Archives for posts with tag: LGBTQ


Most people are familiar with “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving when stores are full of huge savings for consumers buying upcoming holiday gifts.  Well along with the traditional Friday shopping day there have been two additional days of savings added including “Cyber Monday” and more significantly, “Small Business Saturday.”  In an economy dominated by large corporations, huge brand names, and superstores people often forget about the importance of supporting small, locally owned businesses.  Northampton is a special place where small, local businesses line our main strip providing customers with high quality and unique products that you really just can’t find at big name stores.  Supporting local businesses helps to boost local economies which is important in times of economic struggles like the ones we presently face.  Pride & Joy is a local, small business, owned and operated by people who care greatly for Northampton and the people who live here.  We hope that this holiday season you will work to support the local economy and local businesses.  By supporting a local business over a big chain you are making positive changes in the local economy and helping to create a more sustainable economic system in general.  At Pride & Joy we have many great holiday products as well as our old favorites and we hope to see you this holiday season!




As we all know by now, Barack Obama will be serving another 4 years as our president.  As a business we have outwardly supported his campaign and share the same beliefs and values he holds important.  This election wasn’t however, just about the president and there were some very significant advances made in law as well as congressional elections.  The balance of power in the Senate is now favored towards democrats.  The first openly gay woman, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin was elected to Senate.  She is also someone who spent a portion of her life in Northampton; she is a Smith College alum.  This election also showed us progress in the quest for marriage equality in the U.S. with three new states voting to recognize same sex marriages.  The three states that voted to recognize same sex marriage are Maine, Maryland, and Washington.  At the same time Minnesota voted to reject a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage in their state.  The results of the election can be contributed to a true change of perspective in the U.S.  With a democratic president who holds equality as one of his core beliefs and a democratic controlled senate we can have hope that there will be positive moves toward equality for the LGBTQ community as well as others who face oppression in the U.S.  At Pride & Joy we want to take the time to appreciate all who went out and voted and showed their support.  We still have many Obama products, many of which are on sale at great prices so come down and check them out as well as our great new “We did it” bumper stickers.


The rainbow flag is the modern day symbol for the LGBTQ pride movement.  It represents inclusiveness, diversity, and hope.  Historically, the flag has been a part of many different cultures and represented different ideas.  From its history in Europe, to Buddhism, to the Co-Operative movement there has almost always been the common theme of hope and inclusiveness associated with the rainbow.

The European history of the flag is associated with the Bible and it is said that God first created the rainbow so that Noah knew that there would never be another flood again.  Many reformers and social revolutionaries from the 14th-16th century are pictured with the rainbow flag to represent eras of hope and social change.  Moving forward in history, in 1885 Buddhists in Sri Lanka adopted the rainbow flag to represent the inclusivity of all forms of Buddhism around the world.  In the 20th century the Cooperative movement used the symbolism similarly to unite all different coops from around the world so that the movement would become more united throughout.

In the last fortyish years the rainbow flag has been adopted by the Peace movement as well as by the LGBTQ movement.  In 1961 the “PACE” flag (which means Peace in Italian) was used in a march to protest the development of nuclear weapons and has since been used to also demonstrate against the war in Iraq.  The most well known symbolism for the rainbow is that of the LGBTQ movement.  It was popularized in 1978 by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker.  Each color of the rainbow flag has a specific meaning; however the greater meaning of the flag is that of inclusion of all people.   The literal meanings of each color are red: life, orange: healing, yellow: sunlight, green: nature, blue: harmony, and purple: spirit.   The original flag also included pink to represent sex and turquoise to represent art/magic but since they have been removed for production purposes.

At Pride & Joy we sell an array of different rainbow flags including the “PACE” version.  As a store and as people we believe that all parts of the LGBTQ community should be included in the rainbow.  Fundamentally, the rainbow was developed to give people hope and make them feel welcome.  A rainbow means that every person can be a part of a community, even if they are a mix of a couple different colors on the rainbow or don’t necessarily know where they fit.  Pride & Joy is a place where all parts of the rainbow are welcomed with open arms and we hope to continue to be a place where all kinds of people can find merchandise that represents themselves and those who are closest to them.  Be sure to come in and check out our awesome selection of rainbow flags, big and small!


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Interested in getting a rainbow flag? Go here:,119.html

Pride is a feeling most of us feel at one point or another in our lives.  We may feel it watching a loved one accomplish an important life goal, or when we accomplish a goal ourselves, or sometimes we simply feel it in moments of bliss when we realize we are part of a bigger, beautiful picture.  I’ve felt pride in many different forms, on a few different occasions.  The first was when I walked with my best friends in the Boston Youth Pride parade last spring, I was proud of my ally friends for coming with me and showing their support for something bigger than themselves in a way most of my friends wouldn’t do.  I felt a new kind of pride this spring when my rugby team won the division three championship at the Beast of the East Tournament, the largest collegiate rugby tournament in the U.S.  This sense of pride came from accomplishing a common goal, working through what seemed impossible to come out with a win we all worked through pain, sweat, cold, tears, and blood for.  However, more recently I felt a new sense of pride that was stronger than any I have ever felt before.

Previously, I wrote about this year’s Boston Pride and how it brought out a sense of community for me.  That’s not all it did, it also brought out a sense of pride that I had never had before.  At Pride, I felt as though I was part of a bigger picture and part of a movement.  There are obvious movements within Pride such as the movement for transgender rights or marriage equality but that’s not the one I felt.  I felt the unspoken movement of people being able to have this one day to all be together, expressing themselves freely and safely.  It was a time when so many different kinds of people and organizations that had different goals were all marching together and supporting one another.  Hugging strangers is a given and breaking apart the gender binaries and societal norms are encouraged.  It’s a time when we can all break from our shells and express what we feel about ourselves and for one another.

There aren’t enough spaces where people feel comfortable expressing themselves fully whether it be related to their inclusion in the LGBTQ community or just being different in general.  Breaking away from societal norms in terms of how we are supposed to act and present ourselves can be difficult and Pride events are a space full of people who understand and celebrate these differences.  At Pride and Joy, we are all about celebrating differences and being a store that focuses on inclusivity of different kinds of people whether they are a part of the LGBTQ community or the greater Northampton community.

I previously blogged about how people seem to be coming out younger and younger but there are many people who still don’t come out until they are older.  Everyone goes through times of self discovery and self understanding, and these times occur at all different intervals in someone’s lifespan.  This can be related to gender, gender expression, as well as sexuality and sexual expression.  The term questioning, like queer, is another kind of umbrella term except it relates to an individual’s self discovery.  People who are questioning their sexuality deserve as much respect as any other member of the community but oftentimes they can be targeted negatively by people.  They can be seen as people who can’t make up their mind or if they are young they are seen as looking for attention or following some kind of trend.  That is how I was looked at when I first started openly questioning my sexuality.  My family thought it was part of my rebellious stage and that I was trying to get attention in school.  Self expression comes in many different forms whether it relates to our sexual expression, gender expression, or creative expression.  Just because an individual goes through a stage where they question themselves doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously or their choice to change how they express themselves.

             Much of our individual life has been socially constructed through media and government, including the ways in which we express ourselves.  It’s socially acceptable to go through periods of self discovery but oftentimes this experience is taken away from those who choose to move away from the mainstream ideals and question their gender identity or their sexual identity.  For example, it is much more accepted for someone to go through religious questioning and experimentation than for an individual to choose to start exploring their gender by dressing in clothes that their gender doesn’t “typically” wear.  In fact, people can be removed from their housing or fired for their gender identity or expression.  People who are questioning deserve and often need the most support.  It isn’t someone’s job to pressure a questioning individual to come out but it is important for people to have someone to talk to, or to guide them when needed.  As members of the LGBTQ community, we often can relate to those who are questioning or beginning the coming out process and can be a lot of help without even realizing it.  People need to be encouraged to question their identities because so many people don’t realize how socially constructed our lives really are, so don’t be afraid to question what you’ve always been told!

Be sure to check out our website to look over some of our books as well as t-shirts that support individuals who are questioning!

Allies are an important part in the LGBTQ community.  An ally is defined as a person who demonstrates support and advocacy for a community other than his/her own.  They are a person who bridges community lines despite differences to promote solidarity amongst different people.  Allies are often described as being “straight but not narrow,” a saying that we have on bumper stickers as well as buttons that we sell at Pride and Joy.  In the past allies were not given the recognition that they deserve as members of the LGBTQ community but with new efforts such as the development of high school GSAs clubs (Gay Straight Alliance) the significance of the relationship between the two communities is coming into the light.

It is important for communities to have allies and to be more inclusive if they want to succeed in their goals.  The only way most goals are accomplished is if many people are able to work together toward a common interest.  People have finally begun to realize the value of allies and the positive impact that they bring into the LGBTQ community.  Allies are brave people who are willing to go out of their way to help others and deserve the same amount of respect as any other member of the LGBTQ community.  In the past they weren’t given the respect that they deserve as community members.  However, times are changing and the importance of many different people entering the LGBTQ community is finally being recognized through GSAs and other all inclusive organizations.

At Pride and Joy we really appreciate our allies and have some special products just for them.  We believe that every color of the rainbow needs to be included and therefore we do our best to find products that many different kinds of community members will enjoy.

The use of the word queer has become more widespread amongst the LGBTQ community as an umbrella term in the last few years.  It has become one of the many reclaimed words that our society uses today.  It is also a word that has many different meanings as well as uses in today’s society.  In the past it was an abusive word and a slur that many people in the LGBTQ community resent and therefore it has a generational meaning.  In the last ten years or so it has taken on other meanings such as a sexual identity, an umbrella term for the LGBTQ community, a non-normative sexual or gender practice, or in some ways it can be used as a verb that describes a paradigm shift.

                There are a few different dictionary definitions of queer in both adjective/noun and verbal forms.  The adjective/noun form’s definitions include: different than a conventional viewpoint, of questionable nature or character, mentally unbalanced or deranged, or the slang term for a homosexual or an effeminate individual.  The verbal form that is used with a direct object means to spoil or to jeopardize something or someone.  It’s understandable from the different dictionary definitions that queer’s original use in the LGBTQ community was slanderous and hurtful.  It also demonstrates society’s need to categorize people as normal or as abnormal.  If the term is being used in an empowering way it is still defining a distinction between the LGBTQ community and “normal” society.

                In order to understand the progression the word queer has taken within society, the genealogy (historical study/analysis of knowledge) must be traced back.  American historian Jonathan Katz did a lot of work revolving around sexuality and the invention of heterosexuality and homosexuality.  According to his theories there were specific steps to the development of the categories which began with certain actions and behaviors which moved to classifying and naming these behaviors.  This classification system created binaries where one is favored over the other; in this case heterosexuality is valued over homosexuality.  This categorization also made it possible for a path of resistance to occur.  This path begins with the claiming of the name in order to develop a community, and then this community begins to reject the binary, which finally leads to where we find ourselves today.  Today, we are in the state where we have begun to recognize categories and binaries as socially constructed and to evaluate the true meaning of our identities within society.

                The point we are at today is where the word queer comes into play.  As part of our evaluation of the identities we have claimed from social constructions we also begin to look at the words that have been used by others to label us.  The word queer, which in the past was used as a slur to hurt and harm the LGBTQ community, is now being used as a tool of empowerment.  It is an umbrella term that rejects the idea of binaries and need for specific categorization.  Queer is seen by many as a way of recreating social structures even within the LGBTQ community so that they no longer conform to the longstanding heterosexual norms.

At Pride and Joy we have many interesting books on queer lifestyles whether it be about different gender identities or individual’s sexualities our book collection is full of many interesting personal stories and outside observances.