Unless you’ve been hiding under a virtual rock, you’ve seen the uproar recently on social media regarding comments that have intentionally marginalized and demeaned members of the LGBTQIA community, and sewists of color as well. While I’m pretty much as white and straight as it gets, I want to believe in the possibility of an inclusive and accepting world, and strive to impart the same onto my children.
This isn’t an easy goal- as society changes, some people struggle to keep up, preferring to use old terms, or refusing to recognize new ones. I was raised to be color/gender-blind- to treat everyone the same, and never comment on any differences. One of my earliest and most vivid childhood memories involves attending church with my best friend and her family, who were African-American.
When I came home, my mom asked me how it was, and I struggled to form words (not a typical problem for me, even at six years old). She had taught me never to refer to people by their color, but I wanted to share with her my first experience as a minority, which ended up being a formative one. Finally, I said “I was the only little English girl there”- not exactly a politically correct statement, but those were the only terms I felt comfortable using to describe the event, in which I was literally the only white person in the room. Growing up in an area with very little diversity, this was a very startling experience, and one that really opened my eyes to the way it felt to be “different”.
As I grew up, I began to realize more and more, that trying to treat everyone the same, and refusing to acknowledge differences, was, while well intentioned, actually harmful. By ignoring someone’s uniqueness, either by using a term that excludes them or refusing to hear their perspective, you ignore their experience, and lose any opportunity to learn and grow from it. Love can only be fostered when we truly understand (or try to understand) someone else’s experience, and this includes, but goes far beyond, their preferred pronouns. When we love each other because of our differences, rather than in spite of them, we can begin to work toward unity, but not before.
So, I’m sharing these photos, with more than a little trepidation in my heart. Sewists (or my new favorite term fabric ninjas) – who have been marginalized, discriminated against, I hear you, I see you. Please, share your makes, share your experiences, and let those of us who want to support and celebrate you, do so.
And, finally, if you’re curious, a brief note about fabric/patterns (I’ll save all the details for a future post, as that wasn’t the intent of today’s commentary): The striped leggings are made from the Greenstyle Creations Inspire Tights pattern and the children’s Stride Tights patterns (aff links). The fabric is a custom supplex currently on preorder from The Styled Magnolia.
I’ve worked with both companies extensively, and I can say they are both inclusive, safe places to share and sew, and that the owners of both genuinely care about fostering love and unity in their groups.
Finally, I hope this post has spoken to your heart. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, if you feel comfortable sharing.