from every single sale will go to support queer charities and advocacy groups.
Lou Brown Vintage
Co-owner of Peterborough gift shop Watson & Lou and wannabe full time collage artist, Anna Eidt also wears the many hats of Lou Brown Vintage. They work with open source vintage images, waterslide decals, a conventional oven, and occasionally paint to turn already gorgeous china into delightfully irreverent pieces for your home.
Pardis Pahlavanlu Illustrations
Pardis Pahlavanlu is an artist and illustrator living as a guest between Tkaronto (Toronto) and unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver). Using various printmaking media, she digs into the topics of mental health, exclusion/difference, and diaspora in hopes of finding new ways to imagine and reflect on her surroundings and experiences.
Toronto Dick Candles
Toronto Dick Candles is a home-run, “tiny” business which brings our love for dicks and candles together. Our dick candles are 6 inch tall and 100% natural, made from a blend of soy and beeswax. Each dick candle is hand-poured & hand-dyed, making them one of a kind. We source most of our materials locally and use eco-friendly packaging.
urBasics was created by Ashley, a Toronto trans woman and her mom Eileen, to respond to the need for a Canadian store with gear for gender expression and affirmation. The idea came to Ashley in the middle of the pandemic after not finding in Canada items that were affordable, comfortable and affirming. The urBasics collection was designed with the gender spectrum in mind, whether you’re on the gender spectrum or not.
Patrick Hunter Art & Design
Patrick Hunter is a 2 Spirit Ojibway artist, graphic designer, and entrepreneur from Red Lake, Ontario. In 2011, he made the move to Torontoto pursue a career in thearts after completing the graphic design program at Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Knowing that his cultural background was an asset to his success, in 2014 he launched Patrick Hunter Art & Design. Specializing in fine and digital artwork and designs from his Ojibway roots with the intent to create a broader awareness of Indigenous culture and iconography.
Monster Cliche is the devil’s baby of staying up late watching anime and stumbling upon some questionable content. Created by a full-time fat, disabled, nonbinary queer, Monster Cliche can be summed up as blunt as hell, anime inspired, weirdo realness.
Ready to Keep It Queer and support these amazing 2SLGBTQ+ small businesses? You can visit thecloset.insideout.ca and buy queer this summer.