The Gay Agenda by queer power couple Ashley Molesso and Chessie Needham is more than just the latest effort to provide the definitive user's guide to all things LGBTQ. It is also a Lisa Frank-esque rainbow celebration of the community itself.
A beautifully designed compendium that seeks to honor our stories while sharing them with a wider audience, The Gay Agenda is an homage to those who fought before us, and a reminder of the important people and events in our history. It includes a helpful acronyms translation guide for the uninitiated, and those of us who are a little behind the times.
Molesso and Needham are also the founders of Ash+Chess, the hip Brooklyn art and stationery retailer, and the book reflects their artistic talents with over 100 full-color illustrations.
The Gay Agenda is partly a nostalgic look back, but also an introduction for young people seeking a greater understanding of the creation of our community and queer culture. In doing so, Molesso and Needham have included a wide spectrum of queer icons, events, symbols, and cultural touchstones. Readers learn of James Baldwin and Emma Goldman, of the pink triangle and the rainbow flag, of Stonewall and Harvey Milk. Ultimately, the past flows into the present with The L Word, Freddie Mercury, and Ellen DeGeneres.
Molesso and Needham have been a couple since they met through a dating app in 2015, but their first meeting almost didn't happen, as both were a little hesitant following previous less-than-successful blind dates. In the years since, the couple paired their professional lives together as well when they started Art+Chess. Needham designs with a stylized '60s and '70s aesthetic, while Molesso brings a more hand-drawn look to the table.
Together, the team has created a successful business and distinctive brand whose style is a mix of traditional Americana with a more whimsical modern flair.
Now, with The Gay Agenda, the couple has also created an inviting and entertaining guide to the LGBTQ community.