Most of These 10 Ikea Pride Couches Are Ugly But We Still Love Them
By Advocate.com Editors
Waseem Shayk models the LGBTQ+ Progress Flag Couch
Read about Ikea's new line of Pride Flag-inspired couches on the next pages, as well as the story behind the queer individuals who embody them, like activist Waseem Shayk.
Waseem is the co-founder of Rangeela, Canada’s largest event for the South Asian queer community. Rangeela was a product that stemmed from the lack of representation in many of the larger Queer parties in Toronto. But for Waseem it was really a product of his love for the South Asian community and his lifelong connection to artistic inspirations from the world of Bollywood - dance, music, opulence, and pure joy.
He credits the creation and continued success of Rangeela to following a feeling - that he and his co-founders had a responsibility to start something that members of the community could contribute to by showing up and being their authentic selves.
More on the couch line here:
Brian Lanigan models the Bisexual Flag Couch
At an early age, Brian knew he wasn’t straight. But initially, he wasn’t sure exactly what the right label was for the way he felt. When he did come out as bisexual in early high school he was confronted, like so many young queer people, with homophobia and bullying. “As a queer, chubby, blue haired 9th grader - it didn’t go so well” says Brian.
Shortly after, Brian transferred to an arts highschool, where he found a much more accepting community. He also joined a youth poetry team where he discovered a new passion, as well as a way of expressing his true self.
Today, Brian has been writing and performing spoken word poetry for 10 years. He teaches writing workshops and hosts poetry events. Through poetry, Brian says he’s been able to “calmly examine what he was feeling, and ground himself in finding how he identifies.”
A poem he wrote and performed at a Canadian arts festival speaks to an experience with his previous partner who did not accept his bisexual identity.
Brianna Roye models the Asexual Flag Couch
Jena & Veronica model the Lesbian Flag Couch
Jena and Veronica met in November of 2015 and although there was an immediate connection between the two of them, they didn’t actually end up dating until months later. They found their way back to each other after going through separate personal journeys. “We came back to each other when we were on the same level, enough for ourselves separately, so we could just be there for each other. I wanted to be able to say 'I got you'” Jena says.
The idea of their own pursuits and goals is integral to their love story. Jena owns an interior design firm and Veronica works as a real estate agent so they’re both always busy and on the go. They say that they actively make time to be together (they say they’re happiest when they’re ‘cozy at home’), and hold space for each other to be themselves and support each other through their journey.
John Walsh models the Genderfluid Flag Couch
John identifies as genderfluid and says that their love story is one of “unapologetic self-love”. Their journey began when they grew out their hair in high school. “That was the first step.”
For the past 5 years, John has used fashion to express themselves. For them, the clothes they wear are more than just clothes, it’s how they show the world their true self. “Fashion is a tool for communication” says John, “Before I can even say anything, what I’m wearing gives an indication of who I am.”
“Growing up and being perceived as feminine, there was lots of negativity because people interpreted it as weakness instead of strength.” John says that experiencing that negativity actually helped them evolve. They knew early on that they weren’t going to stop being themselves because of the negativity of others.
Jules & Michael model the Transgender Flag Couch
Marisa Rosa Grant models the Nonbinary Flag Couch
Nathaniel Le May models the Transgender Flag Couch
Sarah Bellstedt models the Pansexual Flag Couch
For the first 28 years of her life, Sarah identified as straight. It’s only in the past year and after much reflection that she’s come to identify as pansexual. Growing up, Sarah always knew she was attracted to men, however she feels as though there is “a compulsory heterosexuality that is imposed on people, where if you don’t know if you’re gay, you must be straight”.
In her twenties, Sarah became friends with more and more people in the queer community. She says that helped open her eyes to “what queerness can look like and how very many points there are on the spectrum.”
After ending a relationship with a man and deciding to date women, Sarah felt like she had to label herself as gay. It wasn’t until going into the pandemic and being single throughout that experience, when Sarah decided to “take a step back from the expectations I was putting on myself, and the ones I felt were being imposed upon me.”