Ikea is celebrating Pride Month in a new way this year.
The Canadian branch of the company created "Love Seats," a collection of couch covers inspired by the Pride flags of different LGBTQ+ identities. The 10 slipcovers were designed and created by artists within the LGBTQ+ community and represent "a platform to celebrate identity and share stories of love."
"There are many different Pride flags. Each flag represents a different identity. We created Ikea loveseats inspired by them. And asked people to share their love stories," the company wrote in a news release.
Watch the project trailer here:
The four designers — Madison Van Rijn, Ali Haider, Bianca Daniela Nachtman and Charlotte Carbone — thoughtfully created each loveseat to correspond with a specific sexual identity.
Haider created the progress flag and the asexual flag-inspired slipcovers.
Nachtman made the 2spirit, transgender and the pansexual flag loveseats.
Carbone created nonbinary, gender fluid and bisexual flag-inspired slipcovers.
And Van Rijn designed the loveseats inspired by the transgender and lesbian flags.
This initiative was created in partnership with Canada-based creative agency Rethink and highlights the stories of 10 LGBTQ+ people and the loveseats that best represent them.
"I am someone who carries masculine and feminine spirits with me. Two-spirited people have been here way before colonization and way before the LGBTQ acronym." said Scott Wabano. "My existence is the resistance."
Jules Reeves and their partner, Michael, talked about not identifying as male of female on one of their first dates. They sit on the transgender flag-inspired couch and share their story.
"Any trans person will tell you that dating, establishing connections, relationships, that is one of the most daunting things, because you're never sure if the person is going to accept you," said Reeves. “It was wonderful to have someone who A) gets it and B) loves you for it.”
Brianna Roye identifies as asexual and said sitting on that loveseat, she feels comfortable and represented.
"Throughout my many relationships there’s been the common theme of my partner feeling not as wanted as they should and I always wondered like is there something wrong with me, but I realized being (asexual) was just another part of me," said Roye. "I just experience sexual attraction and love in a different way."
"Sexuality is a spectrum and that includes asexuality as well," she added. "I do feel it's important to tell people and to talk about it because I understand that seeing healthy representation of different identities leads to people feeling validated within themselves and that’s really valuable."
Marisa Rosa Grand talks about identity and acceptance within the queer community.
"In identifying as nonbinary, I've always thought that it has to be androgynous — you have be somewhere in the middle," said Marisa Rosa Grant. "But I can be whatever I want to be and that’s all that matters is that I accept myself and I have people and community and chosen family that support and love me for how I present.
"I had a very hard time coming into myself and learning more about how I identify because I was in a lot of spaces where I didn't see people that looked like me. In a lot of this queer community, it's very white and it's very not inclusive," they continued. "So having spaces where I am seeing Black queer folks highlighted and uplifted is very empowering and definitely helped me though my whole journey in discovering myself and not feeling like a weirdo.
"I just want to belong and I think a lot of people want that too."