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Featured photo from @blairimani
Pride Month is steeped in history—in demonstrations and riots, celebrations and movements, complexities, reflections, and so much more. There are gains and unfortunately, there are losses each year for the LGBTQ+ community. While we want to celebrate the good, we must acknowledge there is still much work to do to show up for LGBTQ+ folks, to demand lasting equity, to make reparations, to stand alongside, to listen, to amplify, to honour. There is much work to do individually and systemically.
This Pride Month, while we do this work personally, we also want to celebrate some of the brilliant and beautiful makers we stock year-round who are members of the LGBTQ+ communities, as well as some amazing local LGBTQ+ owned businesses. These brands and people offer strength, support, comfort, care, and kindness for their communities. While we shine this spotlight this month, we want to underscore the importance of supporting these movers, makers, creators and community hubs year-round and state our support in ensuring that we maintain a safe space here at Scout where all are welcome and celebrated for their sparkle, their passion, their grit, their softness, their fire, their contemplation, their love, their kindness, their everything, always. Come as you are. We hear you, we see you, and we celebrate you.
As with any listicle, we are bound to miss someone but we want to ensure we include many! So, we encourage you to offer a shout-out in the comments for LGBTQ+ businesses and/or makers you know and love and add a little note about why you hold them so near and dear so we can get to know a little more about them and you! Let’s keep building bridges and connecting communities.
LGBTQ+ Makers You Can Find at Scout
Hello Clementine (@helloclementine__)
Hello Clementine is a welcome brand to our roster of Canadian jewelry makers! The maker, Leanne, started working with polymer clay as a quarantine hobby and it has quickly grown to become much more!
Each piece is mixed, shaped, baked, sanded and assembled by hand in her Toronto studio (aka her living room). We love seeing the playful colours and shapes Leanne creates in earrings and hair clips.
We just got a big, beautiful restock from Hello Clementine that you can browse here. We also encourage you to browse Leanne’s website as she makes so many more one-of-a-kind, unique pieces that are only available directly.
Pigeon Coop Designs (@pigeoncoopdesigns)
Pigeon Coop Designs is a new addition to the shops in 2022! Max (he/him) started Pigeon Coop in 2017 to tap into that creative side he was missing. Discovering cross stitch felt like the right fit and from there a brand was born!
Before venturing into entrepreneurship full time, Max was a zookeeper and a teacher! Inspired by nature, his designs are modern and accessible offering kits to all different levels. It's also important he work sustainability into his products with minimal, plastic-free packaging, something front of mind for him in his product-based business. We've welcomed Max's cross stitch kits into both of our locations!
Skipping Stone (@skippingstonesoap)
Soaps from Skipping Stone are handcrafted in Burlington, ON using a cold-process technique. The cold-process method uses only low temperatures so the nutrients in the natural ingredients are preserved, which highly benefit your skin.
Founder and maker Masa makes his soaps in small batches using locally sourced, all natural ingredients. Not only are his soaps made with the environment in mind, so is his packaging. Minimal, recyclable packaging is used on all of Skipping Stone’s soaps and we’ve also recently begun stocking their shampoo bars for a plastic-free alternative to hair care! Have a browse at Skipping Stone on our site. (Not to pick favourites, but Frozen Lake is a staple in my home.)
Queeriosity is a Toronto-based, proudly Black- and trans-created, -owned and -operated card game company. After noticing a lack of LGBTQ+ representation in party games, friends Kai and Eli decided to take matters into their own hands.
The queer experience can come with many nuances, and they’ve done their best to create an inclusive game that works to facilitate deeper connections with the community at large. It’s suggested for 2 to 8 players to leave space for tender moments, but there is no maximum group size. The game includes 110 cards covering 6 categories to play with friends, first dates or (soon to be not) strangers. Be sure to follow Queeriosity as it looks like they have some new product ideas up their sleeves!
Frug (@frugjewellery & @tamarasteinborn)
Frug holds a special place in my heart as I have known the maker, Tamara, for close to 20 years! We have seen each other grow and evolve in our careers and brands since the early 2000s. Tamara has birthed two jewelry lines, Frug and Tamara Steinborn, two stores, and is constantly adding new art mediums to her repertoire, all while tending to her yoga and meditation practices.
Frug has been offering sustainable jewelry since 2000, up-cycling vintage and dead stock components for their pieces as well as keeping all the assembly local and in-house.
In 2015, after working behind the Frug brand for 15 years, Tamara decided it was time to attach her name to some of her work that felt more in line with her own obsessions. Tamara Steinborn works with original designs that are hand carved in wax and then cast in bronze or sterling, and hand polished.
Ash and Chess (@ashandchess)
Our only non-Canadians on the list! Ash and Chess are a queer- and trans-owned stationery company in Richmond, VA. We met them at the National Stationery Show in New York (RIP travel work trips) a few years back and loved their bright, neon, retro-inspired, always-inclusive aesthetic.
We’ve got a selection of their greeting cards, art prints, pins and stickers, as well as their beautiful new Queer Tarot Deck in store and online. We highly recommend you visit their site as well to see all their offerings, including tees and sweaters, many of which are only available directly through Ash and Chess and some with limited runs—so if it’s love at first sight, hop on that buy button.
Check out their site or follow them on Instagram to stay on top of restocks and new releases.
Luck + Lavender (@luckandlavenderstudio)
New to the shops as of Spring 2023! Luck + Lavender was created by KJ Forman, a queer, non-binary feminist artist who works out of their studio in Ottawa, Canada. They create visual art speaking to their LGBTQ experience that has a feminist and sex-positive focus. Their goal is to create positive, affirmative pieces that can be used as a tool to connect and bond with other marginalized people in a way that celebrates lived experience and resilience.
We carry a fun assortment of their pride and pronoun pins, stickers + patches, and some cute t-shirts and colouring books. Available in-store only, so come by our shops to check them out!
LGBTQ+ Positive Books
At Scout, we try to consider all the many experiences in the world outside of our own to be sure we are offering inclusive perspectives for our customers. Though we tend to let our wonderful bookstore neighbours (shout out to Another Story and Queen Books) take on a much more extensive adult book offering, we do carry a small selection of LGBTQ+ positive books for adults.
But when it comes to our selection of children’s books, we love looking for unique stories for kids that teach and guide kids to understand experiences and perspectives that differ from their own while also offering a space to see themselves in a story. Offering a wider selection that represents more diverse stories supports these two reading experiences and encourages positive conversations between parent and child.
Here are some of our favourite books currently at the shop:
For the Kids
Rainboy - By Dylann Glynn
“Toronto-based debut author and illustrator Dylan Glynn's colourful and evocative illustrations colour this book with all the emotions of the rainbow in this universal story of reaching out to those who look different from you, making new friends, and learning to love yourself.”
Families Can - By Dan Saks
“This charmingly heartfelt board book is for families: families who cook together and families who sing together, families with lots of members and families with a special few, families who live together and families who live separately–for all families. Celebrate the differences that make each family unique and the similarities and love that connect us all together.”
Being You: A First Conversation About Gender - By Megan Madison + Jessica Ralli
On sale July 13, 2021! “Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.”
My Daddies - By Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons
Ages 2-5 Years
"My Daddies is a funny, heartfelt picture-book celebrating same-sex parents and shared story time, perfect for introducing children to the different kinds of family in the world today."
For Youths and Adults
How to They/Them: A Visual Guide - By Stuart Getty
“In this charming and disarming guide, a real-life they-using genderqueer writer unpacks all your burning questions in a fun, visual way. No soapboxes or divisive comment-section wars here! Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, always human, this gender-friendly primer will get you up to speed. It’s about more than just bathrooms and pronouns–this is about gender expression and the freedom to choose how to identify.”
The Pronoun Lowdown - By Nevo Zisin
“Woven together with author Nevo Zisin's own pronoun journey, this colourful hardback sheds light on the complicated history of gender around the world, in language and across time. Nevo shares their ideas for how young trans and gender diverse folk might begin to navigate their identities, as well as simple suggestions for friends and family on how to provide the best support possible. And, as well as Nevo's own anecdotes, these pages also salute the tireless work of other LGBTQIA+ trailblazers and activists—without whom this joyous book could never exist.”
Beyond The Gender Binary - By Alok Vaid-Menon
"In Beyond the Gender Binary, Alok Vaid-Menon challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full colour. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, they show us that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression. The only limit is your imagination."
Whether you’re within the LGBTQ+ community, finding your way, or want to be a better ally, this is just a teeny tiny selection of books to encourage more learning and growth. We highly recommend browsing your local indie bookstores, like Glad Day Bookshop, the first Queer-owned Canadian book store, to introduce yourself to more queer authors and literature from LGBTQ+ writers.
Local Businesses We Love Owned by LGBTQ+ Folks
We want to send some love to our friends and neighbours that are LGBTQ+ owned! Be sure to check out some of these local businesses and add a new neighbourhood haunt to your regular routine or to show your support year-round!
- Passionfruit - Inclusive fashion and accessories designed by queers for queers
- Glad Day Bookshop - Canada’s first and oldest Queer-focused bookstore!
- Craig’s Cookies - Amazing, delicious homemade cookies available at 3 Toronto locations
- Stone Tulip Goods - Handmade beeswax and clay products
- Red Sky Shop - Online clothing and accessories shop
- Anti Vice Juicery - Smoothie and juice bar on College in Dufferin Grove
- Flamingo Market - A market and directory for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs
- Proudest Pony - Gender-free hair services in a space that allows you to safely express yourself
- Old's Cool General Store - A community-focused general store
- Likely General - A queer owned inclusive retail store, gallery and event space
- Raise The Root Market - Leslieville organic grocery market
- Chris Roleau - a graphic designer, letterer and visual artist
- Soap Shop - queer owned self love street style for queers and allies
- LES Studio - a queer, women & immigrant-owned gender neutral hair studio
- Miss Pippas - Toronto’s first flower shop and wine bar
- Witch Hazel Tattoo - a safe and comfortable space to get beautiful, quality tattoos done
- Bar Bacan - delicious Argentinian and Venezuelan food, right by our Roncy location!
YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT OUR NEWEST LIST OF PRIDE RESOURCES + REFLECTIONS FROM OUR TEAM!