Queer Rep in Woodworking

Sometimes people ask me why I started this blog. Sometimes it’s genuine curiosity, with no preconceived ideas or motivation behind asking. Sometimes it comes with the connotation of “there are plenty of other LGBTQ+ makers out there already.” Sometimes it comes with frustration or contempt: “Why do you have to shove it in my face? Can’t you just do your projects and leave your gender/orientation out of it?”

Interestingly enough, the answer to all three of these versions of the question is the same. I started this blog for 3 reasons:

  1. To track my progress. I make projects that push the boundaries of my skills and knowledge. I make projects that requiring increasing levels of accuracy. I make projects of progressively increasing complexity. I make projects to see how fast I can complete them. I wanted a way to document these experiments so that I could look back and see the improvements I’ve made in my skills and knowledge over time.
  2. To share my work. Many times I make things for myself, and I’m the only one who sees them. Sometimes I will make a gift, and only its recipient will see it. But I’ve found on the occasions that I’ve shared my work that the sense of community among makers can be a source of satisfaction and motivation for me. Getting over my shyness and perfectionism to share my work is an opportunity for personal growth and connection.
  3. For representation. Growing up, I didn’t have any gender-diverse orientation-diverse makers that I could look up to. I would look up at the big manly men¸cis and straight and white, with their foot-long beards and their microbrews, using power tools and hand tools to make all kinds of amazing things out of wood and metal. What I saw was a world of making that was fascinating and enticing, but it was only for people who weren’t like me.

Representation is important. The benefits of diversity are well understood and documented, but representation specifically is important. Looking back at how long I thought I couldn’t be a maker because I was the wrong kind of person, I wonder what kind of projects young me would have come up with and the skills and opportunities that could have developed. Diversity is about having a lot of viewpoints involved in the process now. Representation is important to create more diversity in the future.

The internet has provided a platform for all kinds of makers. Western society is more openly accepting of GSRM individuals than any time in history. But even today with the entire breadth of the internet at my disposal, it’s still a challenge to find makers out there to connect with who are like me. This blog is an attempt to fill that need for someone out there who thinks that making is just for cis straight white men. You can do this too!

So yeah, I’m going to shove it in your face. I am going to be proud of who I am and what I’m accomplishing. I’m going to be vocal about it so that potential makers out there will know not only that it’s ok to make crappy projects (as most of mine admittedly are), but that it’s ok to be a maker regardless of who you are or who you love.

You can do this too.