You may know me as the SEO Bitch, but I’m also known as Bee (she/they). I’m an expert in SEO for Small Creative Businesses and have long been working with Sister Paper Co. to help increase online visibility of these gorgeous paper products.

As we enter Pride Month in the UK, Emma has invited me to share my thoughts on gender in design, representation in queer commerce and the era of rainbow capitalism.

Over the Rainbow

Being gay doesn’t always translate into a love for Cher, RuPaul, or rainbows. The Pride flag has unquestioned importance but commerce’s laser-focus on the idea that “Queer = Rainbows” is a simplification of an entire population of people.

As a self-proclaimed Goth Magpie drawing aesthetic influences from fashionable vampires, my wardrobe includes black, shiny leopard print, topped with a smattering of more black. While I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ collective, the dizzyingly vibrant hues aren’t reflective of my whole vibe.

I believe that inclusivity in design means respecting the complexity and multitudes that each human contains, and recognising that not all people fit inside society’s stereotypes or gender constructs.

Denounce Gender Roles But Respect Gender Identity

If you experience gender euphoria, I am delighted for you. For me, traditional gender constructs don’t apply: I don’t see myself reflected in current structures of femininity or masculinity - rather I am a secret, third option currently known as ‘non-binary’.
Understandably, this makes it hard to see myself in any gendered imagery or design - particularly as the term ‘non-binary’ seems to often be associated with androgyny - another thing I am not.

The solution to this conundrum, I believe, is looking beyond gender to personality. I would hope that my gender and sexuality are the least interesting things about me; I would much prefer to be known for my weakness for wine, my penchant for puns, or my awe-inspiring alliterations.

I love that the Sister Paper Co. range includes cards that both celebrate gender as well as looking beyond gender to celebrating our individual personalities. The perfect cards for me are the ones that focus on adventure, celebrating the joy of the everyday cup of coffee, or acknowledging my core ‘bitch’ status - oh and of course, those shocking puns.

These card designs are gender-neutral and queer-inclusive without hitting you over the head with it, simply being beautiful, hand-painted designs that appeal to the core of my soul. To be a good ally, remember that sexuality is only one facet of an identity, and we have more to our personalities than our dating habits.

June 01, 2024 — Bianca Dohnt