Closets Are for Clothes is picking up speed and has been growing rapidly since our official launch on May 31st. We are eager to show you everything that we have been working so hard on. CAFC is beyond grateful for the overwhelming amount of love and support that we have been shown in these few short months. We have received countless messages of gratitude for our cause, reminding us daily of why we formed this organization in the first place. Words cannot express how thankful we are to each and every one of you; for believing in our cause, for believing in our company, and for believing in us. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.
Last week, we added a member to our Closets Are for Clothes team. Lindzay Taylor has been working closely with us since May, and has quickly become an asset to the CAFC family. We are certain that she will go above and beyond our expectations with her position in marketing and promotions. We couldn’t be more proud to have her with us. From the beginning, Jessie and I have been very particular with the people who become involved in our organization. Over the last few months, Lindzay's unyielding determination and interest in helping CAFC grow has not gone unnoticed. We are very lucky to have her on the CAFC team. Welcome aboard Lindzay.
In the beginning of August, we released our latest line of t-shirts. Our newest designs definitely make a statement. With the fight for marriage equality currently underway in Michigan, we created the MI Love is Equal shirt. Because although same-sex marriage hasn’t been legalized here yet, Closets Are for Clothes knows that our love is equal, regardless of what the law says.
Here is to the outlaws. To the ones who aren’t scared to be themselves and to those who aren’t afraid to fight for what we deserve. Together we are a movement, stronger than anything standing in our way. Together we are Love Outlaws. This shirt is dedicated to those of us who aren’t afraid live and LOVE outside of the law. All CAFC apparel is available for purchase online, at closetsareforclothes.org click on ‘OUR CLOSET’. Be sure to visit our website frequently to stay up to date with latest designs, events, and blog posts!
So far, CAFC has spread the love to 6 different states through our online store. We have made it our mission to reach all 50 states, and cover our map in pride. Visit our website to view an interactive map of the states that we have reached, and to see the faces of pride. Help us cover our map by submitting a photo of yourself in CAFC apparel, to be featured on the map.
A couple weeks ago, CAFC was lucky enough to join forces with an extremely talented photographer by the name of Kelly Karnesky. We spent the day roaming the streets of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, with a diverse team of LGBT models. With the combination of Kelly’s witchery behind a camera and our gorgeous group of models, the shots turned out to be more than we could have ever even dreamed of. We have posted a few teasers on our Instagram and Facebook, but the real gold has yet to come.
You can find us this Saturday August 23rd at Michigan Pride in Lansing. We will Rally at the Capitol, decked out in our newest MI Love Is Equal shirts. Join us in taking a stand for LGBT rights. The March to the Capitol steps begins at 1PM. Visit http://www.michiganpride.org for more information on the events scheduled throughout the day. We will also be selling all of our shirts at this event. If you see us, don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello!
So that is a look at what we have been up to this summer. We hope you’ll continue to support CAFC as we grow. At the end of the day, all we really want is to help people in any way possible. We hope to continue to serve as a light in the dark, to find your way out, and to be proud when you get there.
Closets Are for Clothes, and this is only the beginning.
I realize that the chance of this letter reaching the audience in which it’s intended is slim to none. But who knows, maybe while you’re surfing Facebook, you might stumble upon this little love letter, from me to you. I’ll put my faith in the power of social media and see what happens. If anything, maybe I will sleep easier knowing that I tried, because something is better than nothing. I will try my best to remember that it always seems to be the ones with the most hate in their hearts, who are in need of the most love letters.
Hearing stories like this always breaks my heart, but this hits especially close to home. I’ve gone to Motor City Pride for the last three years. The first time I had gone, I felt uneasy. I was uneasy because I knew that hateful people like you exist. I went anyway. I went because this celebration belongs to us. The LGBT community has fought and continues to fight incessantly in a battle for equality. To say that we deserve this day, to say that we’ve earned it, would be an understatement.
We deserve so much more than a parade, but I think we’re all willing to settle for basic human rights. The right to EXIST without fear of falling victim to hate crimes simply for loving who we love. I think that would be a good place to start. That’s what this festival is about, celebrating our victories, and acknowledging the work that still must be done. You have made it abundantly clear that we have so much more to do. Thank you for reminding us what we’re up against. Thank you for shining a light on what some would rather turn their head to. Homophobia is alive and well in this country, we didn’t need you to validate that. Actually, let’s call it what it really is- gay bashing. You weren’t afraid of him, you were afraid of yourselves.
So what was it about Howard that made you feel the need to puff out your chests and act so barbarically? What was it that you needed to prove, and to who? Were you proving that you’re masculine, lady loving heterosexuals? Because, you know, men don’t actually have to prove that sort of thing. Were you demonstrating how “hard” you are? I’m just not so sure how hard it could be to assault one man between the EIGHT of you. He was completely outnumbered and survived with minor injuries; if anyone is a champion in this story, it’s this kid.
Something about Christin made at least one of you question yourselves. A button was pressed. Maybe you were envious of his courage to live life openly. Perhaps you wish you were able to walk down the street, confident in your own sexuality, even proud enough to celebrate it. No one knows the answers to these questions except for you. Nobody knows your stories, or what triggered the pure hatred you’ve demonstrated towards our community. I can only hope that the universe works in our favor on this one, and that justice is served.
The members of our community are some of the most unyielding souls you will ever find. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t still be here today. What you’ve done is shameful; sadly we’re no stranger to acts of violence against us. Yes, it is scary, sharing our time here with you. But we aren’t going anywhere. Maybe you don’t know us well enough to understand that we aren’t the type to let fear win. We will continue fighting for what has always been ours. We will never quit loving who our hearts love, even if it means swimming upstream. We will keep celebrating our PRIDE, because it isn’t yours to take.
The underdogs have this way of finding the bright side in everything. Maybe it keeps us from becoming overwhelmed by the dark. Things could have turned out much worse. I am grateful that the man you so cowardly attacked has lived to tell his story. Too often, this is not the case. I hope for his sake, that one day he can find it in his heart to forgive you. I hope that he can find strength in knowing that he is a part of something so much bigger. I hope he knows that although nobody had his back the day that this happened, there are so many more of us who would have, if only we were there. As for all of you, I hope that you find peace within yourselves. Maybe one day you will love yourselves enough to attend Motor City Pride with an open mind and heart.
Closets Are for Clothes and this will always be about love.
When Closets Are For Clothes was created, we realized that by standing up against hate we will eventually become face to face with it ourselves, maybe even staring it dead in the eye one day. To tell you that this doesn’t terrify me would be a lie.
It keeps me awake at night thinking about it. There are people in this world who strongly disagree with CAFC’s message, crazy hateful people. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t be here today. Knowing that these people exist is what fuels our passion for change. Knowing that YOU exist is what sparked this fire burning in our hearts in the first place.
In the beginning we were afraid to show our faces, out of fear of becoming targeted ourselves. We even went as far as considering using pseudo names; as if we were some sort of top secret spies. But we aren’t spies- and everyone knows I can’t keep a secret. We realized that if CAFC is going to ask for your bravery, then the very least we can do is be brave ourselves. We promise to continue living out loud in hopes to encourage others to do the same.
If our support can inspire even one person who has been struggling, if we can give them a voice, if we can open
just one closed mind, it will all be worth it. I have been told that I have a way with words. I think what they meant by that is, “Ang, you’re kind of a ninja.” If I need to verbally scissor kick the bullies of the world right in their cold hearts, I’m not afraid to do it.
We understand the fight for equality won’t be an easy win, but we believe that every one of us is worth fighting for. Besides, we’re the lucky ones; we’ve got love on our side. It starts with loving yourself. Love fully and unapologetically. The only way to silence hate is to smother it with pride. We must refuse to live quietly, waiting for change to come. If I’ve learned anything from history, it’s that change does not simply arrive; it is taken by those who aren’t afraid to make noise, to cause a ruckus, to have their voices heard. Change begins with bravery.
We choose to be brave today because tomorrow isn’t promised. Life doesn’t stick to the blueprints we have carefully drawn up. The thought that I could be gone tomorrow worries me, because we have big plans, and I don’t want to leave behind simply a footprint. We hope to leave behind an entire highway, with billboards along the way to remind you how incredible you are. CAFC hopes to change the minds of those who make you question yourself in the first place.
The reminder that our time here is short has inspired us to exist with purpose, to live out loud and with passion. I know that this is what we have been put on this Earth to do. I know because of the way it makes my heart swell when I think about it, the way it makes me feel like I can’t breathe. The way my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts. It’s like my heart keeps telling my brain “hurry up, there is so much more we can do.” It has consumed my every thought. I want nothing more than to be your light in the dark, to help find your way out. It all begins with one brave step; don’t be afraid to take it.
Closets Are For Clothes, and we are just getting started.
I’m Ang Frank, co-founder of Closets Are For Clothes. Since this is the first post, why not start from the beginning? Who doesn’t love a good coming out story? Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll share mine one day. Coming out is a roller coaster ride of emotions, and nobody’s experience is exactly the same. Some coming out stories are surprisingly happy, while others are heart wrenching and everywhere in between. I’d be lying if I told you that coming out is a cake walk. It isn’t a cake walk. But I CAN tell you that there is CAKE at the end of this walk. I know it’s a little soon to be promising you cake, but I’m an honest girl and you can hold me to my word. I promise cake, if you promise to keep walking. My hope is to help give you the guts, and the courage, and everything else that it takes to make the best of your own story.
I am going to assume that you are LGBT and not currently out. I will also assume that you hope to bust down that door sometime in the near future (I know I am making a lot of assumptions. I apologize).
Coming to terms with sexual identity can be a battle in itself. Some just know, and it’s as simple as that. Some people, me for instance, had no idea until it hit me like a ton of bricks one day in my twenties. It was like someone handed me all of the missing pieces to the puzzle and I could finally see the big picture. Suddenly every little thing made sense. Suddenly, I understood the world’s obsession with hand holding and FRENCH KISSING. It was one big “Aha” moment after another.
Some will struggle with fighting these feelings until the day they die, but not you, because you are braver than you know. You deserve to experience happiness unfiltered. One thing to keep in mind during the coming out process is that no one else’s happiness is more important than your own. This isn’t about selfishness; it’s about being able to take off the mask and be comfortable with your reflection in the mirror. This isn’t a “lifestyle choice.” It’s a truce, a white flag to end the war within.
Not everyone is going to understand, and that’s okay. Humans have a hard time understanding anything or anyone that breaks the mold. We have trouble embracing our differences and often use them to build barriers between us. We overlook the beauty and strength that diversity creates. We forget how terribly dull this place would be without it. At times we are blinded by the walls we have created to divide us. If you’re lucky, you live on the privileged side. The side that gets to pretend discrimination does not exist, because they’ve never had to experience it. On the other side is where courage and bravery is found, in the hearts of the underdogs. Everyone knows our track record, we have a history of victory.
I know there are real reasons for hiding. Some people in this world aren’t as open minded as we might like them to be, but I promise, we’re getting there. It is hard to see progress when you’re standing still. Keep marching forward and you’ll see just how far we’ve come. Maybe you fear disappointing your family and friends. I am going to let you in on a little secret. I bet some of them already know, or at least have a slight suspicion. I remember sitting my brother down to tell him that I was a lesbian. His reaction was as if I told him what color my eyes were. I thought it would be this huge surprise. He said two things to me that day that I will never forget. First, he said, “you act like I didn’t know this already.” And the next thing he said was “I’ve always wanted a brother.” I think he was excited to be able to talk about ladies together. My point though is that your “big secret” might not be so secret. Think about it. These people have known you the longest. Do you really think they aren’t suspicious of your ever-growing flannel collection, or the fact that you prefer to wear pant suits to weddings? Do you really think they haven’t noticed your lack of interest in men? They remember that weird shit you made your Barbies do as a kid. I bet you just said to yourself, “I didn’t have Barbies. I had GI Joes.” Exactly my point! Your family has watched you grow into the person you are today. They might not be as clueless as you think.
Unless you are a method actor, the news you are about to deliver might not be as big of a shock as you assume it will be. It’s like this. Think about when you go to the doctor and you have to get a shot. The worst part about it is not the actual shot. It’s the anticipation of it all. The smell of alcohol, the way they tie that giant rubber-band to make your vein swell. By the time the needle goes in, you realize you’ve worked yourself all up for a tiny pin prick. The hard part is getting the courage to get it over with. In your case, it is admitting to yourself, and to your loved ones, that you are
(fill in the blank)
Once you come clean- no matter the response, you will feel immediate relief, as if you have been holding your breath up until this day. The moment you say it out loud, you set yourself free. Never mind the mess at your feet, it is not permanent. I never said it wouldn’t get messy. In fact, if it doesn’t get messy, I’m not entirely sure you’re doing it right. Think about cleaning your room. Doesn’t it usually get even messier before the progress comes? Consider this the disaster before the finished product. I know it can be overwhelming, but if you stop and take a nap you will lose your momentum.
Everyone reacts differently when responding to this conversation. Keep in mind that it can be awkward for all parties involved, not just you. People handle emotional situations differently. If you receive a not so great reaction, please remember that these things take time. I know firsthand these things take time. When I came out, I expected my dad to react the best out of anyone. I was wrong, he was devastated. For the first few months he wouldn’t even look at a picture of my girlfriend, let alone meet her. We didn’t speak of her and he pretended that she did not exist until one day he called me up and invited the both of us to dinner. It started getting better from there. It has been five years and he has completely turned around. But if you were to ask me five years ago, I would have told you that he was a lost cause. He said some pretty awful things in the beginning. Remember not everyone is so brilliant with words, and in the heat of the moment, we have all been known to say some things we don’t really mean. Stand your ground. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t belong here. You belong here and we cherish each and every one of you. Although our stories may be different, we share our underdog hearts, and a record of being undefeated. Remember my promise, and don’t stop until you find your cake.
Closets Are For Clothes, and you are incredible.