Make Woody's Gay Again | HAPPYCRY

"The Make Woody’s Gay Again" shirt was a reaction to an experience I had. For those unfamiliar, Woody's is a popular Philadelphia gay bar/nightclub that has gotten increasingly more straight over the past few years. Whether it's bachelorette parties going for the novelty of it, straight couples, or predatory men there by themselves dancing up on anyone within arm's reach.

Since I made the shirt, every single person who got one says people have come up to them asking about the shirt, either relating their experience or inquiring. It means different things to different people.

As cliché as the term "safe space" has become, it's so important to remember that historically, the community was so limited in where they could organize. Still today we're not promised the same assumed tranquility or safety a regular space would have. When you look different or think different, that isn't always welcomed or encouraged.

Queer spaces should cultivate what others dismiss. They should validate you where you would otherwise be seen as inadequate. Everyone has their own story about the identity they assume and every story deserves to be heard equally.

I hope to produce work that will give people an opportunity to ask questions, engage with one another, and allow people to exchange experiences.

I won't lie, I'm extremely self-conscious, doing this creative thing. I'm out of my comfort zone but I feel like I need to challenge myself in order to grow.

When I tell people about HAPPYCRY a lot of people ask what I'm trying to accomplish, yet there are so many mindless brands that men are putting out into the world that get embraced without question.

By being questioned it puts the thought into my head that maybe I am not allowed to be doing this. Why am I not allowed to when so many others are making things because that's just how they feel that day?

The reality is that a lot of "art" doesn't come from anywhere but the impulse to make something—evidence that you exist."

words: Rebecca Solomon // images: Rosie Simmons + New Street

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Zoe Rayn Evans